You typically do not get scarlet earlobes and numb extremities in what I call good fishing weather. Nevertheless, if you plan to fish in January, expect a cold boat ride and icy fingers and toes. It gets cold, but the colder it gets the more water that is blown out of the bay; and, the lower the tides the better for catching redfish.
It takes an ardent angler to brave the frigid winds of winter and makes the hour-long boat ride to the friendly confines of the western reaches of West Matagorda Bay. Work all the deep guts in proven locales like Cottons Bayou, Middle Grounds and Greens Bayou.
Nine times out of ten, the redfish are there. You may have to park a long way away and walk across the sand to get to them, but when you get there it is usually easy limits.
During low winter tides, the bars are exposed and so are the guts; reds get landlocked until the tides rise and your favorite soft plastic work great. My choices in January are Chicken on a Chain or Opening Night Bass Assassin Sea Shads when the water gets really clear.
When cold winds blow, most opt for the short ride to the Colorado River, and the leeward cover it provides. It is not the most glamorous fishing around, but neither is hours on the couch watching way too many footballs games. Some days they bite, some days they dont just like any fishing trip. It is a slow, methodical approach in the cold, but there are some solid speckled trout to be caught on the dropoff. When it is bone-chilling cold, we put rods in the holders and troll down the middle until a rod bends. If a fish hits we mark the spot, circle back around and troll through them again.
Of course, January is not always frigid around here, so when the sun warms in the afternoon, I like drifting all the favorite deep shell spots in East Bay. Last January was phenomenal in East Bay, with most fish coming on Bass Assassins, MirrOlures and Corkys. The water was so clear at times we saw every piece of shell in five feet of water. That's too clear sometimes, so we went to natural colors like Opening Night, Glow and Violet Moon. I am anxious to throw the new Lil' Tapper Bass Assassin this year. Results from the fall were good.
Never dismiss the night. Piers along the river turn on lights at night to draw mullet, shad and shrimp. Often, some of the largest trout of the year are caught on the coldest nights.
Corkys, MirrOlures, ED Lures, MirrOdines and glow plastics worked gingerly through the water column excite lethargic fish.
If you dont have access to a pier, set up lights along the bank of the Diversion Channel and go to work. Time does not allow me to do it as much as I once did, but I can sure show you some impressive pictures of winters past when the wind was blowing the bay out but the water remained clear in the Diversion Channel and Colorado River.
Most of my fishing trips will be afternoon affairs after duck, goose and sandhill crane hunts. It goes without saying a pair of waders, a slow-sinking bait and patient casting could coax the heaviest trout of your life in East Bay.
You don't hear tales of big East Matagorda Bay trout on the shorelines like years past. That's not because they are not there, rather, fewer pluggers are taking the time and persistence to chase them. Trust me, big trout still live here.