Winter or warmup? Only Punxsutawney Phil knows

Feb. 2, 2014 at 11:04 p.m.
Updated Feb. 1, 2014 at 8:02 p.m.

Wading in Baffin Bay has been profitable for solid fish, including this one caught by guide Jamie Pinter.

Wading in Baffin Bay has been profitable for solid fish, including this one caught by guide Jamie Pinter.

What was chance of Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow Sunday at Gobbler's Knob?

He did, but I was hoping for cloudy skies in Pennsylvania and for winter to take a hike.

Dreary, gray February chill is not what most salts consider good fishing weather. Then again, most anglers don't fish until the water warms to 72 degrees and suntan lotion is needed.

Nevertheless, if we only fished when the weather was good, that would leave us eight months of sitting at home in a state of depression.

Drifters in East Matagorda Bay have scored as well when the wind allows. Deep shell and mud has been the ticket.

"There have been solid trout in the middle of the bay," said guide Charlie Paradoski. "They have bit good with sunshine and a barometer under 30."

Paradoski said wading has produced fish as well, just not as consistent as drifting.

"We have been starting out the mornings with a wade, trying to get a big fish, but the numbers have been better while making long drifts," he said.

With duck season closed for another year, many big trout chasers who double as duck guides are beginning to hit the water again. Guide Guy Stansel of Hackberry Rod and Gun said he found good fish while wading soft mud near the ship channel. The new MirrOure Soft-Dine has been getting hit hard.

"Pink and the chicken color has been best lately. It has been best in the afternoons with an incoming tide," said Stansel.

All reports from Baffin Bay appear solid. The recent cold front knocked down water temperatures a bit, but this weekend's warmup should get large trout back in wadable water.

The King Ranch shoreline and spoil islands near dropoffs have held many fish on Corkies, MirrOlures and soft plastics rigged on light jig heads. Most fish have been on a grass and mud mixture.

If cold weather returns, expect redfish to fill the void.

"The tides have been really low after the fronts," said guide Michael Rolf, of Matagorda. "That just makes it easier to find reds in the guts and holes."

Rolf said the mouths of lakes have been the hotspots lately with live shrimp.

"The bigger redfish are way back in far reaches of those lakes," he said. "When the water pours out so much the lakes are a flat of mud, those big redfish come out, and we have been catching them."

The same pattern has held in Port O'Connor and the Galveston Bay complex. Holes along the Victoria Barge Canal near Seadrift and the Flood Gates in Moses Lake have been steady on natural baits.

Black drum have been steady on just about any piece of shell near channels. Live shrimp under a popping cork has taken limits drum in Bastrop, Trinity and West Matagorda bays.

Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain (



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