WOODS, WINGS & WATER: Weekend weather conducive for catching
So you haven't wet a line in 2013? Join the crowd - literally. Most anglers will fish for the first time this year during the three-day Memorial Day weekend. And chances are, with chamber of commerce weather forecasted, there will be a crowd.
That's welcomed news for salty communities up and down the coast that rely so heavily on recreation dollars generated by sand, sea and salt, especially after an abnormally cold spring.
After a week of stiff south, southeast winds that sent most anglers reeling to a protected shoreline, winds subsided this week, and waters greened.
Lots of fish were caught.
On Wednesday, my boat took easy limits of speckled trout, including two 28-inchers, a 26-incher and a 25-incher that were released. Those tossing live shrimp also caught heavy sand trout and croaker, a bonus for the grease.
Waders in Matagorda and Port O'Connor saw the live bait bite finally get going as specks seemed to settle in to a summer pattern. The same held true for Rockport and Port Aransas.
"We have been catching some solid fish on the flats on topwaters and soft plastics," said guide Lynn Smith, of Port O'Connor. "Big redfish have been found in the back lakes."
Smith said limits of reds were found in the lakes despite off-colored water.
"There was so much bait in the lakes, it had the water stirred up," he said. "I have never seen that much bait from one shoreline to the other. Of course, the reds were in there with the bait, so water color didn't matter."
Johnny Valentino of Eagle Point Bait Camp said Galveston Bay trout finally found their groove this week.
"The fish are finally eating croakers," said Valentino. "This week, the fishing really changed for the better."
The same holds trout for the sister lakes of Sabine and Calcasieu. Light winds allowed boats to get back out on the deep shell in 5-7 feet of water, where large trout have been hanging.
"We have caught some good fish drifting with plastics and topwaters," said guide Kirk Stansel of Hackberry Rod and Gun. "The jetty bite has been good on live shrimp for both trout and redfish."
Sabine Lake has held solid trout under diving gulls lately, and green water creeping through the jetty has jump-started that pattern as well.
On the freshwater scene, white bass are schooling under birds on Lake Livingston, Richland Chambers and Toledo Bend. Crappie action has been solid on minnows fished in 10-12 feet of water on Livingston, Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend.
Memorial Day weekend is shaping up to be a good one. With so many people enjoying the water this weekend, it is important to remain level-headed, think safety and pack an extra dose of patience in your pocket.
You deserve a holiday.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain (email@example.com).