The month of January is not in the fishing photos circulated by the Bay City or Matagorda chambers of commerce. Few make plans months in advance to pick a date in January, but those few who do know there could be one bite on a shoreline that changes their fishing life forever.
That’s not really big news for those in the know, though – hardcore anglers from all up and down the coast know how many big trout live in East Bay. Pictures on social media confirm it; and, it doesn’t have to be January to do it, but the back side of a cold front can be great for a solitary wader.
What else are you going to do in January if you don’t fish or hunt ducks? Deer season ends the first weekend unless you’re on an MLD managed property, and after that the long and dreary January/February winter begins. It is depressing sometimes just sitting at home on windblown, gray days. But I’m an optimist.
There are actually more good days than bad; and, January in Matagorda can be just like November and December if the weather cooperates. Of course, the waders love January. Hard to beat a slow-sinking Corky, MirrOdine or the new Lele. Choose your color – all the new shades are making waves.
I like to work near deep water, and our deep water is in the ditch or, properly termed, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Reefs adjacent to deep channels give you the best chance for gator trout. When the cold blows across the region, fish ease into the warmer, deep channel. When the sun warms a day or two later, those big fish gingerly loaf up onto the shell and mud flats looking for one big meal.
Not everyone is a big trout hunter. It’s exhausting at times and can be frustrating even in the best of times. Some just want a good bite and stern pull on the rod.
For that guy, we like to drift over the same shell we drift all year long. The cool thing is that same guy has a pretty good chance of catching the biggest trout of his lifetime on a Bass Assassin, Down South Lure, Hogie Super Shad or Norton Bull Minnow.
Mind you, they don’t bite everyday – cold water temps and high atmospheric pressure cure that – however, there is always a chance of a solid winter Matagorda bite.
Tides are normally at least a foot to two feet below normal this time of year so redfish are targeted in deeper sloughs and bayous. When the water really gets blown out there are some spots that hold redfish at the mouths of draining lakes. I won’t divulge names of these locales for fear of the wrath of many of my guides, but there are multiple spots that save a day with temperatures in the 30s and winds gusting at 25 knots from the north.
Since many of my fishing clients hunt ducks with me as well, I like to use the weather to my advantage and hunt the bad weather days and fish the chilly, calm days after a passing front. That doesn’t always work out, but we always try to be honest with hunters/anglers and stack the best odds in our favor.
Lest we forget we are in search of wild animals, and wild animals don’t always follow your winter plan.Follow our charters and hunts on Instagram and Facebook daily.