What a blessing it has been to fish Matagorda in 2016. The power of freshwater is real we have enjoyed some of the best fishing in over a decade due to the rains of 2015-16. Our fall fishing has been like the "good ol' days" with birds working in East and West bays and the Diversion Channel.
The shell in Matagorda is full of fish and our trout really began to eat lures a lot better beginning in October and that pattern only improves in December. MirrOlure Soft-Dines, topwaters, Bass Assassins, Down South Lures and Lil' Johns are our go-tos.
I can remember a few Decembers where birds still worked along the east end of East Matagorda Bay and I believe that will be the case this year as well. However, by late mid-to-late December most of the white shrimp crop have left the bays and speckled trout adapt their diet to finfish. That's when slow-sinking mullet imitation plugs like Corkys go to work. If you see a mullet flipping, fish it. If the water is cold, the mullet become less active like the fish, so work your baits slow and methodical.
Locales receiving the most tidal flow often hold the majority of schools - that means reefs and mud flats adjacent to the Intracoastal in East Bay. Brown Cedar Flats, Chinquapin Reefs, Bird Island, Half-Moon Reef and the Log are all proven winter spots holding healthy specks.
Drifting is also an option, especially with the height of the low-tide winter solstice occurring in December. East Bay is often 2-3 feet below normal in December, depending how hard the north wind blows. Raymond Shoals, Boiler Bayou, Pipeline Reef and Cleveland Reef hold good fish during the winter; and, when tides are extremely low, shoreline redfish move off the flats to these reefs in the middle of the bay.
When the wind really blows, never discount the Colorado River. Low tides in West Bay drain the delta at the mouth of the Diversion Channel and funnel all fish to the deep channel. Anglers drift across the channel with Chicken on a Chain, plum, morning glory and glow plastics. Nighttime is even better under lighted piers as fish seek the warm solace of the deep river.
We will still be running cast and blast trips for ducks/geese in the morning and drifting for trout and redfish in the afternoons.
Around this time of year, I normally write a Christmas gifts column in various publications to help spouses buy for their angler. So here are a few ideas:
-A new reel is always good; the new Lew's are great. Let your budget dictate.
-A light, sensitive piece of graphite to compliment the reel is even better; I use a Waterloo Ultra Mag, but the HP Lite and Salinity models are great choices as well.
-A pile of soft plastics stuffed in a stocking with fluorocarbon leader material and dozens of new jigheads is a thought, not to mention a load of Skitter Walks, Super Spooks, Top Dogs, Corkys and MirrOlures.
-A pair of breathable waders, boots, wading net or even a gift certificate for a guided fishing trip would look good under the tree. I'll probably tear open a pile of Johnny's Sport Shop gift certificates like I do every year. It still puts a smile on my face.