Reports & Forecasts: March 2008

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
2008 has gotten off to a wet start. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it will push the majority of the fish that were north of the Intracoastal Waterway south. Flounder fishing should be good all month around the cuts coming out of the marsh. Top baits for flounder include soft plastics, such as H&H Cocahoes and Gulp. Other baits to try would be live shrimp or minnows. Redfishing is still unbelievable. The best spots are still the wiers along the east and south banks. The adjacent shorelines are also good places to try. Soft plastics are your best bets with spinners, spoons, and rattletraps coming in tied for second. The big trout will continue to be shallow through the first half of the month. They will start showing up on the deeper reefs by month's end. Good places to try are the shorelines south of Turner's Bay, south of the Old Settlement to Commissary Point, along the east Bank and in West Cove. Good deep reefs are Long Point, Commissary Point, and all reefs in West Cove. Best lures are suspending twitch baits and topwaters.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
"Nothing spectacular to report lately in the Galveston area, but fishing is okay in a variety of locations. People drifting on the west side of Trinity Bay are catching some pretty good numbers of trout and limits in some cases. Best bet over there is to drift four to five feet of water over scattered shell next to some of the primary reef systems. Bass Assassins and 52 series Mirrolures are the best baits. In West Bay, drifting scattered shell in the same depths off of Green's Cut has been steady, though not easy. There are also some good schools of trout around Confederate Reef. Drifting shallower there is a better bet. Shallow is a key word. The tide has been low a lot of the time lately, and that's pretty much killed the wadefishing. But as the weather warms and onshore fl ow becomes more common, the wading will pick up like it always does," James says. He indicates that good places to try once tides return to normal levels will be the north shoreline of East Bay, the coves in West Bay and the east shore of Trinity, from Smith Point to the North Ridge.

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Jim says that the fishing for trout in Galveston is weather dependent lately, as is the norm in Upper Coast bays. "Behind these cold fronts, it's hard to catch trout in the morning real good. The tide gets blown out so low that you don't have any water on the shorelines. And the water out in the middle is a muddy mess, so that's pretty much game over. Best bet then is to fish up until dark thirty. Especially on days when the tide returns to a more normal level at dusk, the bite can be awesome. Most of those times, we're still wading pretty far from the bank itself, out where the first little ledges start into the deeper water. Most of the trout we're catching lately aren't monsters, just solid fish. Not catching any small fish; they're running from two to four pounds generally, with a few in the six pound class. Redfish are easier. They will pile up in the ends of little drains and ditches in the marsh on the low tides. We catch them by staying in the deep water and casting into a foot to eighteen inches of water where the drains empty off the flats."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
"Fishing has been really good lately," Randall reports. "I love it when it's warm this time of year. I'm standing in my garage sweating right now. We did have a little issue with the freshwater after a recent front brought some storms. It killed our bayou pattern and moved all the fish out into the bay. We have been catching them out there both drifting and wading. When wading, we are getting out about as deep as we can, since the fish are holding over scattered shell in waist deep water and deeper. We have had some flurries on Corkies in gold/chartreuse and even some topwater action, but the best results by far have been on red magic Sand Eels. I like to rig them upside down, with the hook coming out of the bright side. It's backwards to the intended way, but I think it makes them look more like a wounded minnow. Speaking of minnows, we'll be working the schools of glass minnows once March gets here. Usually, once the migration starts, staying in the clouds of moving minnows is an easy ticket to redfish, trout and even flounder. I can't wait."

Matagorda | Don Wood
Bay Guide Service | 979.240.4137
Don's report indicates that there are plenty of trout in East Bay lately. "We've been catching some wading and some drifting. There are fish out on the mid-bay reefs over scattered shell and mud, and both shorelines also have fish. The keys are the tide levels and the wind direction. Southwest winds have put the hurt on the bite on some days, but softer winds with more east make for clear water and open up the options. If the tides are high, wading shorelines improves; if it's low, the boat fishing gets better. Bass Assassins in plum/chartreuse are producing for both waders and drifters. Those wading with Corkies are catching some of the biggest fish." He looks for these patterns to hold into March, but also plans to go after the reds in West Bay more as the weather warms. "The reds are already thick over in West Bay, and that should improve as spring arrives. Low tides help on that deal because they stack the fish in the deeper guts going into and out of the coves. You can catch them pretty much however you want to once you find a good school."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Fishing has been excellent in the area. We have been on a good trout bite for the last three weeks. We have not been on any big fish, just solid keeper fish from fifteen to eighteen inches. Most of these fish have been found out in guts leading from area bayous and marshes. They've been in three to four feet of water over a mix of mud and shell. The two best ways we have been catching is with corks rigged about eighteen inches over a sixteenth ounce leadhead with any type of Berkley Gulp shrimp, and quarter ounce leadheads rigged with Berkley Jerk Shad in rootbeer gold and watermelon lime. The redfish bite has been awesome as well. The reds have been holding in guts and on mud flats in two to three feet of water. Quarter ounce weedless gold spoons have been lethal as have bone/flash Super Spook Jrs. I look for the big trout to start staging on shorelines with a mix of mud and grass soon. Our big trout have seemed to move out with the influx of fresh water from the river. Signs that might indicate their return are slicks and nervous mullet.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn expects to be fishing mostly shallow grass beds next to deeper water and a muddy bottom in March. "I like to stay pretty shallow most of the time, but I'll also pick areas that are close to dropoffs. We'll be throwing a lot of Corkies and Corky Devils, especially in the pearl/chartreuse color pattern. We also use soft plastics of course, throwing my old standby colors, the red shad and the plum/chartreuse. But I experiment with limetreuse quite a bit this time of year too. I've had good success with that bright color in the past. Large topwaters like the Super Spook and Skitterwalk will also be in the mix at times, especially when the sun heats up the flats and the bait gets really active. Historically, we catch some of our biggest trout of the year in March, and this year sets up to be no different." He also states that he'll be out at the fishing show at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston from March 5th through March 9th. "I'll be in the Port O'Connor Guides booth. You can stop by and say hello to me there."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake had been on a couple of drift fishing trips prior to giving this report. "I'll drift if the clients can't or won't wade, and fishing that way produces lots of fish at times. We have been catching plenty of school trout over reefs and scattered shell that way. Soft plastics are the lures of choice on those occasions. I throw my standby Sand Eels, of course. In the near future, I'll be looking to do some wadefishing in hopes of catching bigger trout. Last year, February was probably my best month for consistently catching five to seven pound trout, with a few bigger ones. March is historically one of the best months for that too. We like to focus on sandy bottoms more as the waters warm with the arrival of spring. The big trout and the redfish seem to take to that hard bottom pretty quickly when the spring winds arrive. I like to target them with large topwaters and also Corkies. Wading shell reefs can be productive too. I'll be running areas from San Antonio
Bay into Aransas Bay. There's a good mix of both shell and sandy, grassy shorelines in those bays."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
Large jack crevalle usually return to the surf zone in good numbers in March and mid-month marks the beginning of shark fishing in earnest with large full-term pregnant blacktipped sharks available on cast as well as kayaked baits. Other shark species are also possible. Pompano, whiting, sheepshead, black drum and redfish continue to be present in good numbers, and although it varies from one year to the next, good numbers of speckled trout are often available when conditions are moderate. High winds, rough seas and some of the highest tides of the year are common in March and fishable days can be hard to come by. Avoid high wind and tide periods and don't plan trips very far in advance as conditions change rapidly.

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The month of February has been a great month for trophy trout. With the water temperatures mostly in the mid to high fifties, the trout were still active and aggressive. The water clarity has improved in scattered parts of Baffin Bay and this has opened a good variety of areas to fish for those elusive trophy speckled trout. Potholes with a mixture of sand and mud have been the most productive on my charter trips. Because we have had many sunny days warming up the surface water, I have been seeing a lot of mullet jumping and the trout have been suspending themselves just below the mullet about two feet deep. The MirroLure Catch 5 #CHBL, has been responsible for many trout of all sizes, including some up to 29 1/2 inches long. The Bass Assassin in bone diamond and plum/
chartreuse, and good penny Blurps rigged on eighth ounce jig heads have also been fooling many trophy trout. I'm hoping that we don't get a bad freeze and that the water temperatures stay about the same throughout March.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
Joe likes the prospects down south as we head into spring. "The water around the mouth of the Land Cut and in Nine Mile Hole is looking pretty good lately. There are already quite a few fish around down there and it should get better as the weather warms up some more. I like the multiple options the area in and around the cut presents. You can pull drifts in The Hole for redfish and a few big trout, and there's also the drill of getting on the trolling motor and working long stretches of the edge of the ditch itself. I remember many times, all the way back to 1988, when we just went along for miles it seemed catching trout and redfish all the way. Sometimes it's good with topwaters, but most of the time, it's a better bet to flutter a soft plastic off of the ledge. A third option in that area is the Summer House area and north into Rocky Slough. It's kind of similar to fishing in the cut; drifting, trolling and casting toward the rocks and dropoffs near the shoreline. Topwaters are the safest bet when casting around all the rocks, especially if the water's too murky to see them."

Port Mansfield | Bruce & Brandon Shuler
GetAway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000
Bruce reports that the trophy trout fishing is good in Port Mansfield lately, especially when the water is on the cold side. "We're doing the typical winter thing, focusing on drains from the marshy areas into deeper water, particularly those ditches that have dark, muddy bottoms. Still throwing mostly slow sinkers like Catch 2000s and Corkies. The topwater bite has not been really good. I just have more confidence in the sinkers right now. In March, of course, that might all change as the water warms even more." He mentions a tactic that is allowing him to catch fish in the same general areas in different ways as the weather changes. "When it's cold, we are working our lures real slow over the deepest part of the drains, so that they will be close to the bottom. When it warms up, we speed up and make the action more erratic, so that the lures are barely under the surface. And once we catch one or two of the upper slot or oversized reds, we pound on the area really hard. Usually one or more big trout are in there with them."

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
After an awesome beginning, the fishing this year has slowed, with trout hard to find and reds refusing everything most of the morning. There's a short bite right at daybreak, then things grind to a halt, just like the tide movement, so we're staying late to top off the box using the Mansfield Maulers with Berkley Gulp shrimp in pearl, new penny, and the newest color, root beer gold. The water on the west side is semi-clear, but extreme low tides limit maneuverable space, so run in muddy areas and avoid spooking fish where the water is clear and you'll help yourself and others. The east side, at the time of this writing, is partially covered with brown tide and there is some boat traffic to deal with. The warm weather is giving us the chance to catch reds on half ounce gold weedless spoons; you might want to try putting a small chunk of Gulp on the hook to add scent, but not so much that it makes the lure drag up to the top of the water. Freddy says, "We can't wait for the new spring growth that always signals the beginning of the best fishing of the year."