I just peaked outside and the tree branches are bending almost to the ground. Even though we have been fairly lucky wind-wise this spring, wind is always a factor we have to deal with. I think most will agree, though, wind usually affects fishermen more than it does fish.
Wind that blows constantly for several days and nights can turn water that has been productive for weeks into chocolate soup and this will send us to the Lower Laguna Madre's east shoreline. Fishing the expansive grassbeds in the lee of South Padre Island is sometimes our best and/or only option, and even if the bite is tough, we can still get out there and catch a few.
Our water levels are currently very high allowing the fish a much broader playing field. Coupled with the rise in water temperatures, our concentrations of large trout have scattered. We are still finding a few big ones tight to shorelines and on spoil humps and a few on the East Side sand, but they are nowhere near as predictable as they were in previous months. We are still lucky, though, to be able to find steady action on three and four pounders. The best bite has been on ICW spoils during strong tides - incoming as well as falling - and Kelley Wigglers soft plastics have been our best baits by far. I would call the topwater bite inconsistent but improving. Bone, redhead and Okie Shad Super Spook Jr have been good bets when they'll feed on the surface.
Ever since the water level rose the redfish have been hanging extremely skinny and any time they are in a foot or less of clear water they can be spooky and tough to feed. Even the slightest noise will send them scooting. We have slowed our wading speed to a crawl and I have been telling everybody to be as quiet as possible. Our patience and hard work has paid off with excellent numbers of redfish being taken from potholes surrounded by solid grass bottom.
Stingrays of every size are thick right now on the flats. I highly suggest wearing protectors like the ForEverlast G2 Ray Guard Shields or the Ray Guard wading boots. Even when wearing protection it's smart to shuffle your feet and occasionally glance down as you wade.
I feel the best reward of being a fishing guide is establishing friendships and witnessing the growth in your clients fishing skills. I recently took the Jimenez brothers; Filiberto, Joey, and George got together and decided to give their mom, Tony, a fishing trip for her birthday. It was a well-kept secret till the morning she came onboard my boat. From the excitement she displayed at that early and dark morning hour you would have sworn she had won the lottery with all her yelling and ear-to-ear smiles. They made it a point that neither one of them had much prior fishing experience.
Our first spot was very kind to us and those novice anglers were yelling with joy as they had never caught so many fish in their lives. An hour and a half into the trip, Tony (mom) was already letting her son's know what she wanted for Mother's Day. During the entire trip I kept barking instructions and giving bits of advice for which they were very appreciative. I must say they were quick to learn and absorbed every word. Tony took my instructions to heart even when she lost her balance and fell over - but still managed to keep her reel above the water as I had instructed to do. When she latched on to that first 26" red on artificial she really let out a yell. Everybody on the water that day and even in the nearby counties knew she was excited about a great day of fishing!
The joy of being part of their first-time experience, sharing precious moments and making memories that will last their whole life and that they will cherish for years to come made it all worthwhile as I took a step back and enjoyed what was taking place. On that trip everyone learned, caught fish, and had a great time, including me.
These words kept ringing in my head, "Man, it's great to enjoy the great outdoors while you can." Here's wishing a Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there - fishing and non-fishing - I hope you enjoy your special day.