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Be patient with spring fishing

April 16, 2011 at 3 p.m.
Updated April 15, 2011 at 11:16 p.m.

Spring fishing has its ups and downs, but the right bait and location bends a rod.

My starched Texas flag has been taking a beating for a month from sustained 20-knot winds. The same could be said for Texas bays, raked and rolled by the same ardent spring gales.

However, things got better this week. Winds subsided to a more manageable 10-15 knots, giving anglers at least a fighting chance to find fishable water.

Higher tides have helped matters as well, giving more room to fish, especially in protected back lakes areas.

"If it wasn't for a few spots I found out of the wind, it would have been really tough the past month," said guide Burl McBride of Oak Island Lodge on Trinity Bay. "Better tides have allowed us to fish these areas."

The same holds true in the Port O'Connor/Seadrift areas. Guide Lynn Smith said back lakes have come to life with more water.

"There were days the tides were so low you couldn't get back there," he said. "Then, the tides switched and began coming in during the day and the fish showed up."

Smith said live shrimp under popping corks have been good for long drifts, but waders have scored with small topwaters like She Pups and Super Spook Jrs.

"You can make long wades in the back lakes and catch both trout and reds when tides are high," said Smith. "Just look for flipping mullet or small minnows."

Calmer days this week allowed anglers a chance at the reefs in San Antonio Bay. Live shrimp under a cork was best for speckled trout and black drum, but waders scored on Corkies, Catch 5s, soft plastics and topwaters.

Sand and grass flats on the south shoreline are beginning to hold large concentrations of glass minnows at high tide, setting up what traditionally proves to be steady action around diving pelicans.

West Matagorda Bay fishers have been awaiting consistent crops of glass minnows on the south shoreline grass beds. Normally best when tides usher water throughout the day, afternoons are usually prime time. So far there have been only scattered reports of glass minnows; but, that could change any day with positive tides in the forecast.

Mid-bay reefs in East Matagorda Bay did not clear to trout-green status this week, but did become fishable after the cool front. Guide Charlie Paradoski used Gulps under a popping cork to take half-limits of trout.

"Rig them on a jig head and pop it hard," said Paradoski. "The fish find them in the off-colored water by the sound and scent."

Lakes off the Intracoastal held redfish this week as tides swelled. Captain Floyd Ciruti caught near limits of redfish on scented baits while working shell. Again, live shrimp was the ticket, but still unreliable at bait camps, so Gulps did the trick.

Pier anglers along the beachfront have had to deal with a churning Gulf of Mexico, but those stationed closer to the Ship Channel have caught the last remnants of the spring black drum run. Cracked blue crabs continue to be the prized bait, with fresh table shrimp a close second.

Fishing is improving. Patience is an angler's best friend.

Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed fishing guide (binkgrimes@sbcglobal.net).

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