The View: January 2014

The View: January 2014
"Nobody fishes in January, much less catches anything, right? That's why they schedule the boat shows because fishing is so bad."

That, my friends, is perhaps the grandest misconception associated with coastal fishing!

While January can be bitter and blown at times, those days following a front when the water warms and winds calm can be awesome.

Goose hunters look forward to January days before fronts when the dew point meets the thermometer at somewhere in the 60s, and thick fog sets in over the marsh and coastal prairies. Those same days are a boon on the bays as well. Ask any seasoned angler who targets big specks how good a foggy day on a shoreline can be with a Corky or MirrOlure. It's the stuff you think about awake in bed, and end up dreaming about.

Expect to deal with low tides and use them to your advantage. Sometimes waters are so low it is tough to find water to float duck decoys. So where do fish go when the wind continues to blow 20 from the north and reefs are sticking three feet above the surface?

Head to deep bayou or a drain. Everything in those back lakes has to come through there when the tides fall. Many times the fish are still pretty warm even though the water is chilly. That means most of the fish are lying deep on bottom somewhere, in the mud.

Tides this low are not always a negative. Bars and reefs that normally hold fish are exposed, most out of the water long gone, a perfect time to take a boat ride and mark these fish magnets. I find reefs and guts I didn't know were there every winter and use those spots in the spring when tides swell.

There are some guts I wade in January that are over my head during the summer. Keep all that info logged in the old coconut and use it when tides fall to winter or summer lows. Pay attention to the spots that have water now when everything else is dry and mark it for the next cold front.

In East Matagorda Bay we will be drifting some days and working the same deep shell we work all year. Our deep shell at high tide is about six feet deep, but with winter tides it sometimes plays at about four feet. Water gets so clear you can see the clumps of shell on a calm day. It gets almost too clear at times, so we switch to clear baits like Opening Night Bass Assassins and make long casts. It's hard to get a cold fish to bite in clear water close to the boat. If you are tall enough, you can actually wade chest-deep on some parts of the shell when the water is really blown out.

Most of our trout hang close to the Intracoastal on a cold January and move back and forth from the shallows to the deep according to the thermometer and barometer. With that being said, the north shoreline is the closest intercept point. Waders who want a good shot at a big speck on a moving tide should find a piece of shell from Boggy Cut all the way east to Bird Island and camp out with their favorite mullet-imitation. Be patient.

Nobody catches fish in January, right?