Hooked Up: March 2017

Hooked Up: March 2017
A great eight-pounder from the Upper Laguna. MirrOlure Fat Boy proved irresistible to her and some more on this day. Released!

I hope this article finds you just coming out of your Simms waders after a great day of winter fishing. Spring is on us, and really seems like winter never happened on the Laguna Madre. The weather has made for a crazy year on the water. Unseasonably warm and high tides has made for some adventurous pursuits for giant trout. Most of them were not easy, but enough were to keep our drive from plummeting to unrecoverable levels.

The first week of February saw the tides finally fall out of the bay. Yay! This was a big deal, and one that I had been looking forward to all winter. The problem with the high water is that it kept is from wading many areas that we traditionally fish this time of year. With so much extra water in the bay, the trout were scattered all over the place, never in high concentrations. Add to that the air-clear water, and it was just making life pretty scrappy out on this
'ol legendary trout bay.

God must have heard me whining from behind the console of my boat or from the soft hole that I just sank into, only to fill my waders with hyper-saline water, as he blew in some stout west winds and changed everything overnight. Thousands of prime acres of water are accessible to wading now. The fish have become more concentrated, as they should be this time of year, and the water clarity has become the perfect milky color. Alas! Fishing has become much more predictable and rewarding of late.

March is a monster month here on the Upper Laguna and Baffin. It does not always give up the most fish, but my journals tell the story of the heaviest fish of any of the twelve months. That fact was carved into stone last year when an awesome friend/client set the client record on my boat with a behemoth 10.75-pound trout. That is what you call a "lifer" my friends. The other part of the story on that fish is that it was caught by a Common Joe. Just a regular guy that loves to fish, has a very normal job, and just blends into society like most of us. Big trout couldn’t care less about social status, how big your boat is, or how much you spent to get there. What they do require is patience, preparedness, knowing when to be in their house, and some of God's blessing mixed in.

Any salt that has spent plenty of days on the water knows that March can be downright unpredictable with regards to weather, especially the wind.  With the warm winter that we are experiencing, I believe gusty spring winds from the southeast will be the norm this March. That will be my first consideration every day I leave Bluff Landing Marina to put clients on big trout. Within reason, the wind is your friend in Baffin and the Upper Laguna Madre. Being so far from coastal passes, tidal current is minimal in these bay systems. Water movement is controlled by the wind, and some form of it is essential for a great fish bite. Days of slack wind are great for boat riding, but fishing this pattern is very tough and slow in production.

The warm weather should have some monster fish pulling up into shallow water for prolonged periods of time, and that is where I will be spending most of my time with clients. Approach these shallow areas with caution and stealth. Utilize your trolling motor to get in close and quietly. I would suggest shutting the big Mercury down at least one hundred yards from the target area and walking in, if you don't have a trolling motor. Giant trout are big because they are wary. Waving a red flag by shutting the boat down on top of them is not going to work out for you.

My top choices for lures in the shallow water is a small topwater, a floating Fat Boy by MirrOlure, a 5" Bass Assassin rigged onto a 1/16 ounce Pro Elite jighead by Bass Assassin, and the new weedless "Salty Snack" by Bass Assassin. (This is a new lure on the market I have been fishing with for some time as a prototype. It has been very effective in shallow grassy areas, as well as bouncing off rock piles in the middle of the bay.)

Remember the buffalo!
-Capt. David Rowsey