Bay Flats Lodge on San Antonio Bay
By Captain Chris Martin
As we eventually progress into the month of May, we should begin noticing a fishing pattern that changes very little from that of the ending days of April, meaning that the pattern should become somewhat more stabilized and consistent on a daily basis. In allowing my fishing logs to serve as a forecast for the end of April and the beginning of May, I’ll be in search of rewarding trout action while wade fishing tight along the bayside shorelines of Matagorda Island. These shorelines have historically produced some really nice trophy-sized trout for me during the low-light conditions of early morning throughout these warming months of the year. With predominant winds becoming southerly in nature during this period, I’ll begin my initial wade each day close to the grass bank while throwing a small surface walker, one of my favorites of which is a small spook Jr. with chrome and silver colors. I’ll spend the first full hour, or so, of daylight looking for the bite on top in the shallows, but won’t get discouraged if I don’t happen upon any takers simply due to the fact that there are always other alternatives for me to take advantage of. You see, shallow water begins to heat promptly at the first sign of daylight, and with our bay water temperatures already approaching the 80-degree mark, May temperatures will only accelerate the early morning warming process. So, if I’m not successful very early in the day while I’m walking tight along the shore, one alternative I have is to slowly make my way out into deeper water in the surrounding area. This is when I’ll swap my top water bait for that of one of my favored plastic lures – as of late, that would be the pumpkinseed-white/chartreuse Killer Flats Minnow from TTF. I’m finding this particular color choice to be quite productive in both clear and stained water, as it maintains and portrays a good silhouette in low-visibility conditions while also providing an attractive color brilliance that is so often desired from anglers while fishing in trout-green water.
Location, Location, Location
An alternative to fishing the bay side shores for trout is to set your sites on fishing any one of the many available back lake areas for some prized red fish commotion. There are a lot of such lakes – Pringle, Contee, South Pass, Long, Twins, Panther, etc. – in the San Antonio Bay and Port O’Connor regions, but I don’t know that I favor any one of them over the other, as they’re all top notch places for having fun. However, I do know that many summertime anglers enjoy some great red fish action as a result of fishing in just about any one of these areas. Now then, you’ll generally find that there’s a good amount of floating grass in these back country spots, so attempt to setup your efforts along the southern-most shoreline of the lake of your choice in order to help alleviate any issues you might have with regards to tossing hardware amongst the nagging grass – I’ve been known to often throw a weed-less gold spoon in such circumstances. There’s another warm month alternative I often like taking advantage of and that’s the collection of mid-bay reefs located in Espiritu Santo and San Antonio Bays. Reefs like Josephine’s Reef, the smaller Espiritu Santo reefs to the West of Josephine’s, Chicken Foot Reef, Dagger Reef, Big Bird Reef, and Panther Reef have all been recognized as being hot-spots for trout and red fish while wading them during early morning or late evening, or by drift-fishing over them, or nearby them, during the middle part of the day. And, all these reefs are popular summertime areas for anglers wishing to soak a croaker. Just remember that while you’re attempting to locate game fish on these reefs that you should concentrate your investigative efforts upon the points of the reef that happen to be covered by three-to-five feet of water and show you signs of the presence of active or nervous baitfish.
I simply wouldn’t consider it fair to everyone if I failed to mention one final, and often very popular, late springtime choice available to saltwater anglers along the Texas Gulf Coast, and that’s the vast amount of surf waters spanning the entire length of Matagorda Island. The dog-days-of-summer that often produces the dead-calm wind conditions is, without a doubt, the best days to fish the Matagorda surf environment. As you travel down the Gulf shoreline in search of trout, remember to zero-in on feeding birds – Gulls, Terns, and Brown Pelicans. These birds fish for a living, so it only stands to reason that they aren’t sitting in any one particular spot just for the sake of sitting. Next time you’re fortunate enough to catch a calm day in the summer surf, try fishing around the birds…you might just be pleasantly surprised.
Another Texas summer will soon be upon us, and it won’t be long before high temperatures will become something we all will need to pay close attention to on a daily basis. Summer’s searing heat can zap the energy out of you very quickly, so it is imperative for you to remember to hydrate yourself with water in the early morning hours prior to the start of your fishing trip, and also regularly throughout the course of the day while out on the water. Apply, and re-apply, sunscreen to all exposed skin areas, and protect your arms and legs by wearing long-sleeved shirts and full-length pants. Remember to also keep your eye on the sky. Summertime squalls are dangerous storms that can catch even the most experienced boat captain off-guard at times.
Photo notes: Living on the coast has a lot of special moments, but there is price to pay for that. As many of you know, the weather can wear out just about anything, especially the paint on buildings. This is the 3rd time we've painted the lodge in 5-years. Any person who knows my wife Deb, can tell you she keeps the place in tip-top shape.
Photo notes: Congrats to Captain Steve Boldt for taking 1st place in a company 6-boat event. Most all the guides limited out on trout.