Spring bite ideal in high temps, low wind
April 13, 2014 at 11:03 p.m.
Updated April 12, 2014 at 11:13 p.m.
If you like hard-boiled eggs, bluebonnets, pollen, Peeps, plastic grass, sunrise services and Easter bonnets, April is your month.
If you like rising tides, redfish in the back lakes, glass minnows, jetty fishing, trout over deep shell and topwater explosions, April is also your month.
Trees are blossoming, water temperatures are rising, and bait is active - winter is history.
Spring equinox tides invigorate the shallows and back lakes, so every spot in the bay is a player. With warmer temperatures come the propensities for specks to eat surface-running topwaters, a favorite of many pluggers. As finger mullet show on shorelines en masse, look for the topwater bite to get even better. When running a charter, I like throwing a topwater while my clients fish shrimp under a popping cork. The noisy plug rarely is turned down by a big red or heavy trout, even if the fish don't decide to eat it. A fish's wake and follow-up of the bait tells me there are fish in the area.
Longer days and swelling incoming tides prompt glass minnows (bay anchovies) to move on grassy shorelines. Look for gaggles of diving brown pelicans to point the way.
"The minnows usually show in West Matagorda Bay, Espiritu Santo Bay and San Antonio Bay in the afternoon," said guide Lynn Smith. "Incoming tides over sand and grass is usually the best time."
Glow, pearl or clear soft plastics most resemble a glass minnow. Darting baits like TTF Hackberry Hustler, Gamblers, Tidal Surges and Bass Assassins are good choices, while swimming baits like TTF Flats Minnows, Norton Bull Minnows, Bass Assassins Sea Shad and Hogies are rock solid as well. A good starting place would be Cotton's Bayou, Middle Grounds, Green's Bayou or the Pipeline.
As tides bloat, knee- and thigh-deep shorelines in East Matagorda Bay inhabit large specks. Brown Cedar Flats, Half-Moon Reef and Catch-All Basin are big trout havens. Corkies, MirrOlures, soft plastics on flutter hooks and topwaters are all players.
Never discount deep shell and mud. Trout use it year-round, and miles of scattered toeheads of shell can be slowly drifted with soft plastics, topwaters or live shrimp under a popping cork.
The warming trend of spring wakes up the jetty. Large black drum and sheepshead have been roaming the rocks for the past month. Throw in a thermometer in the mid-70s and trout, Spanish mackerel and jack crevalle become players.
Galveston Bay anglers have enjoyed excellent topwater action on the East Bay shorelines. Drifters have worked slicks over deep reefs in East and Trinity bays with solid results.
Along the beachfront, bull redfish have been found regularly in 30 feet of water, and the first sign of nearshore sharks have shown on the end of rods.
Redfish action is usually best in the marshes and back lakes. Higher tides prompt reds to search the reaches of the lakes and marshes for small finfish and crabs. The same holds true for the reefs, because live shrimp are potent on reds and black drum.
This week, guide Lee Warmke caught a 9-pound, 14-ounce speck in East Matagorda that was a hair short of 31 inches. Expect more large trout to show in the coming days with warmer weather and lighter winds.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed fishing guide (www.matagordasunriselodge.com).