We made it. Put a smile on your face and adjust your attitude; 2021 is going to be a good one!
It may take you leaving your fishing comfort zone, but winter fishing can be very productive. Look for bait. It will probably be scarce, as frigid waters turn baitfish lethargic. However, if you see even one mullet flip, give the area a chance. Sometimes all you see are a handful of mullet all day. That's okay. Trout don’t need a whole lot of mullet this time of year – they may only eat a few times a week.
Trout and redfish are readily available in guts and bayous up and down the coast. Some of the lowest tides of the year occur during the next 30 days, so you can eliminate lots of water. Concentrate on the areas that fall from waist to chest deep during the summer – those same areas are probably shin to waist deep now.
We normally don't worry about getting an early start. We make long drifts and catch most of our fish beginning around late-morning. When the sun comes out it seems like the fish bite better.
One day specks will want Chicken on a Chain Bass Assassins and Down South Lures. The next day they want plum. One day they want Pumpkinseed/Chartreuse and the next they want Morning Glory or Opening Night. Savvy anglers figure it out.
Find points of sloughs and bayous and anchor within casting distance. These points normally hold the deepest water as outgoing and incoming tidal flows create depressions in the bay floor. Sand trout are another winter option that requires minimal skills. Channels and bayous with ardent tidal flow to and from the Gulf holds plenty of sandies. Carolina-rigged fresh dead shrimp and squid get plenty of pulls.
Winter’s low tides reveal reefs, flats, and other structures you never knew were there. Take advantage of the free look and mark all of these fish magnets on your GPS, then hit 'em again when tides return later during spring.
As charter boat captains, we often see boats pulling next to ours on drifts with heads down, marking points on their GPS. Use that same pattern with oyster boats and mark their spots and come back and fish that valuable structure when the boats are gone. Those oyster boats dredging in the middle of the bay have a story to tell. The captains are not dragging blind - they are using years and years of established coordinates.
Eventually we will get our strong tides back in the spring. Remember those drop-offs on the edges of reefs and be ready to toss a Texas Custom Corky and MirrOlure Soft Dine when the opportunity presents itself. Log all that you see on cold winter days in the part of your brain that processes fishing information and be ready to capitalize when the time is right.
A successful day is not always measured by what hangs on your stringer. Some of the most profitable days in my fishing career came on days when catching was tough; I searched for answers that made life easier the next time the conditions were not so conducive.
Let’s get 2021 going in the right direction. Happiness is a choice. God remains on his throne. We are blessed to live in Texas. God Bless America!
January’s Low Tides Concentrate Matagorda Trout & Redfish