Mid-Coast Bays: January 2009

Mid-Coast Bays: January 2009
Cindy Ramon and Sharon Stewart show off some of their catch while drift fishing with artificials.
Even though we are bringing in the New Year, strategies for fishing in January will be just about the same as they were in December of 2008. Fishing in December was excellent but with the constantly changing weather we were forced to change our game plans almost on a daily basis.

When the wind wasn't blowing too hard we were able to fish the many reefs in San Antonio Bay with great results. If the water was below 60 degrees I found the fish to be a little deeper then chest deep making it difficult to reach them while wading without water spilling over into my waders. Drifting was not a good option because the schools seemed to be holding tight in small areas and scattered easily with any disturbances. But when the water was above 60 degrees the trout would move up closer to the crown of the reefs making them easier to reach without getting water in my waders.

As usual soft plastics worked best rigged on a 1/8 oz. jighead. The colors that were producing the best were Bass Assassins Texas Shad in Plum/Chartreuse, Texas Roach and Salt & Pepper Silver Phantom with chartreuse tail. Working the lure in a yo-yo pattern gives the best results. This method allows the lure to travel through the full water column allowing you to find out if the fish are feeding higher or lower in the water on that particular day. Once you get that bit of information then you can change your retrieve to match that of the feeding fish.

Now if the wind picks up our options will limit us to one of our many back lakes due to the fact that our fish have moved off our sandy shorelines in search of warmer muddier bottoms that cover our back lakes. Wading these muddy bottoms doesn't rank high on the list for many anglers but luckily drift fishing produces good results.

While we know our lakes contain good numbers of trout, it is the redfish that dominates the shallows. When trying to entice these brutes I will change my lure selection as follows.

My first go-to lure to use when I fish for redfish will be a weedless soft plastic. Bass Assassin's 5-inch Saltwater Shad or Berkley's Gulp 5-inch Jerk Shad in the smelt color will be some of my choices. Unlike some areas our grassy bottoms are here year round, and while it is not as thick as it is in the spring and summer, it can still be a nuisance when using soft plastics. When the water temperatures drop, try tying your plastic onto a mauler to help slow down your presentation for the more lethargic, frigid fish.

My second choice will be Mann's Bait Tidewater Waker in the croaker color. The Waker is very easy to work and produces great results. I will let the fish dictate whether to retrieve it slowly or speed it up. If the hooks become tangled with one another too often simply remove the front hook to alleviate the problem.

My last tool in the wintertime arsenal works well for both trout and redfish and it is a favorite among many lure chunkers. The Super Spook Jr. is a smaller topwater plug that yields big results. It is easy to work and has a low pitch rattle when walked side to side. While this lure may not get as many hookups as the lures mentioned above, it seems to entice the larger reds and trout, and the many blow ups will keep you casting with confidence.

In closing, Gary and I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! May it bring everyone promises of new dreams to come true, new goals to reach, and new joys to discover.