Reports & Forecasts: April 2020

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - – 409.935.7242
James had been catching good numbers of solid trout, with plenty weighing between three and five pounds, on trips made in the days and weeks prior to giving this report. “We're able to catch our limit most days lately. We still have a bunch of fish out in the middle right now. We've been catching good in three to five feet of water, in places with mud and shell on the bottom. Lighter winds improve the odds of catching out in the middle. We're starting to wade more, and we've had some good trips wading spoil banks, shorelines and in the coves. We're catching a little bit bigger trout on average in some of the coves, and some really nice flounder, but it's been more hit or miss than the fishing out of the boat. That should change as we move into April. Wading usually improves dramatically this month. We're throwing topwaters some lately when wading, but catching better on Double Ds and Catch 2000s and MirrOdines. The best ones have some pink, yellow and silver on 'em. We're using soft plastics more when we're fishing out of the boat.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service – 409.996.3054
Jim had been catching limits of trout fairly easily when fishing on days just before we talked. “I've been doing the same basic thing most of the time all winter, putting the trolling motor down in the bayous and throwing soft plastics. We've got plenty of fish and it's pretty easy to limit out on that pattern, but we're not seeing many big trout. There were some big trout coming out of upper parts of Trinity Bay recently, but just a couple days ago, the river authority increased the amount of water they're releasing at the dam. This will cause the water in most of Trinity to turn fresh for a while. That's good news for people who like to fish parts of Upper Galveston Bay like Seabrook Flats and areas around San Leon and Dickinson Bay. It should also send some fish around the corner and into East Bay. As water temperatures warm up and stay in the sixties most of the time, we'll have fish in more places. We should be able to wade shorelines near drains and around patches of shell and catch some bigger trout if we don't get too much wind and rain.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service  979.849.7019 – 979.864.9323
Two main patterns work best for Randall in April: chasing slicks and chasing schools of glass minnows. “I'll be looking for slicks popping over grass beds and reefs, for the most part. We have lots of button shad in the bays this month. They're oily, and when the fish eat them, they throw a lot of slicks. Because the shad are small, we often have to down-size our lures somewhat to get the attention of the trout and redfish. I like to throw red magic Sand Eels or needle gar Bull Minnows, rigged on quarter-ounce jigheads, for the most part. We're also doing well on topwaters lately, with the smaller ones like Spook Juniors outperforming the larger ones like SkitterWalks. White ones with red heads have been working well. As we move into April, if we get good numbers of ribbonfish moving into the bays, the bigger plugs might start working better. We should see glass minnows this month, so I'll also be watching for liar birds diving repeatedly in an area. They usually help us locate the migrating clouds of minnows. When we find those, the catching usually comes pretty easy.”

Matagorda | Bay Guide Service
Tommy Countz- 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
In April, Tommy likes the patterns available in West Matagorda Bay better when winds are up, in East Bay when winds are light. “We have so many protected pockets of water on the south shoreline of West Bay,” he says. “Normally, tides run pretty high this time of year, so all the coves are full of water. That allows the fish to spread out some, compared to when tides are really low, and they're concentrated in the guts, but they're still fairly easy to locate around shell patches and grass beds in shallow water, often tight to the bank. We do well on both trout and reds throwing topwaters early, then switching to dark soft plastics on light jigheads as the sun rises higher. If winds are light, we head to East Bay more often. Wading some of the big mid-bay reefs and throwing topwaters is usually a good idea. Wading the coves can produce some big trout, along with schooling reds. If we're fishing out of the boat, we'll usually catch good numbers of trout throwing soft plastics and keeping them in touch with the bottom. In some years, we've got a good many birds working this time of year too.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam – 979.240.8204
During the last month, fishing has remained steady and productive in our local bays and rivers. Trout have been biting pretty well on area shorelines, in places with mud and shell on the bottom, in about three to five feet of water. Best way to catch them has been using three-inch Gulp! shrimp rigged about three feet under popping corks. The bite on Paul Brown Lures and topwaters has just started to become more consistent, with bone-colored lures working best. Fishing for redfish has been consistent in back-lakes and marshes and in the rivers. We've been fishing backwaters well up the rivers, throwing quarter-ounce copper and gold spoons. The fish have been really loving the old, proven lures. Fishing at night off the seawall and from lighted piers has produced lots of keeper specks and even more sand trout. Glow and pink speck rigs have been working well there. April predictably brings us a run of glass minnows, and lots of shrimp move into the bays, so it's a great time to look for diving pelicans and hovering gulls. When trying to locate fish under the gulls, it pays to figure out which way they're moving before chasing them.

Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service – 361.983.4434
Lynn expects a variety of options to have excellent potential in April in the Port O'Connor area. “I'll still be targeting the big trout this month. We usually have decent numbers of them in the back-lakes, especially if we get strong bull tides that stay high for a while. We also do well wading the sandy, grassy shorelines outside the entrances to the marshes and lakes this month, especially if tides are low or going out. Strong tide movements also improve the potential for catching on the reefs. A steady tide coming in during the morning hours usually means good catching somewhere around the reefs. We throw a lot of topwaters this time of year, also slow-sinking twitch baits like Paul Brown Lures and SoftDine XLs. One of the big keys to catching in the middle of spring is locating big concentrations of bait. It might be rafts of mullet or schools of smaller fish. We're already seeing a good many glass minnows in the bays. April is a prime month to catch trout and reds around the migrating clouds of minnows. April is great, with lots of options which provide plenty of places to hide from spring winds.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake loves fishing the Coastal Bend bays during the month of April. “We've got so many shorelines which offer protection from winds of all different directions. April is typically a pretty windy month, but we do great on both trout and redfish, most years. Our fish like to stay shallow most of the time, along shorelines with a mix of hard sand and lots of grass. Staying within close range of the bank usually means catching bigger trout and plenty of redfish. Fishing in the corner of Corpus Christi Bay in East Flats can be great when it's windy this time of year; water clarity holds up well in there on strong southeast winds. We do have fish on reefs this time of year too. We're able to get at some of those fish when conditions are pretty windy, in bays like Mesquite and Carlos and St. Charles, which have shell in pockets of protected water. The main-bay reefs in bays like Copano, San Antonio and Aransas bays produce best when winds are light. Both trout and redfish bite topwaters on a pretty consistent basis this time of year, so that adds to the fun.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – [email protected] – 361.563.1160
April is a great month to fish for big trout, since the first peak of the spawning season means most of the fish will weigh more than normal, as they're often full of roe. This month provides an opportunity for someone to catch the next state record trout. Accordingly, anyone fishing Baffin and the ULM this month should make sure their braided and fluorocarbon lines are in good shape, and that their hooks are sharpened. The trout bite aggressively this time of year, and it's a good time to fish with natural looking topwaters like SheDogs, and MirrOlure Catchs 5s, as long as we aren't plagued by too much floating or suspending grass in the water. I do keep my old stand-by Bass Assassin Die Dappers in sand trout, plum/chartreuse, trickster and chicken on a chain rigged on sixteenth-ounce Spring-Lock jigheads at the ready, and use them some most every day. I'm normally fishing water about two feet deep with a sandy, gravelly bottom, along grass edges and potholes, close to rock formations. When wading, I always wear my ForEverLast Ray Guards; we have plenty of stingrays in the bays during the warming weather of spring.

Corpus Christi / Joe Mendez——361.877.1230
April tends to be a windy month in the Corpus Christi area, but fishing is normally excellent, Joe says. “If winds crank up on a daily basis out of the southeast, fishing in areas close to the JFK Causeway and in Corpus Christi Bay sometimes works better than fishing in Baffin and in places around the Badlands and Penascal Point. The water in the extreme upper parts of the ULM is crystal clear right now, so it holds up better to heavy wind. And, in parts of Shamrock Cove and East Flats, hard onshore winds improve the fishing. On the other hand, fishing in the Land Cut is also typically good this month, and areas just north of the mouth of the cut, places like Summer House, Rocky Slough and The Gutters, also produce well historically in April. This is a great month to sight-cast slot reds and big trout in super shallow water. They're easiest to see when they pass over bright, sandy bottom, so it pays to work areas with ample potholes when searching for them. We like to target them with paddletails rigged on light jigheads, mostly, using a fairly simple, straight retrieve.”

P. I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
361-877-3583 |
After a mild winter, spring is well on its way. This means many species should soon invade the surf. Perhaps the most anticipated are the jack crevalle, which rank among the strongest fighting fish of all. They usually arrive with a flourish, charging after schools of bait and chasing their prey onto the beach. Most specimens run about twenty pounds. Live mullet work best to catch them, but if they're visible cruising in the waves, they'll often take large spoons and topwaters. Red drum will continue in the surf and will also readily take mullet. Black drum and sheepshead will be present, easiest to catch on shrimp or Fish-bites. If the water is clear, especially down south, a run of bonito, which is what many people call little tunny, may occur. These members of the tuna family have been around all winter, feeding almost exclusively on small fish. Using small lures is often the only way to entice them into striking. Plenty of sharks also arrive along the beach in April. Blacktips and bulls will be plentiful, feeding on an array of fish. This is also a prime month for scalloped hammerheads, which prefer smallish baits like whole whiting.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza – 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge – 956.944.4000
We normally start off early in the mornings this time of year throwing topwaters or floating Paul Brown Lures, either originals or Fat Boys. In place of those, we sometimes try Kwiggler Willow-tails or Ball-Tails in Mansfield Margarita or jalapeno popper colors, rigged on eighth-ounce jigheads. In the afternoons, topwaters sometimes work well. On some recent days, I've used my them all day. Normally, though, the Willow-tails and Ball-tails work better as winds ramp up and floating grass becomes a problem. Areas like the Saucer, West Bay, the Pipeline and the submerged spoil banks south of town are productive places to try in the mornings. For those headed north on days with light winds, areas like Century Point and the oak mottes south of Little Bay are smart starting points. On the east side, the Weather Station, Butcher's Island and Wagner's and Dubb's bars deserve a look. In places like those, I like to target fish in potholes in the grass, also in the muddy streaks stirred up by rafted mullet. This time of year, locating fish means finding jumping and flipping mullet. Shrimp fleeing from predators by jumping out of the water also provide great evidence of feeding fish.

Lower Laguna Madre—South Padre—Port Isabel
Aaron Cisneros | – 956-639-1941
Late cold fronts have prevented our spring patterns from kicking into full swing. Trout fishing has stayed consistent, with good numbers of solid fish from three to about five pounds biting on most trips. The main areas producing a steady trout bite have been places along the ICW, like sand bars and spoil islands. Best depth has been about two to three feet. We're throwing Kwigglers Willow-tails in dirty jalapeno, rigged on eighth-ounce screwlock heads mostly, but we've also had good luck on Ball-tails in Mansfield Margarita. Redfish have been biting aggressively when the tide rises and fills coves and back bays. Bone Spook Juniors work best for me at this time of year; the reds have been attacking them lately. We sometimes switch to SheDogs and SkitterWalks on windy days, rigging them with single hooks when floating grass becomes an issue. Winds usually blow this month, but normally show down when May arrives. The patterns we fish should become more predictable as the weather warms and becomes more consistent. This should bring topwaters into play more of the time, and should mean improved action on shallow shorelines and flats.