Fish Talk: April 2010

Fish Talk: April 2010
12 year-old Trey Heath drifted in East Matagorda with Capt. Bill recently. His 26
We have been through a long, wet and cold winter that came complete with raging cases of cabin fever for many saltwater anglers. Finally the door is closing on all that misery and a new door is swinging wide open for some springtime action. I'm primed for the onset of good fishing weather and I'm fairly sure I will not be alone in this. Although a long time in coming, I believe spring fishing should pan out very well here in the Matagorda area. Each spring we have strong incoming and outgoing tides from the Gulf of Mexico these tides help our bay ecosystems and the creatures inhabiting them to thrive. Everything from the tiniest of micro-organisms to the trout and redfish we all love benefit from this "spring cleaning" by Mother Nature. Since our rainfall and salinity in the bays is pretty much back to normal, we should experience a better than average crop of glass minnows and shrimp in both East and West Matagorda Bays. The drought is finally over and spring is here. Let the good times roll!

East Matagorda Bay
By April, trout should be moving off the mud and beginning to spend more time on harder bottoms. While wading, I will be steadily looking for baitfish with the understanding that many of these forage species will be quite small during this early part of the season. I cannot stress enough that fishing in and near bait schools is one of the keys to spring success as the gamefish are never far from their food sources. With all that said about bait, you might want to consider downsizing your baits to match what nature provides. Smaller topwaters such as Mirrolure She Pups, the small series of the Skitter Walks, Super Spook Juniors, and smaller plastics such as the Bass Assassin sea shads will be my go-to numbers. Bass Assassin just recently introduced a new style of leadhead that can be pulled through grass and across the top of shell without near as many hang-ups as traditional designs. I'm thinking these jigs are going to prove very useful when crawling soft plastics over structure.

With MirrOlure now producing Paul Brown's family of Corky lures, there should be no excuses for not keeping your tackle box well stocked. By the way, I have tried these new Corkys and they perform every bit as well as the ones Paul made for us.

Look for the best action to be on hard bottoms and grass on the south shoreline, mainly in front of drains. Shell reefs will still be in play and can provide excellent fishing during April for both waders and drifters. A popping cork above your lure is often very effective whenever reef fish are suspended or holding near the surface. Keep at least one rod rigged with a cork to allow a quick option. Chances are we might see a few birds working but it won't be widespread and steady like in fall months.

West Matagorda Bay
Matagorda fishermen who like to head west should expect glass minnows to be the big attraction; this happens every year with some better than others. Try to time your visits to the south shoreline to coincide with incoming tide. Never pass a bunch of diving pelicans. If you don't mind missing the traditional dinner hour, evening fishing from 5:00 PM until dark is quite often the best the day has to offer in April. Just be extra careful on your ride back in and by all means carry a Q-Beam or similar high-power spotlight and use it. April is also the beginning of what I call "shark season" in West Matagorda so you may want to rig up a floating box or other device if you plan to keep a few fish for dinner. Sharks will pick them off the stringer faster than you put them on. Baits will not change much from East Bay to West but I would suggest packing some weedless spoons as the guts along the south shoreline will often be full of nice slot reds and they have always been suckers for gold spoons.

A few words on wade fishing safety: the stingrays are already thick on the shorelines and this is only the beginning of spring. ForEverlast offers a full line of stingray boots and gaiter-style leg and foot protectors. Trust me on this I would rather have a stingray barb stuck in my boot rather than my foot.

Until next time; Good fishing and God Bless. - Capt. Bill