Arid Easter has bays ahead of schedule

Water temperatures reached 77 degrees in East Matagorda Bay late this week. Trout continue to be consistent while drifting shell humps.

Glass minnows are showing on grassy shorelines, turkeys are gobbling, speckled trout are eating topwaters, waders are wading wet, full plumage blue-winged teal are buzzing shallow ditches of fresh rainwater and bright bluebonnets are bristling in the spring blusters.

It must be Easter.

Not really.

Weather this warm, this early in spring is an anomaly.

"This has been the warmest I have seen the water temperature in a long time," said veteran guide Mike Williams of Galveston. "We caught good numbers of ling last weekend around Bolivar, so that tells you how warm it is."

Dust off the old picture albums and look at the style of clothes your family was wearing in Easter pictures of the past. I saw long sleeves in some, bright flowery dresses in others and red-cheeked smiles in others from late-spring cold fronts.

As far as Easter 2012, I think short sleeves are here to stay.

"Big trout are showing along the jetty," said guide Mike Cacciotti of Galveston. "Jacks, Spanish mackerel, bull redfish, sheepshead and black drum are there, too. Water temperatures have been in the 70s for weeks."

In Matagorda and Port O'Connor, water temperatures have been 75 degrees or better for the past week, allowing wadefishers to ditch the waders.

As is often the case in April, opportune currents occur in the afternoon hours as ardent tides usher in the spring's new crop of glass minnows. Diving brown pelicans point the way to acres and acres of bay anchovies.

"It has started and will only get better," said guide Lynn Smith of Port O'Connor. "Trout have been averaging 18-20 inches, but we have had some over 26 inches."

When working the minnows, don't be surprised to see trout or redfish blow up bait literally right beside you. Balls of minnows bunch tight and hungry fish get a running start and blow through the mass like a Friday night high school football team running through an end zone sign.

Standing completely still, I have had redfish swim between my legs and bump my shins. I have tossed a topwater 10 feet and watch it get hammered, then dance as the fish swims at me and I try to keep the brute from putting a treble hook in my leg.

Another sign of abnormally warm weather occurred in East Matagorda Bay last week.

Guide Bill Pustejovsky saw something floating in the water that attracted his attention. He idled his boat close and, to his amazement, found a tripletail floating on its side.

He grabbed a rod rigged with a cork and Gulp and flipped it to the fish. The eight-pounder instinctively struck and ran under the boat along the shallow shell and frayed the line.

"I have heard of tripletail in the bay in March but have never seen them," said Pustejovsky. "And, we rarely see them in East Bay. It might be an indicator of how early they show in West Bay this year."

The same could be said of all saline species this spring.

Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain. His email is binkgrimes@sbcglobal.net.