South Padre: December 2008

South Padre: December 2008
John Hunter sight casted to this redfish with his fly rod.
The Lower Laguna Madre has really come alive as of late fall and early winter. The fishing has been nothing short of outstanding. Overall, our waters look to be in great shape, clarity is back to normal with the exception of only a few areas. The bay system looks exceptionally healthy going into this winter season; plenty of baitfish schools around for the hungry predator.

Something very interesting has taken place in our local waters. For the first time in many years I have noticed the resurgence of the blue crab in our shallow back bays. It's been a long while since we've seen a good population of this redfish attracting species. In areas where we find blue crabs we also find the redfish to be thick and their stomachs have been full of them. As of this writing our redfish have not retreated to deeper water yet and sight fishing on the flats is still in full swing. Targeting trout has taken us a little deeper, mainly concentrating on potholes in about three to four feet of water. Don't rule out shallow sand flats just yet though, we're seeing some of the biggest trout still holding on shallow sand.

December's focus will be trucha grande; Spanish for big trout. December weather tends to be rather mild on average but we certainly expect a few cold blasts. The colder temperatures can last a day or two and in rare cases a little longer. Before a front arrives, the usual south - southeast winds take place. Temperatures will be on the warm side and the fish will more than likely be in their early fall patterns, staying shallow; so we will stick to relative shallow water always with an eye for bird and bait activity. Topwaters like the She dog or Skitter Walk will be good choices along with darker Sea Devil plastics from Brown Lures in plum-treuse and black.

Believe it or not, one of my favorite times to be on the water is during a frontal passage with cloudy skies, drizzling rain, wind blowing out of the north ten to fifteen mph with temperatures in the upper fifties. This is when I head for the mud and deeper holes. My allies in the search for big trout will be a few jumping mullet, diving pelicans, and a logbook of information from previous winter successes. In the wintertime fish will head deep and lay in mud bottoms which tend to hold warmer temperatures. Our winter wades through mud are not long marches but rather calculated, slow-paced walks in ankle to knee deep mud. The colder water temperatures slow down the bite considerably and this is where the Corky Fat Boy or Corky Devil worked slowly near the bottom will do the trick. Last year we had the best big trout fishing I have ever experienced on the Lower Laguna Madre, and many of these sows came from areas we felt deserved names like, Heart Attack Hole, Mud Hole, and Mud Island. These are not for the faint of heart; you have to work hard and you certainly earn every bite walking through what we joking call "swine mud." I will be the first to say our efforts were greatly rewarded last year and so can yours this winter.

As I have written in prior December articles, this is my favorite month to be on the water and I can only hope this one will be as good as we had in 2007. December is the month of giving and our good old Lower Laguna certainly gave her share. She is certain to give many opportunities at big trout, hefty redfish, and let's not forget the elusive winter snook. The question iswill you allow the opportunity to arise? Will you be at the right place at the right time? The right place is the Lower Laguna Madre, and the right time is any day you can get out during the month of December.