The View: May 2023

The View: May 2023

The joy that sunshine and warm temperatures bring to our local fishery puts a smile on everybody’s face. May begins the shift from spring to summer; and, we love the opportunity summer brings to Matagorda fishing.

Spring has been a breath of fresh air for our trout fishery. There were days we released as many as twenty and thirty trout in the 2- to 5-pound range, all on artificials, while drifting shell and mud bottom. That’s a tribute to the conservation efforts of all anglers. Attitudes have changed for the good of the fishery and the results are better quality and more quantity of speckled trout.

Now, what will we do in the future? If we see data from population surveys that indicate we have more fish, will we revert back to the days of killing everything we catch? Or, will we learn from our mistakes and keep practicing sound principles of releasing more than we take? What did the most recent freeze teach us?

We know what works; however, if you look at the state of America today, sound doctrine and rationale is often not the most popular choice. We have adopted the “keep a few if you must” on our boats. We preach the betterment of the bays and almost all of our guests are happy to get on board. If they want to keep a few trout, we try to only keep male fish.

How do you know if a trout is a male? The males will emit a deep croaking or grunting noise, a sound used in the spawning process to put male and females together to fertilize the eggs.

If you are a duck hunter, look at it this way. We try not to shoot the hens – let the pintail hens and mallard hens fly.

In the last decade, East Matagorda Bay has developed into a solid sand trout fishery. The  big tides of early summer have ushered in solid sand trout of the eating variety. So, we have chosen to harvest more sandies to take pressure off the trout with spots.

Consequently, the influx of sand trout has been a boon for large speckled trout. Those five-plus-pound trout eat those 10- to 15-inch sand trout. I have seen it multiple times while reeling in a small sandy.

If you are in large schools of sand trout in East Matagorda Bay, there is a very good chance the larger specks in our bays are shadowing those schools of sandies. I have seen it way too many mornings over the last 10 years. I’ll pose the question again: If you have a pond in your backyard that is chock-full of bass, do you keep everything you catch? Certainly not. Treat our bays as your backyard and most of the time good people will make the right choices.

Times are changing and our human populations are booming. We must be proactive with regulating our natural resources or there will be too few to enjoy the way we always have.

The good news is our bays are rebounding from the freeze of 2021. Let’s keep the momentum going.

Be kind to your neighbor at home and on the water. Go out of your way to smile and say hello and help someone on the water or at the boat ramp. We are all Texans. We are all Americans. We are all on the same team.

Sunrise Lodge is a full service facility on the water offering fishing, hunting and vacation rentals. Sunrise Properties is a real estate company specializing in coastal properties and farm and ranch.