Fish Talk: January 2010

Fish Talk: January 2010
Robert Bird - 27
January can prove a great month for fishing if you keep on top of your game. Usually cold, sometimes the coldest month of the year, but trout and reds do eat this time of year as part of their basic survival plan. However, a full-course meal is not a daily routine. Trout being cold-blooded with their body temperature same as the water temperature must be factored into fishing tactics such as where to fish, how to fish, and when to fish.
Personal experience favors a new and full moon phase because of the tidal flow. Granted, tides under these phases may not be as strong as in the spring or fall months, but will be the strongest out of the month. Fishing before a cold front or maybe 2-3 days after it crosses the coastline is usually your best bet for fishing success.

History dictates that fishing the Diversion Channel or the Colorado River this time of year can be entertaining if you are able to subtract the fresh water element. If not inundated with freshwater, you should focus on the ledges and drop-offs coming from the banks. Try fishing the bends in the river, sandbars, and even at times the middle of the river. There has been many a trout caught in these areas during January. Another preference of mine is fishing a falling tide in the river using plastics on 1/4 oz or 3/8 oz lead heads. Corkys and Broken Backs will also produce on the ledges. Your retrieve must be slow and I mean really slow if you are serious about your time on the water. Try to remember your retrieve on the first fish that you catch and repeat it.

East Matagorda Bay is another place to camp out. For wade fishermen, even though it may not sound enticing, look for mud with some deep water and local shell close by. Shell and mud are constant companions this time of year. Shell will hold baitfish and the temperature in the mud will be 1-2 degrees warmer than the middle of the bay. Over the years, I have witnessed big trout along muddy shorelines in the middle of the day soaking up sun rays to keep warm. It's a sight to see. Practice on pearl chartreuse Corkies, Fat Boys, and Bass Assassins.
Drift fishing over mud and scattered shell can also prove effective while you are out there with jumping mullet and off-colored streaky water. Slicks in the water will be signals of fish feeding on mullet. As these feeding fish begin burping, the slicks will smell strong and be very noticeable which signals fish in the area. Focus on long drifts perhaps 1/8 to 1/4 mile as your norm.

Many times after a strong cold front, reds will become very active along shorelines over in West Matagorda Bay, especially if all our water falls out. Finding these fish in skinny water can sometimes be as easy as catching a glimpse of their backs sticking out above the surface. Try to fish the sandbars and guts in between. Plastics will be the bait of choice here. Also, remember to wear your ForEverLast stingray boots. Sometimes fishermen get lazy in winter and believe that just because the water is cold the stingrays will be far from the shorelines in deep water. Don't fall for it. You won't see as many during the winter months as you do in summer but I can promise that gravitating towards the safe side is much better than a trip to the emergency room.

Typical forecasts portray January as the possible coldest month of the year; however, this is only a forecast and sometimes is off. If you look at how the present year has played out, January could be up for grabs, possibly in the 70s and even the 80s, who knows? Hoping everyone out there has an awesome Christmas and New Years, a great deer season, and good fortune in 2010.

God Bless... Capt. Bill