South Padre: March 2009

South Padre: March 2009
Richie displays a healthy LLM winter trout.
As of this writing we have been very fortunate to escape harsh winter weather in Deep South Texas. It's safe to say that it has been a rather mild season with only a handful of days that were un-fishable due to the bad weather. As far as the catching goes, it has been as hot as a June day during the summer solstice. The number of trout caught in the four to seven pound class has been incredible just as it was last year. Over the winter we targeted trophy trout on most of our trips. Now, the chase will continue but on a different playing field.

No longer will we just concentrate on muddy bottoms, deeper holes or guts. Our efforts in March will expand to sand flats, areas riddled with pot holes, spoils with firm sandy bottoms, and bait-filled shore lines. Our short, meticulously, slow designed wades through specific small areas will now turn to longer wades through a much larger arena. Our focus will continue to be on bait availability. Now that the water has warmed up a bit, expect to see the bait more active and visible on the surface.

The winter months of December through February brought very low tides especially around the full and new moon periods. They were as low as I have ever seen them, but this month marks the return of the flood tides which will pump enough water into the back bays to where they will be accessible and full of fish. The higher tides are certain to draw redfish into the shallow estuaries, ready to gorge on the new inhabitants, especially brown shrimp.

Do expect the winds to increase this time of the year. The prevailing winds will be out of the south or south-easterly direction. Also, expect many mornings to begin with a stiff breeze on your back. Take note of which areas tend to keep their clarity even when the winds are howling. The east side of our bay as well as both north and south of the Arroyo Colorado can take strong gusts of air for prolonged periods of time and still remain fishable.

If this spring brings a good shrimp hatch, and we had lots of rain during summer and fall, expect the west side of our bay system to produce some great redfish action. Two years ago the redfish schools showed a glimpse of how it was ten to fifteen years ago, but last year it never really took off as expected. If the shrimp do their part, March will be an excellent time to experience the phenomena of redfish gathering in schools and pods, sticking their tails above the surface and rooting the bottom for one of their favorite spring time meals, the juvenile brown shrimp.

Throughout the winter our topwaters never took a long break, but this spring they will begin working overtime. You can bet that they will be rigged with Gamakatsu's "live bait" single hooks with forged rings. I mentioned earlier that this time of the year the wind kicks up. When it does, it tends to cause floating grass on the surface; the floating grass can be a major problem when working topwaters with treble hooks. The Gamakatsu single hooks allow us to continue throwing topwaters even in heavily grassed situations. A recommended topwater that has brought us big results because of its great side to side action is the Spro Dawg 100. I have found few days when the redfish and trout would refuse it. On the soft plastic side, an amber Sea Devil from Brown Lures will certainly be at the end of our lines often because it looks so much like a live shrimp.

I say, don't let the wind stop you from enjoying the transition that spring brings to our Laguna. The wind will be here to stay for the next few months; you might as well learn how to use it to your advantage. If your method of fishing is drifting, make sure you have two drift socks on board.

Spring also marks the time of year that those recently dry shorelines turn into an array of eye catching colors as the local flora bloom. Let's enjoy and take care of what we have so that others may do the same for years to come. Learn to appreciate the beauty of Nature along with the great fishing spring brings us.