Concrete Techniques for April

Concrete Techniques for April
On a recent early morning I was putting on my waders while waiting to meet clients at the What-A-Burger parking lot in Port Isabel when an older gentleman drove by and asked, "How's the fishing?"

Of course my natural response was, "It's awesome!"

He then replied, "No, I meant how's the fishing right there where you're standing."

I quickly caught on that he was trying to be funny, so I responded swiftly with, "Oh, they are tailing everywhere, all over the parking lot. I've already got my limit." Off he went as we both chuckled over our conversation.

That conversation stayed with me for the rest of the day as I waded. It got me to thinking that on any given day we can have a parking lot experience. If I would have stayed on that parking lot all day, the only thing I would have caught was concrete, a good sunburn and lots of crazy stares. As a matter of fact, the only fish you could find there was What-A-Catch on the restaurant's menu.

Yes, parking lot experiences will occur even to the best of fishermen, but to some fishermen it occurs on a more regular basis. Why? If you keep fishing the same areas and you're not happy with the results, try something different. Don't be afraid to explore. Get out of the parking lot!

My first response to the older gentleman was right on target; fishing on the Lower Laguna continues to be outstanding. I believe we are now reaping the rejuvenation of our bays that Hurricane Dolly's storm surge and heavy rain brought to the ecosystem; and let's not forget to mention the benefits that the five trout limit has brought. In addition, fishing pressure has declined, a likely product of the general state of the economy, so fishing right now is about as good as it gets.

Because of minimal traffic on the water we are currently finding fish where they are suppose to be and not hiding or running from props and the blast of outboard engine exhaust. The water has come up considerably so shorelines have produced very well for us. When the wind blows hard, typical for this time of the year, it causes bait to be pushed up shallow. A good concentration of bait along the grass beds of a shoreline is an excellent attractor for the predators that we pursue. Some of our bigger fish have come from shorelines or small pockets of water where the bait has been pushed by the wind.

By now the shrimp hatch should be in its mature stage making the sandy, muddy west side shallows a prime area for rooting redfish. Learn to study the tidal movements for the areas you fish. If you plan to fish a shallow lagoon, find out when the high tide begins to flood the area. Remember fish will migrate in and out of these shallow estuaries according to the tides; you want to be there as they migrate in and on the prowl for their next meal.

Starting early might be something you may want to consider before the wind starts to howl. As the winds are lighter in the early morning, you may want to start in areas that can lose their clarity fast. Usually these will be areas where very little sea grass is present. When the wind blows hard, silt is stirred up from the bottom. These conditions can muddy up a productive area and make it almost unfishable, but in turn, grassy areas tend to filter the silt and allow the water to keep its clarity or somewhat fishable depending on how strong the wind is blowing. In this blusterous, windy month learn to pick your areas according to the conditions. Finding the right clarity and fishable water in windy conditions can get you out of the parking lot.

I mentioned earlier that the tides will be up considerably as compared to the winter months, which will open up new areas to fish. Be observant of tide levels even before you head out of the ramp. I'll tell you something; I make it a point while arriving at the ramp to look at the water level before doing anything. First, the water level tells me where I can go and where I can't go. Next, it tells me where the fish might have migrated to according to the recent rise or drop in water level. I have helpful landmarks or points that I use throughout the areas we fish. Being observant in the little things and knowing when the tides will start their movement can also get you out of a parking lot experience.

There many other factors and things I would like to share so I'm just going to have to make this parking lot experience a two-part series to be continued in my next article. The top producers this month and a certainty to be in our boxes will be Brown Lure sea devils in the amber color and Spro Dawg100's when the top water bite lends itself.

Fishing is great on the Lower Laguna Madre. Come experience it! Get out of the parking lot mentality, and go order you some. I meant go get you some. Got to go! I'm just about to pull into the What-A-Burger.