It has been a busy spring with all sorts of events, travels and fishing adventures. Currently, I can describe our fishing with two words - disappointingly inconsistent. I remember last year I was reporting excellent catches, a generous share of big trout, and finding schooling redfish was fairly easy as long as your efforts were up near the Arroyo Colorado. This year though has been quite different and we find ourselves struggling more often than I like to report.
Despite lots of windy days much of the water on the east side and some of the west has remained relatively clear and very fishable. Unfortunately, we are not finding large concentrations of fish in most of these waters. For the most part, fish are not in places I expect to find them this time of the year. Sometimes I wonder if they have changed their zip code or just being finicky. A few months back I was mentioning the banner winter and early spring we were enjoying. I figured it was just going to get better and better, but in straightforward terms, it has been a grind lately. I can't help but wonder if the nagging wind isn't the major culprit. Daylight wind at 15-20 with forecasts calling for 30 by midday can leave a guide scratching his head.
I try to make every trip a success and the first and biggest mistake when we cannot find a good early bite is buzzing around like a hummingbird visiting every spot that looks inviting. When the going gets tough, the smart thing to do is focus on a few places where you have been catching fish and be patient. Fish each location thoroughly, and if your first attempt comes up empty, it sometimes pays off to revisit the same area a few hours later. Also, expand your efforts at different depths near the area where you have been catching fish. Very important - waiting for the tide to move can make all the difference in the world.
I recently got schooled that patience can pay big dividends. My clients and I were working an area along with another good friend and fellow guide Capt. Eddie Arenas and his clients. The bite just wasn't happening; everything was down. Dead water was my thought. I became impatient and made a move of several miles to try another good spot, or so I thought. Eddie, on the other hand, made a move of only a few hundred yards to a slightly different depth. Long story short, we went for a boat ride while Eddie's group got on some good fish under extremely windy conditions. It goes to say that sometimes the smallest change can make the biggest difference.
I am praying the wind will back down as we enter the summer season. But if it doesn't, and the fish remain scattered in the shallow flats where you expect to find them, try moving to the deeper edges of those flats. If the present pattern holds, do not overlook the areas that taper from the flats towards the deeper ICW. Quite often this is where you will find the bait and the gamefish you are looking for.
June usually means the beginning of extremely hot temperatures so think "cool" fishing. This means early morning and perhaps a late afternoon into the evening trip can become very productive this time of the year. Fish will be heading deep rather quickly as the days get longer and hotter. Another productive technique is to forget all the places you would normally fish and head to out-of-the-way spots nobody is working. Trying something new can be fun, and let me tell you, I have found solid action lately in places I haven't fished in years and some I never tried before.
In closing I would like to congratulate Fishing Tackle Unlimited on the grand opening of its new and bigger store on Katy Freeway in Houston. Their Simms section is second to none. Now that I mention Simms, I was asked to make a presentation in Bozeman, Montana during their recent annual "Ice Out" event - a gathering of guides from all over the world. Over 500 guides attended the three day festivities. We were given a tour of the factory where the waders are made. I was very impressed and I must say they run a smooth operation up there in Big Sky country. Check out their new stuff on-line or better yet visit the new Fishing Tackle Unlimited store.Summer is here, remember to protect your skin, drink plenty of water, and catch lots of fish.