The View: January 2023

The View: January 2023

What else are you going to do in January if you don’t fish or duck hunt? Deer season ends the first weekend and the long January/February winter begins. It is depressing sometimes just sitting at home on a windblown, gray, dreary day.

But I’m an optimist.

There are more good days than bad; and, January in Matagorda can be just like November and December if the weather cooperates. Of course, the wader fishermen love January. Hard to beat a slow-sinking Corky, MirrOdine, or Texas Custom Corky. Choose your color – all the new shades are making waves.

I like to work near deep water, and our deep water is in the ditch or, properly termed, Intracoastal Waterway. Reefs adjacent to deep channels give you the best chance for gator trout. When the cold blows across the region, fish ease off in the warmer, deep channel. When the sun warms a day or two later, those big fish gingerly loaf out onto the shell and mud flats looking for one big meal.

Redfish have been a mainstay for the past year. Winter reds are hanging around sloughs and guts and traveling in and out of the bayous with the tides.

The Colorado River has been a game-changer for most of the year as well, giving us a safe haven out of the wind on those days when it blows your hat off.

For most of the year we have been in a drought with higher than normal salinity levels; however, that has changed with November and December rains, and fish are responding to the sweet water mixing with our estuaries.

We like to drift over the same shell we drift all year long. The cool thing is that same guy has a pretty good chance of catching the biggest trout of his lifetime on a Bass Assassin, Down South Lure, or MirrOlure Lil John.

Mind you, they don’t bite everyday – cold water temps and high pressure cure that – however, there is always a chance of a solid winter Matagorda bite.

Tides are normally at least a foot to two feet below normal this time of year so redfish are targeted in deeper sloughs and bayous. When the water really blows out there are some spots that hold redfish at the mouths of draining lakes. There are multiple spots that save a day with temperatures in the 30s and winds gusting at 25 knots from the north.

Since many of my fishing clients duck hunt with me as well, I like to use the weather to my advantage and hunt the bad weather days and fish the chilly, calm days after a passing front.

That doesn’t always work out, but we always try to be honest with hunters/anglers and stack the best odds in our favor.

In January we always talk about how we can be better people and better stewards of our cities, states, and nation. In fishing terms, let’s continue to err on the side of conservation with speckled trout. Let’s put back more than we take. Let’s quit killing fish for the sake of a social media post.

Let’s be better and our bays will respond with producing better quality fish. Think about it – give catch and release a try. It certainly won’t hurt anything, except maybe an ego or two.

For information on fishing, lodging, rentals or real estate, find us at Matagorda Sunrise Lodge and Properties, LLC.