Reports & Forecasts: April 2013

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
Water temperatures are on the rise, and our catch totals are too. April is great for topwater action. West Cove, Joe's Cove, and the south bank of Calcasieu provide excellent opportunities to catch lots of large trout. As is the cast throughout most of the transitional season of spring, the fish are always on the move. Just because you caught them at a particular location the day or week before, does not mean they will be there today. Other times it's chaotic because you are in an area that is loaded with fish and you are able to hit school after school. Predominant southerly winds will force you onto the southern bank of whatever bay you choose to fish. Look for slicks; April is when trout and reds really start slicking hard. While running, scan known reefs and look for the oiliest slicks. Approach them quietly from upwind. Throw soft plastics on quarter-ounce jigheads mostly, but topwater lures also work very well when thrown around reefs where lots of oily slicks are popping and spreading.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | silverkingadventures.com | 409.935.7242
Various patterns have been working for James lately. "The water is salty everywhere, so the fish are scattered throughout the bay complex. When we're drifting, we are doing really good late in the afternoons. The other day, we had full limits of trout in about an hour and a half while the sun was going down. Wading has been good too. We are using a bunch of different lures successfully. Mostly, the best retrieve has been a straight reel, with no twitching. We're using Sea Shads, Corkies, 51 MirrOlures and soft plastics rigged on Bass Assassin flutter jigheads. The redfish action has been hot and heavy, with limits most every day. We'll continue to see similar patterns working as we move into the spring. Both wading and drifting should be good. East Bay normally picks up in April. It can be especially good when onshore winds are blowing pretty hard. As long as we don't get any heavy rains, we'll be able to catch 'em wherever we want to. Trinity Bay has been good lately for the drifters and it should be next month too."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Fishing had been excellent in the days leading up to this report, Jim says. "We're having lots of days when we're catching plenty of two to five pound trout. Mostly, I've been leaving the dock in the middle of the day and fishing through the afternoon into the night. Best bite has been right before the fronts hit, during the last couple of hours of daylight and the first part of the night, especially when the tide is coming in during that time. I stuck one trout that weighed a little over eight pounds a short while ago, and we've had a bunch of solid fours and fives. Best bite has been on slow sinking twitch baits like Corkies, Catch 2000s and Maniac Mullets. Wading is the best way to make best use of lures like that. I've heard of some other guys having a good topwater bite at times, but I've been sticking with the sinking lures. We've had a couple of pretty strong fronts lately that have cooled the water down some. During April, we should see the consistency of the bite improve, and topwaters should be working well most of the time."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall was happy to have his new JH Performance 240 boat when we talked. "I love my new boat; it's the best one I've ever had. Really slick, all black. Fishing has been good lately, nothing spectacular, but steady. As always, the weather has been playing a big role in our productivity. The fronts have been coming through one after the other, so the water in the bay goes up and down and in and out over a pretty extreme range. Around here, the southeast wind provides a real boost to the bays. When the wind is blowing water in from the Gulf, the fishing picks up. When a northwest wind blows the water out, it is tougher. We are catching fish out of the boat some and also by wading. If we're fishing out of the boat, we're doing best with Norton Sand Shad Juniors in the tequila rock color. We're staying in areas about three to five feet deep with a mix of mud and shell on the bottom. If we're wading, we're throwing Corkies and topwaters more of the time. Our best trout lately have bitten the Corkies. The wading should get better in April."

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service | 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
As usual, Tommy mentions plenty of productive patterns which should be available in the Matagorda area in April. "I like to fish the south shoreline of West Bay most of the time. Over there, we'll key on the shoreline grass beds throwing small topwaters like Spook Juniors and Baby Skitterwalks early. As the morning progresses, we normally work the feeder guts leading into the coves as the fish move in and out. Later in the day, we often switch over to eighth-ounce jigheads and dark soft plastics like black magic and chicken on a chain and work the outer bars and grass beds, casting along the drop offs. East Bay can be great in April too, especially when winds are lighter and allow us to get out on the mid-bay reefs. We'll throw a lot of Corkies and some topwaters when wading the reefs. If we are fishing out of the boat, we'll switch over to soft plastics on heavier jigheads and drag them along the bottom, ticking the shell. If most of the water is really clear, we'll look for mud streaks which are holding plenty of bait fish."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam
www.palaciosguideservice.com | 979.240.8204
When the wind isn't blowing a gale, we are catching tons of fish. Unusually warm water temperatures have an early-season topwater bite established full force in our area. We have been focusing on scattered shell and mud in areas with water depths ranging from one to three feet, and of course fishing areas with concentrations of bait. All different types of topwaters have been successful lately: Skitterwalks in pearl, pink/silver, and blue/orange; ShePups in black/gold/orange and bone/silver; and finally Spook Juniors in bone/flash, white/redhead, and chrome. Varying retrieves have worked best, sometimes slow, other times fast. Trout have been tougher to pattern. Some days we are catching them over shell with the reds, but some days we find them in the deeper water. Night fishing has been a bonus lately. Lots of good eating-sized specks and sand trout have been coming out of the Tres Palacios River at night, with best lures being tandem rigged beetles in glow and pink.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn was out at the fishing show in Houston at the time of this report, but he expects to be on the water a lot in April. "Fishing should be ON in April," he predicts. "We'll be fishing along shorelines in shallow water, throwing at sandy pockets in the grass beds. I will be using topwaters most of the time. I especially like the Super Spook Junior in the white with chartreuse head. It's my favorite topwater of all. We'll also throw the black/chartreuse head SheDog some of the time. If it's not a topwater thing, we will fall back on soft plastics mostly. I like to throw the Norton Bull Minnow in the red colors, with some metal flake in them. The Bull Minnow has done a lot of damage for me over the years. It's a big lure with a lot of action built into it. Works especially well when we have a bunch of glass minnows out there. When we do, I also use clear soft plastics with silver flake in them and chartreuse tails. We'll be trying to catch some of our best trout of the year. The key is to stay shallow along shorelines which are holding a lot of bait."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Fishing in the Rockport area has been good lately, and Blake expect the run to continue into April, though the productive patterns will likely change somewhat. "April is kind of a transition month. I will be fishing in all of the area bays this month, from San Antonio to St. Charles, Aransas, Mesquite and Corpus Bay. I'll mostly be wading with artificial lures, targeting shorelines with more sand than mud and abundant grass beds. We'll throw topwaters as much as we can, Super Spooks mostly. If the weather is good and the blow ups are coming steadily, we usually catch some of our biggest trout of the year this month. If conditions are tougher and the bites are harder to get on the floating plugs, we won't hesitate to switch over to soft plastics. I generally stick with the same ones, specifically Norton Sand Eels in dark colors like plum and pumpkinseed with chartreuse tails. They should be cast at bright sandy spots within the grass beds. Overall, we seem set up for a good spring run on both trout and redfish."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
I really like the month of April because the weather is usually consistently suitable for fishing. The air and water temperatures are on the rise, and so are the trout and reds, as they come up into shallower water. This month is when, on the average, the trout are heaviest, according to the Parks and Wildlife's gill net surveys. The trout are getting ready to spawn, and they become very aggressive, so make sure your Power Pro and shock leader are in good order. Look for the fish along shallow grass lines and around rock formations, also in areas with scattered potholes. Make sure the hooks are sharp on the bone and natural-colored MirrOlure SheDogs. This is also the time to use your "confidence" lure, the one you would use if you could only use one. For me, it is the Bass Assassin Die Dapper in the color chartreuse dog. The Berkley Ripple Mullet will work very well in the color bone/chartreuse. Since these plastics are heavy, I rig them up on sixteenth-ounce Assassin Spring Lock jigheads and retrieve them at medium speeds.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez www.sightcast1.com | 361.937.5961
Spring time is Land Cut time, Joe says. "I'm hoping the Land Cut will be good in April. As of right now, the water quality down there is not perfect, but often, when the spring wind gets to cranking daily out of the southeast, clear water is pushed in from the south, and the fishing gets fast and easy. If that's the case, and we get a push of good water in The Cut, I'll be fishing there on most days. The drill is pretty simple really. It's important to use the trolling motor and drift anchor to keep the boat the right distance from the edge of the ditch. Casts should be made to the ledge, since most of the fish hang pretty close to the drop off. If topwaters are used, the lure should land on the shallow grass near the edge and the lure worked over the drop off. If soft plastics are used, the lure should be cast where it lands within a few feet of the visible grass, so it can be worked in close proximity to the ledge. The more the wind blows, heavier jigheads will be necessary to keep the lures in the right place, sometimes up to half-ounce ones."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
It's all about what the winds and tides are doing and how much sargassum is present during April. It is absolutely wonderful for naturalists as there are high numbers of birds and seashells present. Jack crevalle will patrol the beachfront and bull and blacktipped sharks are usually in good supply quite close to the beach. Often they can be caught quicker on cast baits than kayaked ones. Bottom fishing flourishes in April with most of the effort being natural bait fishing for redfish, black drum, pompano and whiting. There are few trout in the surf this early and it's also early for Spanish mackerel and ladyfish. Every now and then large shoals of little tunney are available and this is a treat not to be missed. Use Manno and other small silver lures or speck rigs to entice the tunney. Fresh peeled shrimp and "Fishbites" will produce the greatest majority of fish. Keep an eye on the weather and don't go down island if a cold front is forecast. Good Fishin' -Capt. Billy

Port Mansfield | Terry Neal
www.terrynealcharters.com | 956.944.2559
Good news! Port Mansfield anglers can now get gasoline on the water at Poco Loco Dock (the old Port Mansfield Marina on the north side) and also the Exxon station on TX-186 at the edge of town. More good news We now have one of the strangest winter seasons on record behind us and things are really shaping up. A recent university study reveals the Lower Laguna Madre holds excellent populations of species such as brown shrimp, croaker, shad and mullet all vital to the continued health of our trout, redfish and flounder. Fishing will continue to improve as water warms and tide levels increase. For now we are still working the edges of deeper water but the move to the flats has certainly begun although cloudy and cooler days will drive them temporarily back to the depths. Please take care when releasing undersize trout and please also consider releasing trophy fish. The future of our fishery depends upon their spawning success. Snapper headboats continue to bring in nice catches. Keep what you will eat fresh and release the rest!

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | www.fishingwithpettys.com | 956.943.2747
We've been battling fierce, forty-knot post-front winds, following southeast gusts which are just as strong. All this wind has made for muddy conditions, but we're still able to pluck some nice reds and trout out of the silty waters, throwing Cajun Thunder round corks with Berkley Gulp! three-inch shrimp on quarter-ounce Norton Lock jigheads. About half the redfish we're boating are at the lower end of the limit size, but we'll get one or two days a week where our catch consists of the top-enders, with the addition of an oversize. Two stand-out trophy reds over forty inches were boated during those dead calm periods when the wind is switching around to the north and silt blooms are visible in the shallows. Freddy says, "The upcoming spring season is usually associated with windy conditions, however, it can't get a whole lot worse than what we've been dealing with already, so we're planning to stick with what's been working." Help stop open bay dredge disposal.