by Capt. Craig Lambert
Fishing in February was just fair and as March progressed it got better and better. Now in this first week of April the fishing has been on fire. However, you wont know that unless you are fishing the afternoons because that midday/afternoon bite is where the action is still at. My customers that can't go in the afternoons and have to go in the mornings are catching about half as many fish. Boats going in too early are missing the good bite for sure. WHAT A TROUT!
Live shrimp under a popping cork has been best especially in these high winds we have been experiencing. If you read any of my articles you know how I love the wind and use it to my advantage and the same has been true these last few weeks. 13-18 mph is the ticket for hungry aggressive fish. It amazes me how many people still think calm winds and sunny skies are good fishing conditions. During spring gamefish are not used to seeing calm conditions so the fish are acclimated to taking advantage of the higher winds to create a washing machine effect that allows them to easily catch their smaller pray. If the winds and seas are calm they have to work much harder to chase down that shrimp or pinfish so they are not doing it. Fish are driven to conserve energy so they are going to take advantage of these types of feeding opportunities. 15-20 MPH WINDS EQUALS NON-STOP ACTION!
West bay is slowly coming around with a few good trout around the Causeway Bridge and the many areas of heavy shell along the inter-coastal waterway. Shallow reefs and spoils have been producing both speckled trout and redfish in fair numbers. Lower Galveston Bay is just starting to produce and will continue to get better as we approach May. The amount of rip-rap in that bay system should not be under estimated as a coming up hot spot. Miles of riprap is very beneficial structure for predator fish to feed so keep those baits up close to the rocks and you will definitely score. Most of the shallow lakes and small reefs in West Bay and Lower Galveston seem to be loaded with small redfish, black drum and a few small speckled trout also. Using the wind on higher wind days to cover distance and do long drifts will eventually put you in front of some feeding fish in these back lakes. Areas like Greens Lake, Jones Lake and Swan Lake can produce well when the rest of the bay system is blown out.HARD PULLING AND GOOD EATING!
The north side of the bay has been in good shape and is producing solid trout. 3 ft. leaders under a popping cork is hammering out easy trout limits on most days this past week. I have been fishing dirty ugly water in high winds in 3 to 4 ft of water over heavy shell and hammering out the specks and a few black drum. The redfish and "big uglies" aka oversized black drum have been noticeably absent. I have only had a few "big uglies" this entire spring which is highly unusual. It is basically the same fishing scenario as down south in Galveston. Find shallow areas of heavy shell and the fish are there. Smaller satellite bays are producing best when open areas are blown out.WHAT A SMILE!!
East Bay isn't quite on just yet but it is beginning to shine a bit. Lots of small fish are in and around most of the open water reefs while the bigger fish continue to be shallow. Limetreuse Bass Assassins and Glo/Chart Norton Sand Eel Jr's are my favorite this time of year over the reefs with a 1/4 oz jighead. Popping cork and shrimp will work well also but not needed as much if the water clarity is good. This time of year look for sandy areas to produce the bigger speckled trout along shorelines and in front of bayou mouths. Spawning patterns will begin to dictate big trout movements since roe production is becoming more prevalent in females. Expect East Bay to get really good as May gets closer and those spring winds begin to die.FIRST REDFISH EVER!! TALK ABOUT EXCITED!!
The shrimp are huge right now at the bait camps so keeping the smaller shrimp for specks and the larger shrimp for redfish or black drum is my daily plan. Those huge shrimp are good for nothing but taking home and frying up on the stove when they are super large so I will just tear them in to 2 or 3 pieces and use them in pieces. This actually works better for black drum and redfish since they are able to pick up on that scent easier. I actually do this quite often when targeting redfish and not specks. They love a fresh piece of shrimp that just sits there quietly waiting for them but you would be amazed how many specks will eat a dangling piece of shrimp also. Big Pull!!
Take a kid Fishing!!!