Fish Talk: April 2011

Fish Talk: April 2011
Bob Carroll took the Texas Trio on Bass Assassin soft plastics fishing East Matagorda Bay.
Whew! What a winter we've had. Even though our average temperatures seemed warmer than previous years, that nasty freeze during the first week of February was one for the books. As spring overtakes the Texas coast, our senses are captivated by the magic the season brings with birds singing, trees budding, and cultivated gardens, not to mention, blowing winds and lots of hungry fish. Nothing brings life to the bays like rising water temperature and rising tides, and Lord be praised, I'm ecstatic April has arrived. Trout and redfish have shed their winter habits and should be very hungry and aggressive by now.

Tuning into tide schedules to note strong incoming tides so that you can be there when it happens is never more important than in April. Strong currents trigger aggressive bites and fishing current-swept shoreline points and guts can pay large dividends as trout and redfish both stage along these natural vantage points in their search for easy forage. Another key item to remember is that baitfish will be smaller this time of year initiating a call to downsize the bait you use.
April is normally a windy month, and this means our water clarity may be "off" in East Matagorda Bay except on the south shoreline. This in no way affects the way fish use the water and feed, but it does complicate catching them on artificial lures. The combination of noise and scent can be utilized to overcome this and fishing a bait such as Bass Assassin's Blurp series of scented baits (Drunk Monkey is one of my favorite colors) under a rattling cork has traditionally been a great setup for this time of year for wading as well as drifting. Over the years I have witnessed more than a few occasions where a big trout came up and attacked the rattling cork rather than the soft-plastic. If this should happen, immediately cut your leader and tie on your favorite topwater. I think you might be surprised at the result which just might be a trophy trout.

The arrival of the equinox tides will soon push the general water levels in our bays well above the wintertime averages and this has a powerful rejuvenating effect with fresh schools of baitfish from the Gulf along with some tide-running predators. I have always believed that tide-running trout enter our bays every year during spring following the migration of various baitfish species. I also believe that some of these fish, especially trout, will stay in our bays and never leave unless pulled out as table fare.

The south shoreline of West Matagorda Bay becomes a hotbed of activity during April and this has much to do with the seasonal abundance of glass minnows. The bay anchovy (AKA Glass Minnow) is a staple food source for trout during early spring, and when large schools of these tiny baitfish can be located I find it rare that hungry trout are not in hot pursuit. Shallow reefs, grassbeds of all depths, and shoreline guts will all attract glass minnows. Brown pelicans can frequently be seen dive-bombing these schools so the action is generally not too difficult to spot. Some good plastic bait choices to toss into the melee would be Bass Assassins 4" and 5" Sea Shad in 10W40, Roach, Morning Glory, Hot Chicken, and Chicken-on-a-Chain. Again fishing an incoming tide in this area whenever possible helps put you in the right place at the right time. In addition to tide-running trout, sharks of various species and sizes will also begin inhabiting West Matty's south shoreline during April. A sealed, floating container for holding your catch is a good idea for wade fishermen hoping to take some trout home for dinner. Believe me, the sharks will be on the roam and it seems they have figured out that a wade fisherman's stringer is a quick ticket to an easy meal.

Stick tight to the shorelines for redfish this month. Oyster Lake, Crab Lake, and areas outside the Diversion Channel should all produce some quality redfish action. I'll be in both bay systems depending on wind conditions and looking forward to some A+ days. Texas Parks & Wildlife are commenting that there are plenty of fish in our bays but as I have mentioned before, conservative fishing should be at the top of the list. Those fillets taste a whole lot better cooked fresh rather than frozen. Remember there will always be a next time so take only what you can use fresh and put an end to freezer burn.

Good fishin and God Bless... Capt. Bill