Mid-Coast Bays: May 2017

Mid-Coast Bays: May 2017
That’s my boat way over there! You just never know how far you might wade – multiple methods of anchoring gives me peace of mind.

Fishing on the Mid-Coast remains very good. Planning trips is basically a no-brainer, the wind dictates most of our game plans. The speed and direction tell us whether seek protection in back lakes, head for main bay shorelines, or maybe a morning visit (at least) to mid-bay reefs before the wind comes up. Comfort and safety of the folks on my boat are always my primary concern.

With warmer water temps, most of our wade trips are along sandy shorelines of West Matagorda, Espiritu Santo and San Antonio bays. Occasional fronts are still arriving and must be taken seriously but the predominant winds are now south and southeast. Twenty-knot wind and stronger means wading leeward of the barrier islands, and while back lakes are always an option, the bottoms are not all wade-friendly. Sometimes drifting is the best choice.

I have discussed drift anchors in the past and I use them often, great tools for slowing the boat for more effective drift fishing. Another good option, for stopping the boat on promising structure or when several bites come from a specific area, is what I call a stake out stick. This is a slender fiberglass pole of about eight-feet, there are several styles and brands available. You can certainly use the Power Pole to stop the boat, but being mounted on the transom, the bow swings downwind and does not provide casting room for more than one or two anglers on the bow.

Lowering the Power Pole and “staking” the bow of my Shallow Sport before it turns downwind, positions the boat at a more favorable angle for multiple anglers to fish along the length of the boat. When you decide to move on and continue drifting, you simply lift the Power Pole and pull the stake.

On the few spring days when the wind is down you will find me out in San Antonio Bay. This bay is one of my favorite areas to fish when the weather allows because there are so many reefs that can hold great potential for catching. If you decide to venture out to San Antonio Bay to wade the reefs, there is a major safety concern that deserves discussion.

I have seen TOO MANY fishermen using ONLY their Power Pole to anchor their boats while they get out to wade. This is very unwise!

Oyster shell makes it tricky for the Power Pole alone to maintain solid contact with the bottom. Another judgment error is assuming the wind will not change direction or increase in velocity. When this happens, and you are relying only on the Power Pole, you could find your boat drifting away into deep water.

To be safe, I use all three of my anchors. First, a #8 Danforth style with wide flukes for maximum hold. Drop your anchor and set it in about 5- to 6-foot depth and allow your boat to drift back toward the reef you plan to wade. It may take a long anchor line but that’s okay, the longer the anchor line the better the anchor will hold. If you get it right, the stern should stop in 1- to 2-feet of water when you tie off at the bow. Now drop the Power Pole, making sure to get it as far down as possible. Raising and lowering in rapid succession helps it penetrate the shell. Next, push the stake out stick as deeply as you can and tie off to a side cleat. Don’t be surprised if you have to crunch through the shell to get the stake to stick. Now that you have the boat anchored securely you can get out and wade with peace of mind.It may seem like overkill but I promise you will never find yourself boatless on a mid-bay San Antonio reef, or anywhere else for that matter.

I shouldn’t have to remind all of you that Mother’s Day comes in the month of May. Our days on this earth are numbered so never take having your mother with you for granted. I know I sure don’t. My mother is the most important person in my life and I tell her that often. And Mom, if you are reading this you should know I love and appreciate you more than you can imagine. Because of you, I am me! I got all of my best qualities from you. Aren’t we lucky that you had enough for both of us? Happy Mother’s Day!