Anglers see first signs of spring
Feb. 11, 2018 at 9:57 p.m.
Updated Feb. 12, 2018 at 6:01 a.m.
Winter rarely puts a kink in Matagorda fishing.
It's amazing how our bay complex keeps producing solid catches, even when the book says, "Today, you are not supposed to catch them."
It's a testament to conservation, respect for the resource and the power of freshwater we have enjoyed during the past four wet years.
Though winter does not officially exit the calendar until March 20, green buds on branches and other flora indicate warm weather is on the way.
That's great news for spring-breakers trying to add a little color to their skin and even better for anglers as warm water from Equinox tides pump fresh recruits to barren back lakes and reefs that have been exposed all winter.
Warm, swelling tides give every inch of our estuaries new life, thereby multiplying options for bending a rod.
Make no mistake, we expect to catch some heavy trout this month through March. You would be surprised how many big trout we release in East Matagorda Bay while jigging soft plastics out of the boat. That also applies during the summer months when we are drifting with live shrimp.
We love chasing speckled trout and redfish along the deep shell and mud of East Bay. January and February were stellar for drifting with Chicken on a Chain, plum and Magic Grass Bass Assassins and Down South Lures. March should be even better.
We never discount West Matagorda Bay this time of year. Trout hang on the edges of the guts and sloughs, and we gingerly wade this area with Bass Assassins, Down South Lures, Corkies and Soft-Dines. West Bay's grass shorelines hold fishable water when spring blusters blow. And, depending on how mild Marchbecomes, the first signs of glass minnows could show around spring break.
March normally gets the redfish bite going everywhere. Spots like Lake Austin, Oyster Lake, Crab Lake and Boggy are great hideouts. Make long drifts with live shrimp under a popping cork or anchor on reefs. The cool thing is still catching fish when the wind blows hard.
There will still be a cold front or two in March, so revert back to winter patterns when the north wind blows out tides. Move to the mouths of the lakes. The water and bait will be pouring out of the back lakes, and the fish ride with the tide and bait. Camp out and wait for the redfish to come through.
Redfish are not the only drum in abundance. Juvenile black drum, the eating kind, frequent reefs in West Matagorda Bay. Twin Islands, Shell Island and Oyster Lake are all proven drum haunts in March. Live shrimp under a popping cork is the best bet.
Over size black drum, those over 30 inches, are the spawners and are only catch-and-release, but that doesn't mean they are any less fun to catch. Big black bruisers frequent the channels, rivers and jetties leading to the Gulf, and a cracked blue crab is the most popular offering.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer. Follow his reports on Facebook and Instagram.