WOODS, WINGS & WATER: Rising water temps spring fish to action
There are a few barometers in the saltwater world signifying spring has finally sprung.
We try to rush speckled trout to show on sand and grass, but they find it when the time is right. We try to force feed speckled trout gaudy topwaters when it is still too cold for us to wade wet, but they eat floaters when, and only when, they get ready.
We try to dangle a live shrimp at the jetty before Easter, hoping speckled trout are hanging out, but they don't arrive in force until the water temperature remains above 70 for more than a week.
I have good news: all that we hope for every spring occurred this week up and down the coast. If you need another indicator that winter is really history, sharks showed on the flats in West Matagorda Bay this week.
"We caught our best trout from noon through early afternoon," said guide Charlie Paradoski, of Matagorda. "Best baits were roach Bass Assassins while casting to potholes."
Paradoski said water temperatures were running in the mid 70s, and the presence of minnows, shad and mullet were evident on the incoming tide.
"I had a 6-foot shark try to get my fish, so that's a good indicator that there is and will be a lot of fish in the area," he said.
A few more miles south in Port O'Connor, guide Lynn Smith enjoyed a steady diet of trout over sand and grass on topwaters.
"They (the trout) ate Super Spook Jrs. pretty good," Smith said. "We had fish to 4 pounds and lots of bait on the shorelines."
Other species including redfish, black drum and croakers showed on reefs in San Antonio Bay and Galveston Bay while fishing with live shrimp.
"There was just a lot more bait on the shorelines this week," Smith said. "It was tough to find fish on the grass and sand, but they showed up now."
Jetties from Sabine to Port Aransas caught fire this week with reports of speckled trout showing tight to the granite on live shrimp. The green incoming tide was best.
Most anglers used popping corks rigged 2- to 4-feet deep while others choose free-shrimping with small pinch weights.
"Those fish always show there this time of year on the first green tide," Paradoski said. "If the fish are at the jetties, they are in the surf, too. It's just a matter of time before the gulf cranks up."
If freshwater is your thing, catfish have been flooding the shallow bulkheads on area lakes. Just like the salt, when spring waters warm, the shad hatch commences and gets catfish going. Solid catches were had on Lake Conroe and Lake Livingston this week.
White bass have moved from the rivers and creeks, but the action has picked up on main lake humps and points on slabs and spoons.
"We have been catching limits of whites just about every day," said guide Dave Cox of Palmetto Guide Service on Lake Livingston. "Catfish are everywhere, too, and crappie action is picking up as well."
That should put a little spring in every angler's step.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain (email@example.com).