Here we are in the first week of May and we are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel being stable weather patterns. Springtime weather is always so changeable. Stable weather patterns for a week or more at a time usually means the fish’s feeding patterns will be similarly stable.
Up until the first of May we would have several days of 70° short-sleeve weather, enjoying a good trout bite on San Antonio Bay’s south shoreline. A couple of days later a blue norther comes gusting across the bay. All you can do is bail to the back lakes of Matagorda Island or seek shelter in places like Pringle Lake and Shoalwater Bay.
When you are forced to make such drastic changes in fishing areas it’s difficult to be on top of movements and feeding patterns. Tide levels and changes in water temperature are also part of the puzzle. Imagine how the fish must struggle to adapt to such radical changes.
This played out all spring for us and for the quarry that we have been targeting. Now that we are getting into more stable patterns it will be easier for anglers to develop what we think are the best patterns to fish the areas we are targeting for longer periods of time.
Through the rest of May and into the summer months you will find my Shallow Sport X3 headed to areas near the passes that connect the gulf to the bays – areas like Mesquite Bay and West Matagorda Bay. Both of these bay systems have what you need to be looking for this time of year.
The passes will be where the incoming tides will bring the schools of menhaden and other forage species into the nutrient-rich bay systems – thanks to Mother Nature’s generous rainfall and runoff events that dominated our weather from September through much of the winter. Following these migrating baitfish you will find hungry surf-runner trout coming into the bay systems. It is always my plan to intercept these fish as they are on average a more quality fish than what the bays have been holding. For all you naysayers, I said on average, we all know there are some pigs that live in our bays but I’m talking average size.
There are a few tips that will help you and I locate and catch these tide-runners which, by the way, do comingle with your local resident trout during the summer months.
When I’m fishing near the passes this time of year I will look for shorelines that have irregularities to change the direction or flow of incoming or outgoing tides. Irregularities such as a point jutting out or a shell reef along the shoreline. A slough that connects a backwater area to the main bay shoreline is great also. Scattered grass and sandbars will do the same trick, they are all structure.
These irregularities are what the gamefish that we target will use as ambush points to catch their next meal – and we will use as focal points to target our gamefish.
When fishing these shorelines you will have to pay special attention to your surroundings. Are the baitfish hanging close to the banks or are they out deeper? Are there slicks popping in certain areas? Are the menhaden and larger mullet daisy chaining down the shorelines?
Once you start fishing and you have your target areas identified, you will need to match your lure to the baitfish present in the area you’re fishing. If you have a lot of shad or larger mullet you could go with the MirrOlure MirrOdine XL, they come in many colors with chrome sides to add flash. MirrOlure also has the Soft-Dine XL which will also do the trick.
Bass Assassin 4” Sea Shads will always get the job done also. I choose Magic Grass and Slammin Chicken for dirtier water and colors such as Sugar and Spice, and Boodreaux in areas with better water clarity.
I am not a hardcore topwater enthusiast but if that’s what the fish seem to prefer I will certainly join in. MirrOlure makes the She Dog, Top Dog and the larger He Dog. I use all of them. Heddon makes the Super Spook and Super Spook Jr. I find bone to be my most productive Spook color. All of these surface plugs will get the job done; what it comes down is personal preference and confidence.
Hopefully this will help you target and catch some of the tide-runners we have entering the bay systems this time of year.Fish hard, fish smart!