Reports & Forecasts: March 2013

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
March is a transitional month. One day fishing is on fire; the next, it humbles you. Though patterning fish can be difficult, it's still a great month. Much of the beginning of March is spent in the same places we fished in February. As the month progresses, water temperatures will continue to rise, and fish will begin to move deeper. The reefs on the East Bank of Calcasieu are great places to spend your early spring. The mouth of Grand and Lambert Bayous should be superb. Mass migrations of shrimp and menhaden will exit the marshes through these bayous and head for the lake to mature. These bayou mouths are great places to find trout and redfish. Any break in the strong current coming out of the bayou will hold fish. This includes nearby reefs, points, or other structures which create an eddy. Fish soft plastics on eighth or quarter ounce jigheads. Glow, opening night, black/chartreuse, and avocado are four colors we won't leave the dock without.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
James reports having good luck in various parts of the Galveston Bay system. We are slammin' 'em pretty good on most days and in several different bays. Full limits of trout to about six pounds almost all the time and good numbers of reds mixed in. The best way to get 'em is by wading. We're throwing the Fat Boy that's clear with silver glitter and a chartreuse tail. Also doing really well on Catch 5s when wading, especially on the black/silver/white one. Lately the best bite has been in the middle of the day. We're also having success fishing out of the boat on some days, working three to four feet of water. For the drift fishing, soft plastics in pink colors are tearin' 'em up. Also catching plenty on pink MirrOlures. As we move closer to the end of winter and over into spring, I expect the wading to continue to be good. Our bays are all salty right now, so we are set up for an outstanding run. Most important thing, as always, is the weather. If it's not too windy, we will be whackin' some big trout in the near future.

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Jim has been working the afternoon wading plan lately, and he expects to continue doing so as much as possible in March. If you want to catch a big trout, you need to get in the water with 'em, he says. The fish are already up shallow and they will likely stay there most of the time as we move into the early-spring. Most of our best bite is coming on sinking twitch baits. We are throwing several different lures of that type, including Corkies, Catch 2000s and Maniac Mullet. 5M MirrOlures are working well at times too. We've had a little topwater bite during the warm spells, and the action on plugs like Top Dogs and Super Spooks should get more consistent as the weather warms a little more. There have been quite a few big trout caught in the area bays lately. I've had confirmed reports of a few over 8 pounds, including one 10 pounder, which measured over 30 inches. The guys that are catching them are all wading, and they are fishing in the afternoons, sometimes into the early part of the night. That's the best plan for March, by far.

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall says the trout and reds have shown up lately around the shell, just like they usually do this time of year. We are catching some quality trout, but we're having to grind to get 'em on some days. The biggest key is timing. In order to have numbers of fish around the reefs, the tide level needs to be relatively high. So, it's best to time trips to coincide with full tides. We are getting some bite on topwaters already, and that should get even better in March. Mostly, we are throwing Paul Brown's Original Lures. Also, we are anticipating the onset of the glass minnow migration. Once they start moving in, we'll key on diving pelicans and terns to show us the location of the schools. They don't seem to prefer the same areas every year, so it's important to remain on the look out for them. The trout and reds will stay in close proximity to the balls of minnows, so we want to do the same. When targeting fish around the glass minnows, it often pays to match the hatch. Norton Sand Eels do a great job of imitating the minnows.

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401
Charlie was in his boat using the trolling motor to slowly cover water in East Matagorda Bay on a calm day when we talked. We've been catching fish steadily out here in the middle lately, keying on areas with scattered shell over a mud bottom. That pattern will hold together into March, as long as the water doesn't get too warm. If it warms up too much and the March wind is steady, the middle will be too muddy to produce. Mostly, we fish by wading on the shorelines in either West or East Bay in March. If I'm after numbers of trout and some redfish mixed in, I prefer West Bay. If the goal is to catch big trout, East Bay is a better bet. Lately, some big fish have been caught in the afternoons in East Bay, good numbers between about 27 and 30 inches. March will likely produce some more big trout for those willing to stay in the shallows and grind for a few bites, throwing plugs that look like mullet and shad and perch. If we get a good run of glass minnows, it will be wise to stay around the clouds of bait and throw small, life-like lures.

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
With the recent cold weather and subsequent warming trends, we have the fish patterned out pretty well. When the water temperatures have been in the low fifties, 90% of our fish have come from the area rivers (Tres Palacios/Lavaca/Colorado). When the temperatures get into the sixties, 90% of our fish have been coming from the guts on the south shoreline of West Matagorda Bay. The main lures we have been throwing in the rivers are chicken on a chain paddletails rigged on three-eighths ounce jigheads slow-rolled along the ledges. When fishing this method, set the hook when the lure stops and it will be fish on. The main baits we have been using in the guts on the south shoreline of West Matagorda are quarter ounce weedless gold spoons for reds, and neon pepper/limetreuse Gulp! jerkshad. When you find the fish in the guts, don't walk through them, stay still and fish the area thoroughly before moving.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn will be focusing his efforts around shell and mud in March, he says, and he plans to stay in shallow water almost all the time, trying to catch big trout. Lately, the redfish have been thick, can't really get away from them. That's okay though, because usually they like the same areas as the big trout this time of year. I'm still running most of my charters by leaving late morning and fishing through the afternoon. We are fishing mostly knee-deep flats with reefs and scattered shell set in mud, close to drop-offs to deeper water. I like to throw topwaters a lot this time of year, and of course, slow-sinking twitch baits like Paul Brown's Original Lures and other MirrOlures like Catch 2000s and Catch 5s. I also use the floating versions of Paul Brown Lures too, especially when we locate the fish in really shallow water, less than knee-deep. I still keep my soft plastics handy. I use the old plum and red shad Bass Assassins rigged on super light jigheads to scratch out bites when the going gets really tough.

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Now that the shooting seasons are over, Blake expects to be fishing hard during the coming months. In March, I'll try the fishing in several of the area bays. I like to stay shallow and wade most of the time during the transition from winter to spring. All different types of bottom can pay off, especially in the early part of the month. On the colder days, we tend to find fish over softer bottom with some dark grass beds. As it warms up, areas with a sandier, firmer bottom can pay off better. And, the reefs produce well too, especially when winds are fairly light, allowing us to get to the shell humps in open water. Topwaters work great this time of year in general. I prefer Super Spooks in color patterns including some chrome, like the black-backed one and the blue-backed one. Slow-sinking twitch baits like Corkies and Catch 2000s are much better than the topwaters on some outings. And, we never forget our trusty Norton Sand Eels, which we normally rig on light jigheads, since we'll be throwing them in shallow water.

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The month of March is known as a windy month, and it will probably live up to its reputation. With the air and water temperatures on the rise, the fish will be coming into shallower water. My fishing logs indicate the fish will be in water depths of three feet or less. Now is the time to bring out your favorite topwater lures like natural-colored Heddon Super Spooks and MirrOlure She Dogs. Keep changing your speed of retrieve until you start getting blow ups or hits. Two of my favorite soft plastic lures for this time of the year are the Bass Assassin Die Dappers and Berkley Gulp Ripple Mullets in bright or black colors if the water clarity is poor, or natural colors if the clarity is good. I prefer the Bass Assassin sixteenth-ounce Spring Lock jigheads for the soft plastics, tied to at least fifteen inches of 20-25 lb. fluorocarbon shock leader. This is also a good time of the year to fish with live shrimp under a popping cork. Whether fishing with artificial lures or live bait, look for areas with scattered pot holes.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
Joe plans to spend quite a bit of his down way down south in March. I'll be heading down to the Land Cut and Nine Mile Hole most of the time. In Nine Mile, it's good to take what the conditions are giving you. If it's windy, we will make long, power-drifts, looking to see the fish first before casting to them. The wind will break up the glare on the water and make it easier to see the fish. If it's calmer, we normally look for wakes instead. When fishing in the Land Cut, I'll work the ledges, fluttering soft plastics along the shelf, trying to maintain contact with the wall. Matching jighead size to the winds and currents is key. I also look for tailing fish on the bank. There are plenty of pods of tailing reds close to the edge this time of year. I'll also fish around Rocky Slough quite a bit. Over there, I mostly stay just off the outside edge of the rock line and cast toward the structures. Hopefully, we will have clear water in the entire area by then. Lots of years, the spring winds blow good water in from the Lower Laguna Madre.

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
March marks the arrival of many of our summer species in the PINS surf. Jack Crevalle are usually present at the waters edge early in the month and many bottom feeding species such as black drum, redfish, big whiting and pompano will be the mainstays of this months fishing. Most anglers will fish with fresh-dead shrimp and Fishbites when targeting these species. There may be a few speckled trout around but its a tediously slow grind most of the time. Blacktip, bull and scalloped hammerheads become available this month and they can often be caught by casting from shore rather than going out deep with kayaked baits. This is particularly handy as March is a month of long periods of strong SE winds. Tides can be very high and driving on the high tide is not recommended. Figure on a rough trip in and out and take your time as trying to speed through the bumpy tracks will tear up your vehicle. The speed limit on PINS will be 15mph beginning March 1 and will remain so through Labor Day.

Port Mansfield | Terry Neal | 956.944.2559
Drift fishing is good in many areas to the south of Port. If you keep at it you will get plenty for dinner. Wade fishing offers a more concentrated opportunity to stay on the structure theyre using. Grass beds are holding most of the good sized trout. Fish your bait slow and deep off the edge of the grass. Lots of reds on shorelines. Schools of black drum can be found in many areas; fun to catch and eat but tougher to clean. Streaks of muddy water are sure signs of fish activity. The head boats running out of Port are still catching good red snapper. Remember to keep what you will eat and release the rest whether offshore or in the bay. Note: There is no fuel in Port Mansfield right now so bring fuel with you before arriving if youre planning to fish multiple days. Hopefully by end of February this situation will get fixed. Poco Loco Bait & Tackle (marina on the north side) is working hard to get fuel back on the water for us.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
We've been able to limit on trout and reds daily, if the wind is cooperating. When it's blowing more than 30 mph, it's too muddy and rough to catch anything; if there's no wind, it's tough to get near the predators, so we will occasionally switch to hooking up on drum. Large schools of black drum are easy to find on the east side when the water is calm and the silt bloom is a dead giveaway. Put your Power Pole down and wait--sooner or later they will cycle back towards the boat. Some guides use dead shrimp to lure drum to the bite, but we like to throw Berkley Gulp! three inch shrimp on a quarter-ounce jighead with a good twelve to fifteen inches of leader line at the schooling herds, which consist of everything from small, striped puppy drum, to very large oversized bulls. "Freddy says," Most people enjoy eating small black drum, the fillets are thin and tasty. But, the bigger the drum, the more parasitic worms you'll see in the meat, and cleaning a large drum is not easy." Let's all help stop open bay dredge disposal in the LLM.