Mid-Coast Bays: April 2011

Mid-Coast Bays: April 2011
Calm days have been giving us a chance to do some reef hopping.
Despite freezes and isolated fish kills along parts of the middle coast, we still had some great fishing adventures here in the Seadrift-Port O' Connor areas during the months of February and early March. I expect good fishing to continue throughout April.

As I write this article on March 10, we are already beginning to see glass minnows and finger mullet along the bay shorelines and inlets which tells me we are right on par seasonally. As of this writing I am concentrating my efforts on the south shorelines of Espiritu Santo and San Antonio, fishing sloughs to the back lakes on Matagorda Island. The hard southeast wind this time of year usually keeps us on the south shorelines. Any lull in the wind will offer a chance to move up into San Antonio Bay and do a little reef hopping to catch up with my speckled friends out there.

April is also an excellent month to catch that trout of a lifetime. If my customers have interest in targeting a lifetime best trophy trout we will concentrate on main bay shorelines, targeting any irregularities we can find. By irregularities I mean points, coves, cuts in the shorelines, a small oyster reef or even the ledge where the sand bars fall out to deeper bay water.

There should be rafts of mullet and menhaden running up and down the shorelines using the many guts and bars as cover from the hungry predators that are searching them out. There are a couple of ways to fish these rafts of bait. One way is to follow the schools of fish up and down the shoreline, the other and the way I prefer is to stay in one area and let the rafts of bait bring the fish to me.

When the rafts of bait swim by, make casts in front, behind, or cast across the bait and drag you're offering through the school. However you do it pay close attention to the location of any bites or hookups as this will describe a pattern you will want to zero in on.

When fishing this way in the locations mentioned, you are sure to stumble into redfish. When this happens, never assume the presence of reds will not allow you to find trout there as well. I cannot tell you how many times I have been fishing for larger trout this way and bumped into heavy reds. I actually regard it as a good sign. I maintain focus and do not leave the area. I stick around because I know that the larger trout sometimes feed with these reds. I guess they may be working together to round up bait or maybe one species heard the feeding of the other and wanted to get in on the action. I won't try to figure that scenario out right now as all that matters is they sometimes feed together in the same location.

There are a lot of different lures that work for the situations described but by far my favorite is the Bass Assassin Swimming Shiner in the baby speck or chartreuse shiner colors. Another Assassin becoming a favorite of mine is the Die Dapper swimming lure and my favorite colors are sand trout and chartreuse dog. The Die Dapper series is a new scented lure from Bass Assassin impregnated with their Bang scent. It has already proven itself along the middle coast. I rig all these lures on 1/16 ounce Bass Assassin jig heads.

Topwaters are always a big hit with my customers, especially during the early hours of the day. On the unusually calm mornings we will be throwing the Top Dog Jr. in the 808 or the PS colors. For really windy days or muddy situations I try to go with the louder She Dogs in the CHPR or GCRCH.

Stingrays will show in greater number during April so don't forget to slip on your Ray-Guard wading boots or, if you prefer, slip on your Ray-Guard Shields before exiting the boat.

Another thing I am looking forward to in April is the arrival of my 2011 Shallow Sport. I ran this boat in all of 2010 and was very pleased with its all-around performance. I used it for every aspect of my guiding business, from duck hunting the shallow flats this winter to fishing the many reefs of the open bay and also spent many days fishing the Matagorda Island surf. My 2010 boat may still be for sale when this issue hits the stands, so if you are in the market for a good all-around quality-built boat give me a call.