The View: March 2015

The View: March 2015
Water is a powerful thing. Just ask anglers who have had to fight lack of water for most of the past two months. When water levels are below normal it eliminates back lakes and shallow reefs and flats; and, if the wind is blowing, it eliminates the middle of the bay where most often the deepest water is found. It is tough to find fish when only 25 percent of fertile fishing grounds are available.

The good news is better tides arrive this month, along with sunshine and excited Spring Breakers.

Some March mornings I have fished for hours with a charter and caught only a handful of undersized redfish. Knowing I was fighting the bottom end of the outgoing tide all morning, but hoping bigger fish would show with a rush of water covering the reefs, I keep plugging. Then, magically, the fish appear. We catch enough, then play catch-and-release. Patience is definitely a virtue in March.

As is often the case this time of year, the prevailing incoming tide is the strongest in the afternoon. Hence, many captains wait until the afternoon to make a wade. There's no sense in fighting it–the fish are going to show with new water flowing on the flats. So we get a few more winks, eat a little breakfast, read the paper and get to the dock around lunch.

Tides are a key variable but winds are just as important.

Winds from the north drop tides and put us in redfish mode. Back lakes dumping water also dump redfish. I have had some mornings when my charter makes six casts from the boat and catch six redfish.

For waders, we like to work the guts in West Bay for reds. Rarely, when tides are low enough to expose sand bars, have we not been able to find redfish stacked in thigh-deep water. By stacked I mean every cast.

We are excited about all the freshwater we received this winter from floods. We know freshwater helps our crabs, oysters, shad, shrimp, mullet and vitality of our bays.

This spring we hope the water gets the glass minnows going. March is a bit early for glass minnows, but with warm weather the first trickles of these bay anchovies might show at the end of the month.

Mid-bay reefs in East Matagorda Bay will be our target area for trout when the wind allows. You hear, "deep shell, deep shell" in just about every report you read. Well, there's a reason–the bounty of trout are hanging on deep shell. We will tempt them with Bass Assassins; and, when fishing prowess dictates, live shrimp.

Pier anglers along the beachfront and stationed close to the ICW find the spring black drum run. Cracked blue crabs are the prized bait, with fresh table shrimp a close second.

The sun is shining and ardent tides are swelling the back lakes. Time to get a little more color on that white skin.