Hooked Up: April 2018

Hooked Up: April 2018
Chad Hurta's grinding paid off to catch this awesome trout in less than ideal conditions. MirrOlure Corky Devil.

The month of April brings a lot to the table – literally and figuratively. Brown shrimp and baitfish are heading up and down the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) recently, and their numbers will only grow larger throughout this month as the tides of spring begin showing themselves. Most years, the full moon of April will send a surge of “fresh” seawater into the system, and it serves as a lifeline for the predators that call Baffin and the Upper Laguna home.

The full moon hits on April 29 (Pink Moon). Experience has taught me the that the biggest push of water usually comes with the full moon closest to the end of April and beginning of May. Leading up to that moon, and following it, there will be some fantastic fishing and catching to be had. April and May still produce very fat trout, and are great months to catch a trophy fish. The even larger upside is the quantity of fish that will be caught to go along with the quality.

Can y'all remember the day you became hooked on fishing? I can easily remember mine from early childhood, and although a story worth hearing, I'll tell you about it another time as it is a freshwater fishing tale. Instead, I'll tell you the one that caused me to become a Corky fanatic.

It was April 1996. Jim Wallace (RIP) had just set the new state record on a Corky that previous February. I was fortunate enough to have a few in my box that a friend had brought down to me from Houston. My longtime salty fishing buddy, David A. Murray, and I were in the back of Baffin after the spring tide had come in, and having a decent morning on topwaters – but the bite had just spiraled downward miserably. I was on my way to get the boat and noticed David A. bowed up on a good trout. I got the boat a little closer and asked him what he caught it on and he held up a Corky.

Now, we had been throwing these things for a while over the previous months but were just not having the luck on them, so I was a bit surprised that he had gone to that lure. Not convinced the fish were still there, I rudely brought the boat in on a drift, and dang if he didn’t do it again – only this one was bigger.

I set the anchor and tied on an amber with chartreuse tail, and then moved off to the side of David A. Best I can remember, David's first trout on the Corky came around 10:30 in the morning, and mine soon after. We stayed on that flat all day long, dang near 'til dark, and must have caught two hundred solid fish until our four Corkys were rendered useless. I'll never forget that day; the thought of it always brings a smile to my face when April rolls around.

As we push into April there will be an influx of new gamefish coming through the Land Cut, north toward Baffin. With Port Mansfield's trout population benefitting from the five-trout limit passed years ago, we should see a great increase in catching as compared to what the winter and early spring has given us.

Don't get me wrong, we have caught a lot of great fish this year, but trout that qualify for the giant category have been fewer in number. My money is on April bringing us back into the trophy circle, being one of the best months of 2018, and May coming in a close second or possibly even topping it.

Exposed spoil islands along the ICW, north and south of Baffin, are going to be hot spots throughout the next two months for these migratory fish. Resident fish will be making their final push to spawn and will be scattered throughout areas holding lots of grass. These will be the fish that will make your jaw drop in awe of their size - the class of fish most of my clients will want to focus on.

One little hint for you is to not walk away from grunting-croaking male trout this month.If you are catching a bunch of them, one after the other, it is most likely because they are shadowing a big female trout and waiting for the opportunity to procreate. Sore mouth enough of the dink males and you might have a chance of getting your Bass Assassin or MirrOdine in front of the trout of your dreams.

Remember the buffalo! -Capt David Rowsey