On Galveston: April 2009

It's that time again. March is just flying by and we're looking ahead to April and the spring fishing season. The passage of strong northers is still affecting fishing success, but even with these the signs of spring are showing steadily. One thing to keep in mind is that the early stages of the spring patterns can be reversed for a short period when the last really strong fronts come through. As I am working on this report our tide is almost 4-feet lower than normal and it is this huge movement of water by the strong north wind that jacks with the formation of stable fishing patterns.

Overall, March brought decent fishing in many areas, even with temperatures and water levels changing sharply. I would rate it a better than the historic average. I think this is a product of how many fish we have in our bays right now.

Trinity Bay is holding a lot of fish. We have no freshwater inflow to speak of and we could really use some, a great departure from our normal chant this time of year. Redfish can still be found on the flats and shallows back in the north end of the bay but fewer than we had there a couple of weeks ago. The greatest numbers of redfish seem to have taken up residence in the back lakes and the bayous. Wade-fishing the flats has been fairly productive for trout fishermen and some decent weights are showing. There are some four to five pound trout in the mix and every now and them somebody pops a good seven or an eight. Slow sinkers and soft plastics have been best, topwater action has been spotty. The trout have been bouncing back and forth between deep and shallow water with the changes in water temperature the fronts have brought us. The most reliable structure remains scattered clam and oyster shell and most productive depths have been running four to six feet where the flats taper down to deeper water. This last front dropped the water temperature 12 degrees and that pretty much explains why they are frequently changing their depth preference. Drift fishing has probably been most consistent in Trinity Bay over scattered shell with soft plastics in 4-8 feet of water. We have had a little sprinkling of bird action and for the most part these trout are starting to break over and go to the glass minnow pattern and you know what that means. The best bites have been in the late afternoon all the way up until dark for the fishermen willing to grind it out that late. Water conditions are good from shore to shore; wind is our greatest enemy right now.

Burnett Bay and Scott Bay- The upper reaches in the San Jacinto river region are still holding quite a few trout and redfish in the smaller back bays up there. Same pattern, drift 4-8 foot depths over shell with plastics. Haven't heard about any really big fish coming from up there lately.

Coming back down the channel in upper Galveston Bay, there have been quite a few good trout caught on the Kemah Flats and Seabrook Flats area outside of Clear Lake. MirrOlures and other slow-sinkers along with the usual assortment of soft plastics have been steady producers.

East Bay has been holding a lot of redfish up in the north end between the refuge and down that north side when you can fish it. We get these blows and the tide gets real low which makes it tough, but when everything settles for a day or two there are some very nice fish to be caught on that north side. The south shoreline has been holding quite a few fish around primary points and also around bayou drains during outgoing tide. That water is warming up real good during the day in those back lakes. If you hit that outgoing tide with warm water coming out along those flats and points, you should find a steady bite. No bird action to speak of in East Bay yet, but that will come later.

West Bay's south shoreline coves are perennial hotspots during March and a good part of April. A steady southeast wind between the northers almost always produces well in these areas. A word of caution is in order here; Hurricane Ike made a bunch of changes and deposited lots of debris. Take your time navigating until you get it figured out. Ike's currents deepened the guts leading up into these coves which makes it a better highway for the fish to travel and move up into the coves to feed. Wade fisherman in particular need to feel for the drop offs before stepping forward and should be constantly on the lookout for submerged debris. There is a lot of lumber with jagged ends and nails sticking out. I have received numerous reports of damage to lower units due to this debris left from Ike. Several groups are currently working on getting it out of the bay but it is going to take a long time, there are just tons of it everywhere.

In summary; we have great water conditions from West Bay all the way up to Trinity Bay and the spring pattern is beginning to pop. Barring unforeseen weather developments, the single greatest influence on our fishing will be the wind that we have learned to fight on a daily basis. When it is forecast to run above 20mph a wise fisherman will avoid open bay structure fishing and will seek protected shorelines. We are blessed with excellent numbers of trout and redfish in most areas and some flounder are also being caught. Flounder numbers are not great enough to warrant focused effort but they are starting to show up on the flats with the trout and the redfish we are catching. The soft plastics will probably be the all-around top bait choice but the topwater action should improve as the water warms and fish feed in the shallows for longer periods. Working an area thoroughly will continue to be your best strategy. Many fishermen make the mistake of hurriedly trying a few spots and then giving up. My best advice is to stay put when you get a few bites and grind it out until late in the day, afternoons and evenings have been the best times. Keep an eye on the wind and watch out for the late season northers. I think we might be in for a banner spring fishing season.