WOODS, WINGS & WATER: Be patient with spring fishing
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Patience - a trait tough to find these days. We want it now, not a minute later. We text and want an answer in 30 seconds. We email and expect a reply quickly.
As charter captains, if we miss a call and get a voice mail, many times first-time callers have called someone else and booked the trip with the first person who answers.
Today's anglers aren't patient enough to wait at least an hour for a return call, afraid someone else is beating them to the punch.
If you try to run a charter business without a smart phone and/or texting and email options, you might learn firsthand the art of patiently waiting for a phone call.
Winds have blown from every direction the past month, requiring lots of patience to find fish.
Higher tides later this week have helped matters. There are days the tides are so low you can't get a boat back in the shallow sloughs; then the tides switch and begin to swell, and the fish show up like magic.
That takes lots of patience.
Live shrimp under popping corks is a great pattern for long drifts, but waders score with small topwaters like She Pups and Super Spook Jrs.
When we have had a calm day, anglers have had a chance at the reefs on the north shoreline of West Matagorda Bay. Live shrimp has been the ticket.
For three weeks, we have patiently waited for mid-bay reefs in East Matagorda Bay to become fishable. Guess what? Late this week, the south wind returned, winds were light, and the fish were there.
Bass Assassins' version of Opening Night, Chicken on a Chain and Space Guppy were great when the water cleared, while Morning Glory, Plum and 10W-40 have been best in stained water.
On Galveston Bay, weak tides this weak made for a grind to find solid catches. However, fishing picked up later in the week with better tides, and limits were found in 4 to 5 feet of water. For live-baiters, large Gulf trout showed along the channel.
Lakes off the Intracoastal have held redfish with higher tides. The mouths of these sloughs and channels are also potent on falling tides that empty the lakes. Live shrimp is always a good barometer, but Gulps are normally just as compelling when you can't find the real thing.
Never discount a public pier along the beachfront as warming tides awaken croakers, sand trout, black drum, redfish and flounder staging in the channels.
March is the month oversized black drum roam the highways leading to the gulf. Cracked blue crabs are the prized bait, with fresh table shrimp a close second. Remember, black drum more than 30 inches are catch-and-release only, but that doesn't discount the brawn it takes to winch a big, black ugly to hand.
With afternoon highs in the 80s this week, beach water temps inched to the upper 60s near Freeport and Port Aransas.
Be patient. The magic 70-degree mark is a few days away.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain (firstname.lastname@example.org).