Reports & Forecasts: April 2018

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268

April can be a very rewarding month for speckled trout. Traditionally, April produces our heaviest boxes of trout all year, but it can also be very frustrating. Weather patterns will be unpredictable, and forecasts often call for strong southerly winds. Taking that into account, most of our fishing will be done on the south end of Calcasieu Lake. Our most productive baits for numbers of fish will be soft plastics fished on quarter-ounce jigheads. MirrOlure Lil' Johns and Marsh Minnows will be excellent choices. Best colors are completely dependent on water clarity. In prettier water, translucent colors like opening night or watermelon red work well. If the water is dirty, colors like black/chartreuse or lemon head work better. Trophy trout will be present at this time as well. We will target them on sand flats and oyster reefs in five feet of water or less. Topwaters will be productive, but the slow-sinkers like Paul Brown lures work more consistently. Color choices with these lures work much the same as with the soft plastics.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242

Best options for fishing the Galveston area in the near future depend on the wind strength and direction, and the amount of freshwater flowing into various areas. These things always exert influence but will be especially critical this spring. “Trinity is pretty fresh right now, so the fishing is good over this way, meaning toward West Bay. We've got good wading and boat fishing on this side of the bay now, all the way from San Luis Pass up to Eagle Point and northward. Historically, river water flowing strong enough sends fish this way. Wading is working best along the shorelines, especially when the wind gets up. Fishing out of the boat in water barely too deep to wade works best in calmer conditions. The trout bite has been steady on small topwaters lately, and on twitch baits like the old school 51 and 52 MirrOlures and their newer stuff too, like Catch 5s and 2000s. Spring is a great time to throw all the lures that look like small fish. At the end of this period, we should see the shallow flats close to the passes produce plenty of big trout.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054

“Fishing has been really good on given days. We're catching plenty of two- to five-pound trout on the better trips. Some days are tougher, not so much just catching fish, but we are having to cull through a lot of dinks on the slower days. Lots of freshwater is flowing into Trinity Bay over the last few weeks, so the fishing on the east side has been pretty good for a while now, everywhere from Texas City north into the upper parts of the bay. Fishing in East Bay has been good too, with the waders catching best on most days. Best trout lately have weighed in the seven- to seven-and-a-half pounds. Lots of solid trout have been caught at Rollover Pass, but no monsters. Tails are working best there, in short windows on the turn of the tide. It will be sad to see all this end when they close the pass. It's been possible to troll around in the bayous and catch a combination of smaller trout and redfish on tails too, but the wading has been more productive for the bigger fish. Topwaters have been working consistently for those willing to throw 'em.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323

Fishing productively in April around San Luis Pass means staying in tune with the species of forage migrating into the bays. “Ribbon fish, shrimp, glass minnows and other food species make their way into the bays this time of year, and the predators follow close on their tails. Normally our bite kicks off on Spanish mackerel before the trout bite kicks in a little later. Particularly when the ribbon fish are running thick, topwaters like the full-sized Skitterwalks work well, also the large Norton Sand Eels. If we are throwing around the schools of glass minnows, down-sizing works better on average, so we throw junior versions of topwaters and the shorter soft-plastics. Wading works best on most days this time of year, since the wind normally blows pretty hard almost every day. We do find the pattern of fishing out of the boat in about four feet of water over a bottom with a mix of mud and shell to be productive too. It's a great time of year to fish close to a passageway from the bay to the ocean, with lots of potential for fishing different patterns.”

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service | 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037

As usual, Tommy mentions multiple patterns available to anglers in the Matagorda area in April. “Waders can work the shorelines on the south side of West Bay and various parts of East Bay when it's windy, or just as a choice. Early in the morning, this makes for a good plan, while the bait is concentrated in the coves and over the shallow grass beds. Throwing topwaters at daybreak is a wise choice. Switching over to dark soft plastics on light jigheads later in the day makes more sense. If winds are light, or if someone just prefers fishing out of the boat instead of wading, good options include working the drop offs in the river if it isn't running too fresh and making long drifts over a muddy bottom with a mix of mud and shell in East Bay. Over there, the best areas are generally around the large humps in the west end, and over the large mud flats in the east end. Tying on heavier jigheads to maintain contact with the bottom improves the consistency of catching out of the boat, as will marking the spots where bites happen.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204

Spring is in the air, and warmer water temperatures have the fish feeding like crazy! Our redfish bite has been fantastic. We've been trolling area shorelines throwing small topwaters such as ShePups and Spook Juniors and have been having a blast! The reds have been in big pods out in front of drains and bayous in about a foot of water over sand and have been waylaying our topwaters. They have averaged about twenty-four inches. The trout bite has finally taken off on area shorelines over shell in about three to five feet of water. White Skitterwalks and white Gulp! shrimp under popping corks have accounted for the best bites. We've caught some solid fish up to twenty-four inches, with most between sixteen and twenty. April is one of the best months to fish the Palacios area with several options available. The south shoreline has a great afternoon bite when the glass minnows show up. The mid-bay reefs and shell pads produce trout when winds are light. The back lakes usually hold plenty of schooling redfish.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434

Lynn loves the fishing in various bays in the middle of spring in the Port O'Connor area. “I like wading shorelines with a mix of mud, sand and grass this time of year, from Mesquite Bay all the way east toward Matagorda. Fishing is definitely best when tides are higher in spring, which they are most of the time. I will fish some areas which have mostly shell on the bottom, but I tend to stay away from the reefs most of the time in April. One of the main keys to locating fish this time of year is finding big concentrations of bait. I won't spend much time in a area which doesn't have plenty of visible bait sign, preferably multiple types of food for the trout and reds to eat. Topwaters work great this time of year, and I throw them on a daily basis, but I won't hesitate to switch over to soft plastics if the bite is sluggish. We will be targeting the bigger trout as much as we can, since it usually gets harder and harder to catch them once the big heat wave settles in. April weather is typically cool and conducive to catching the big trout.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894

In April, Blake expects to be fishing by wading most of the time. “We've been wading in water over a sandy, grassy bottom between knee and waist-deep and catching plenty of fish on most every trip. Small topwaters like Super Spook Juniors have been working well, and on the days when it's been harder to catch on those, slow-sinking lures like Paul Brown Lures have attracted plenty of attention. I expect more of the same in April. Of course, on the tougher days, we will be throwing Sand Eels and Gulp! split-tails but they aren't necessary most of the time. I do like to focus my efforts around the mouths of drains this time of year, in bays like St. Charles, Aransas, Mesquite and San Antonio. Water flowing into and out of the backwater areas sets up a good scenario for a strong bite in the spring. I might also try the surf in the area around Cedar Bayou some this month, if winds are light. Getting out there can be tricky these days, as the storm changed the pass connecting it to Mesquite Bay, creating some really shallow sand bars.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160

The month of April is a great month to hunt for the trophy trout. The trout are ready to spawn, so they are loaded with roe and they will be feeding very aggressively. This is an ideal month to fish with your favorite topwaters. I like the MirrOlure TopDogs and SheDogs in natural colors. Make sure the hooks are sharp and change up the speed of the retrieve until you start getting blow ups. Texas Assassins and Bass Assassin Die Dappers in colors like bone diamond, plum/chartreuse, salt & pepper/chartreuse and chartreuse dog rigged on sixteenth-ounce Spring-Lock jigheads will also attract plenty of attention. I will be looking for and following the bait I can spot on the surface, also fish slicks and working gulls in less than three feet of water. Target areas will have potholes, shallow grass lines, drop-offs and rocks. On sunny days, when the wind is not blowing too hard, sight-casting with shrimp-flavored Fish Bites rigged on sixteenth-ounce jigheads will produce many reds, black drum and a few big trout in twelve inches of water or less.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | | 361.937.5961
Anglers fishing the Baffin Bay/ULM area in April can target trout and redfish various ways and find success, Joe says. “The vast, shallow flats in the ULM hold plenty of trout and redfish this time of year. People running shallow-draft boats can ride around looking for fish making wakes and can have good success catching both trout and redfish on soft plastics like paddletails rigged on light jigheads. Sight-casting them will certainly be possible if the sun is out and there's enough wind to make waves without muddying the water. Strong winds will make this difficult, of course. Fishing out of the boat in protected waters like the Land Cut, Summer House and Rocky Slough generally works better when onshore winds crank up some. Using a trolling motor with fresh batteries to keep the boat a distance away from the edges of the channels or the lines of rocks lying adjacent to deeper water will allow for making long casts to these structures, which usually hold fish. On the better days, topwater plugs draw a lot of strikes from big fish in these places.”

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins

Spring is finally here and the surf is once again alive with a range of the smallest bait to the largest predators. Jackfish should be storming the beach in great numbers. Calm mornings will offer great sight-fishing opportunity as they ambush mullet in the shallows. Topwaters and large spoons are winners. Anglers looking for red drum will also get jacks on live and cut mullet. Pompano will also be possible on fresh-peeled shrimp and Fishbites. Whiting, black drum and sheepshead will also hit pompano rigs. Sharks are also invading the shallows. Scalloped hammerheads should be in close and blacktips will be plentiful. Closer to May, large bull sharks will start showing up on a regular basis. The scalloped hammers will take smaller baits such as whiting; occasional sandbar sharks remaining in the surf and arriving bull sharks will take larger baits. We are expecting excellent fishing in April, given the rather harsh winter we experienced. The only significant unknown at present is the amount of sargassum that might impact our beaches. It comes every spring; let’s pray it doesn’t ruin what many have predicted to be an epic spring season.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza | 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000

The warming weather approaching holds promise of a fantastic summer ahead. Fishing has been very steady when the wind is not blowing gale-force and this should continue through spring. Some days we find tons of small trout at just about every stop but be patient; we’re finding lots of really solid fish, too. Wading is my favorite approach but, if you prefer drifting, I recommend concentrating on the deeper grassbeds. Good areas to target are the north side of the Pipeline, the Weather Station, and the areas around Butcher’s Island. Soft plastics have been getting lots of strikes; adding a Mansfield Mauler to your line can liven up a slow trout bite. Sometimes a little surface noise can really motivate sluggish feeders. Seems I say this every month but a 1/4-ounce weedless gold spoon is an awesome redfish lure, especially on the sand flats over on the east side. Topwaters, too, early in the morning. Sight-fishing has been great when the sky brightens enough to see small pods and singles cruising the sand. We are also finding steady redfish action on the oyster beds south of East Cut.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel

Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
Everything is lining up for another windy season of spring fishing on the Lower Laguna Madre, and it’s time for all of us Shallow Sport owners to preregister (participation is limited) for the annual tournament on May 19. This is the first big event of the year for anglers from all over the country! Every weekend from here until late October, we will see high boat traffic, and this is why we prefer fishing weekdays. Freddy says, “Redfish are our specialty and normally a reasonably predictable species; the only thing that changes their patterns is boat traffic. In the old days, you could stay on a school for about four or five days, and find them easily, but these days, not so much! Heavy traffic creates more of a challenge trying to locate limits of reds on a daily basis.” The trout bite continues to be good, throwing Berkley Gulp! Live three-inch shrimp on eighth-ounce screw-tight jigheads with a sixteen to eighteen-inch leader under the FP3 cork in shallow potholes, or drop offs, adjusting length of leader accordingly. Let’s stop open bay dredge disposal!