Fish Talk: January 2011

Fish Talk: January 2011
Chandler Faickney and Cole Aplin with twin twenty-sixes, trout and redfish, wading mud in East Matagorda chunking “Chicken-on-a-Chain” Bass Assassins.
Looking back to the first part of 2010, fishing around the Matagorda bays wasn't too bueno. The weather had a lot to do with it and you can only play the hand you are dealt, so we muddled our way through it. However, my fishing log says that January can be a great month for big specks. One just never knows how weather and water conditions will play out.

Typically all shrimp are gone from the bays come January and fish are eating eels and finfish for the most part. If we have a mild January, chances are ripe for catching trout twenty-three inches and up. MirrOlures and Corkys will be the best bet.

Slowing your retrieve will be important, especially during cold spells and days with lots of cloud cover when the sun cannot warm the water. Taking it to a crawl is the best practice for the conditions mentioned but it takes lots of patience.

I know you're tired of hearing me say this but the presence of bait in the area you have chosen to fish is always important, ultra-critical this time of year. Preferred areas will be thigh-deep flats with mud and shell bottom that tapers off to deep water. Your fish will pull up on the flat to feed, get full, and then drift back into deep protected waters. Tidal flow is typically not strong this time of the year but it pays to be informed. Check your tide schedule for peak currents whether incoming and outgoing. I always say the stronger the better. As a matter of fact, your Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine Tide and Solunar Chart is an excellent resource.

If wade fishing is not your bag it doesn't mean you're out of the game this month. You can still do some good drifting drop-offs and scattered shell. The areas in and around Boiler Bayou and Raymond's Reefs are two of my favorites when I have wintertime drifters on my boat. All this area is mud and shell and has proven to be productive over the years. Jumping mullet and slicks are dead giveaways for locating quality fish while drifting. When you find trout eating mullet, you'll notice a distinct slick along with a smell resembling that of watermelon. Plastics such as Bass Assassin's Chicken-on-a-Chain, 10W40, Hot Chicken, and the Woodpecker will be good picks.

Colorado River fishing may be an option on wind-torn days. This area, as well as the Diversion Channel, can provide quality fishing given that we are lucky to miss out on major flooding. The Farmer's Almanac says that we are destined for a normal and dry winter. I hope they are on target.

Just want to remind those of you who park your boat to take on some deer hunting the importance of winterizing your equipment. By the way since I brought it up, my wife finally conceded to the notion of a new boat. I've been looking at boats all year long and pondering what would be the right fit for me. Dargel Boats down in Donna, Texas has been in the boat making business for 70 years. All boats are foam injected hulls just like the Boston Whaler. I have ordered Dargel's new space-age 250 HDX Kat and will be running it shortly after the first of the year. This boat is projected to be a humdinger of a hull, 25 ft in length, 8 feet-6 inches beam, with a speed of 60 mph, and will be rigged with a 250 Suzuki SS. I can't wait to hop in. You'll be able to see this very same boat as it will be displayed at the 2011 Houston International Boat, Sport, & Travel Show January 7 through 16 at Coastal Backwater Marine booth 8050. Hope to see you there.

I'll be working the Bass Assassin booth along with Charlie Paradoski, Bink Grimes, Mark Talasek, and Tommy Alexander. Hope all enjoyed a blessed holiday season and pray that 2011 will bring good tidings of great joy. God Bless!