Reports & Forecasts: March 2020

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - – 409.935.7242
James had been catching lots of speckled trout on trips made in the days and weeks prior to giving this report. “We're catching our bigger trout in a little deeper water lately, after the cold fronts blow through. We had about 40 fish yesterday, working areas out in the middle, over a shell bottom, a real good percentage of solid keeper trout, up to a little over four pounds. Even out there, we're catching bigger fish better on slow-sinking lures like Catch 5s and Paul Brown Lures in natural colors, also the regular-sized MirrOdine in pink/gold/chartreuse. The bite out of the boat is also good on soft plastics like Bass Assassins in natural colors, darker on the back, lighter on the belly. We're also doing pretty good wading in the afternoons on the warmer days. That pattern will become the ticket more of the time as we get into March, when tides usually come up some, water temperatures rise, and the fish out in the middle move into shallower water. This month, we usually catch quite a few big trout over more of a muddy bottom, especially in places with some grass beds scattered around.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service – 409.996.3054
Jim says the catching has been pretty steady for him lately, working a couple different patterns. “We're catchin' 'em better than we did last year. We've got some salty water to work with in several different places, so that's an improvement. We've been doing pretty good throwing tails in the bayous. In there, we're catching mostly smallish keeper trout, up to about three pounds, and a good many reds. We rig our soft plastics on eighth-ounce heads most of the time, unless the current's really strong, and we have to go to heavier ones. We've also been having pretty good luck wading shorelines late in the afternoons, into the first hour or so of the night. On that pattern, slow-sinking twitch baits and topwaters have worked a bit better on average, and the trout are running bigger. I like to fish that way in March too, leaving the dock late, fishing up to dark and a little beyond. But, if we have warmer weather and the tides are moving good in the mornings, I'll go back to more of a leave early and come in early plan. Especially after spring break, when crowds begin to increase again.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service  979.849.7019 – 979.864.9323
Randall had been catching bigger than average trout on a regular basis just before he gave this report. “We're wading most of the time, targeting the big trout with slow-sinking twitch baits like Paul Brown Fat Boys. Not catching a whole bunch of fish on most days, but the average size has been really good. The best colors lately have been ones with silver glitter in them. Several of the MirrOlure colors and some of the custom ones have silver, and they are all working well. The water has been pretty clear much of the time, and that may be why these colors are producing best. In March, we'll still be wading most of the time; it's a great month to catch fish in the shallows. We'll throw the twitch baits plenty, but we'll also start using topwaters more of the time. Warmer water makes the topwaters work better on a more consistent basis. I like the Skitterwalks in colors like pearl white and the old Woody Woodpecker, white with red head. We will also be watching for the influx of glass minnows this month. When they roll in, the Norton Sand Eels will start working like a charm.”

Matagorda | Bay Guide Service
Charlie Paradoski – 713.725.2401
 “March is one of the best months to fish in the Matagorda area,” Charlie says. “It's a great month to target the big trout. The wading, lure-chunking people have a shot at some real wall-hangers this month. Most of those will be caught in coves and shallow areas of East Bay, some around shell humps close to the ICW, if the weather's colder than normal. West Bay usually kicks off a little better once March arrives. The wading over there is great, with lots of shoreline coves and pockets to target both trout and reds. Fishing around the shell humps on the north side, and over the artificial reef can be productive too, especially if winds are light to medium. Fishing out of the boat in East Bay produces some nice catches this time of year too, when winds allow the water in the middle to clear up. We usually see shrimp coming back into the bays this month. Some people like fishing with live shrimp under corks better than anything else. If we don't get a lot of rain, the water in the river will clear up too, giving us another option to work with.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam – 979.240.8204
Fishing has been steady and productive in our area lately, even with all the heavy rains we've had. The freshwater flowing out of the rivers has pushed the fish out of the deep holes and onto shorelines close to town. The North Seawall and Camp Hullen shorelines have been holding decent numbers of solid, keeper trout. They're hanging in depths of three to five feet, over a shell bottom. Three-inch Gulp! shrimp in white rigged about three feet under popping corks have been getting plenty of them to bite. Redfish have been biting steadily on area shorelines too, also out in front of drains, and in the marshes and lakes, in areas with a mix of mud and shell on the bottom. Quarter-ounce gold spoons have worked best for them. In March, we see a continued shift in our patterns away from deep holes and mudflats to flats with sand and grass beds. We'll be on the lookout for glass minnows and shrimp returning to the bays. When they arrive, staying close around them is the best way to catch more trout and reds. Normally, they show up this month in eastern portions of South Bay.

Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service – 361.983.4434
March is a transitional month for Lynn, in a couple of ways. “Early in the month, we'll still be targeting the big trout in places with a bottom of mixed mud and shell, usually close to shorelines and drains, throwing lots of slow-sinking twitch baits like Paul Brown Lures, Catch 5s and SoftDines. We'll focus on areas which are holding plenty of bait, mostly rafts of mullet. All of the back lakes have great potential this month. If the mullet are jumping regularly, we'll switch up to topwaters. They start to work better on a daily basis once water temperatures warm up in the second half of the month. As spring arrives, I'll also change my daily routine some. During fall and winter, when the water's cold, I like to leave the dock late in the mornings and fish through the afternoon hours, letting the sun heat up the flats before we head out. But, as the weather warms in March and afternoons become windier than mornings on average, I'll go back to getting up earlier and fishing hard soon after daybreak on a more consistent basis.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake says the fishing has been outstanding all winter for him in the Rockport area, especially for redfish. “I've been on the reds steady for months now. It started with duck season, when I found a bunch back in the marshes. It's about as good as I can remember it, with reds all over the place now. We've started targeting trout more often lately, and we've already had some really good days. I expect it will only get better as spring arrives and the water warms up more. In March, I like to fish shorelines in bays like Aransas, Mesquite and St. Charles, where there's a mix of sand and grass on the bottom. We throw topwaters quite a bit. I like the small ones this time of year. I seem to catch more fish on 'em, and not just small fish. I especially like the chrome/black and chartreuse/silver Baby Skitterwalks. On days when the fish don't want to blow up as good on those, we throw the Gulp! Jerk Shads a lot, in bright colors like white/chartreuse and white/pink. Word is the Corps of Engineers plans to begin dredging Cedar Bayou again in April; that should be good for our fishing in the future.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – [email protected] – 361.563.1160
When March arrives, everything seems to be on the rise. Air and water temperatures are up, and the fish move up into shallower water more of the time. When they do, catch rates also tend to rise. This time of year, I switch my focus from muddy bottoms to areas with ample potholes with sand and gravel bottoms, in depths of two to three feet. The water in the Upper Laguna Madre is in great shape, and this makes it easier to see the bottom and also signs of life like jumping mullet or predators swirling on the surface. We also see quite a few slicks this time of year. I throw natural looking topwater lures and slow-sinking twitch baits like Catch 5s a lot in March. These attract the attention of aggressive fish easily, if there's not too much floating grass to work them through. Bass Assassin Die Dappers in colors like salt and pepper silver phantom, sand trout and plum/chartreuse work better in the clear water if the grass becomes a nuisance. Chicken on a chain produces better in murky water. I rig these on sixteenth-ounce spring -lock jigheads most of the time.

Corpus Christi / Joe Mendez——361.877.1230
Fishing has been pretty good lately in the Upper Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay. Water clarity is best in parts of the ULM closer to the JFK Causeway, more affected by brown tide farther south. In the clear water, we've been able to sight-cast on the better days. This time of year, catching big trout mixed with red and black drum on the shallows works well on a consistent basis. When targeting the fish in the shallow, clear water, keeping the trolling motor running slow and quiet helps. Normally, once the fish are spotted, they're fairly easy to target and catch with paddletails in natural looking colors rigged on light jigheads, either sixteenth- or eighth-ounce. Casting the lure out in front of and beyond the fish, then reeling them in steadily so they pass close to the fish works best. When we're fishing the murkier water farther south, we like to work long power drifts, throwing at rocks, grass edges and potholes, and replacing the natural-colored lures with brighter ones and ones with more contrasting colors, like black and chartreuse and red and white. Overall, March is a great month to fish in the Corpus Christi area.

P. I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
361-877-3583 |
At the end of winter, big changes happen in the surf. In spring, many species make their way back into the shallows to feed, after spending the cold season at greater depths. We should continue to see little tunny in the surf, where they stayed all winter. Locating them is easy, when they're chasing small fish and pushing tall wakes. Tiny spoons, flies and speck rigs work best to catch 'em. Red drum will show up in March, when we usually get a run of over-sized specimens. Large cut chunks of mullet or live mullet produce bites from them. If we have a warm March, jack crevalle will show up in numbers, ready to put our tackle to the tests. Other fish expected this month will be black drum of various sizes and sheepshead, whiting and pompano. Small baits like peeled shrimp and Fish-bites entice strikes from all of these. We might see an invasion of cownose rays, feeding in the shallows on coquina clams. Certainly, we'll see the mature black-tipped sharks arrive, along with smaller numbers of big bull sharks. March weather is often foggy, and when the pea soup rolls in, driving slowly pays dividends.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza – 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge – 956.944.4000
March is one of my favorite months, especially if the goal is to upgrade the personal best trout. Many anglers will use Paul Brown Lures when targeting the trout of a lifetime; topwaters will play a role as favorites if water temperatures stay on the rise. Super Spooks, Spook Juniors, One Knockers and Skitterwalks all work well to trick big trout. My all-time favorite is a pink/gold and bone One Knocker. I also rely heavily on K-Wiggler Willow Tails and Ball Tails, rigged on eighth-ounce heads. This month, wind inevitably effects the fishing. On lighter wind days, I favor the west shoreline, from the Oak Mottes to Long Island Slough, fishing from tight to the bank out to depths about belly deep. I focus on stretches with good pothole systems and bait activity. Peyton's and West bays are good options when winds blow harder, as are The Saucer, Pipeline, Weather Station and Wagner's Bar. The deep gut in Glady's Hole is a famously productive spot if a strong, late norther blows the tide out. Look for K-Wigglers new color, Getaway Lodge's jalapeno popper, in the Fishing Tackle Unlimited booth at the Houston Fishing Show.

Lower Laguna Madre—South Padre—Port Isabel
Aaron Cisneros | – 956-639-1941
Fishing's been great lately, mostly thanks to pretty weather and warm water temperatures. Trout have been biting steadily in two to three-foot depths, with topwaters working extremely well on the warmest days, under overcast skies. Bone Spook Juniors have regularly earned the best numbers of blow ups, worked at a slow, steady pace. On lots of days, fish that strike and miss on the first try will come back for a second or third look. Soft plastics have been working better on the bright days. K-Wiggler Ball Tails rigged on eighth-ounce, screw-lock jigheads have been earning lots of strikes when tossed into bright potholes on the flats. We've been seeing a few really big trout while motoring around between wading spots, but catching them has proved difficult, as the warm weather has them widely scattered. Redfish have been abundant and biting regularly on the eastside sandflats. Groups of white pelicans diving, and feeding have led us to the pods of reds. Like the trout, the reds are staging in potholes. With continued warming weather and rising tides, we should see increased bait activity on the surface. Sometime soon, floating grass will force us back to single hooks on our topwaters.