Blowing Caps in April

Blowing Caps in April
Capt. Ruben Garza, Sandra, Erika, and Bernie — wish photos could tell the whole story.

The winds of April will most certainly cause blowing whitecaps on the water and those on your head to fly off too. April means wind and changing fish patterns, discussed later in this article, but other changes include the way you dress for your fishing trips. The layers of clothes will be on the lighter side; the heavy jackets will have been put away, and the waders that brought us comforts of warmth through the colder months are now stashed away in the attic. The days will become longer, and also the opportunity to fish later into the evening will once again be upon us.

Winter and early spring were very rewarding to us. We experienced some phenomenal number of catches wading in traditional winter mud holes. Gone are the days where a late start was a good thing. Now, we need to start thinking about getting an early start before the wind starts to unleash its fury. If I could use one word to describe April, my choice of word would be windy. April unveils very windy conditions through out the Texas Coast, and the Lower Laguna Madre will be no exception to these windy conditions. Down south we will undeniably see breezy conditions thru much of April and May. Low pressures areas above us will cause a vacuum of air. As a result of this vacuum we will begin to see the winds start to increase from a southerly direction. Using the wind to your advantage can bring triumph even in the windiest of days. During the next couple of breezy months, make it a point to learn to read your water. Do your homework and spend some time this spring scouting areas that tend to hold up even in the windiest of conditions. Knowing what water holds up in gusty conditions can help you save gas and time. Know where your protected shorelines are located; find those areas that cause bait to be stacked up on the sheltered side of breaks. Search for areas that contain wind blown bait on shorelines.

Now, just because you find fishable water, doesn't mean you will find the fish ready and willing to take your offering. When you find decent looking water in the windiest of days, you have done part of your homework. Next, look for signs of bait availability and wade at different depths in the body of water you are fishing. Learn to recognize those mud puffs I mentioned in my previous article. Be willing to try topwaters and plastics or perhaps a spoon to entice a strike.

As other authors have mentioned previously in the magazine, keeping a log is an important tool. A view of a well recorded log book can help you to recognize fish patterns.

Windy conditions will cause water discoloration that can offer some productive catching. Gamefish will use a color change to their advantage. They conceal themselves in the dirty water and ambush bait as it swims near a color change. Our area is known for the vast sea grasses that inundate our flats; sea grasses help water keep its clarity. In the midst of all this grass, the water can remain semi-clear to clear in the windiest of days that spring sets before us, with the exception of scattered potholes that tend to get stirred up on windy days. Because of their sandy bottom, they have no filter to settle the water. It is in these off-colored pothole areas that your efforts are worth applying.

The month of April will also bring warmer temperatures which in turn will cause fish to frequent the shallow flats and make those areas their mainstay. We will again begin to throw hardware such as Super Spook Jr's and She-Dogs, which for the most part were tucked away during the winter months.

Just recently, my clients and I got a taste of what is to occur on a regular basis in the next couple of months. We got an early start, and the wind was already blowing fifteen to twenty mph out of the south. With the wind blowing all night like it did we knew that many areas would be blown out and impossible to fish with artificials. From past experience, I decided to try an area that tends to hold decent clarity. The area was perfect for the given conditions. The area contained a sand strip that extended about a hundred and fifty yards long and forty yards wide; it was surrounded by thick turtle grass and lots of shallow water. With the tide falling off the flats like it was and the bait stacking up in this slightly deeper sand hole, it was an excellent place to start off. Just as expected the fish were piled up. We soon forgot how windy it really was. Redfish and trout were holding in small grass beds and depressions found along this sandy narrow stretch. Dark plastics were the key to our success. But, as the morning progressed it got even windier in the excess of thirty miles per hour. Despite the water getting churned up by the hour, it didn't make a difference to these plastic hungry fish.

At one point, I left the guys to go get the boat a little closer, and from afar I could still see rods being bent. Soon after wading from one end of the sandy stretch to the other, we decided to check out some other areas. As we traveled further south, we found very clear water but no large concentrations of fish or bait. So after spending about three hours searching for the right place, I made the call to return back to where we had found all those fish in the morning. On our second visit to the same sandy hole, the water had begun to regain its clarity. Almost immediately we began to experience the same bite that occurred in the morning. The redfish stayed put and were ready to continue to tug at our lines. The guys had a blast even in the windiest of conditions; however, if it wasn't for this spot, we would have experienced a zero bite day.

It always helps to do your homework before the test, and this was a classic example of that kind of day. Start your homework early and take down notes before the testy winds of spring begin to blow. Who knows; your ace could come on your next cast. Get out there and strive to learn how to fish the winds of April and be careful with blowing caps not only those on your head, but those on the water too.

On a final note, I would like to thank all the wonderful new people I met at the Houston Fishing Show in March. And of course, it is always fun seeing old friends in familiar places. A big thank you to Joe Meyer and Ron Shepherd with Fishing Tackle Unlimited for believing in me and making me part of their elite group of Pro Staff. I am honored and look forward in working closely with a great group of people at FTU.