What an awesome start to the year it has been, at least from an angler’s standpoint!
Throughout the bays, shallow grass and sand flats are teeming with life. Schools of glass minnows, pinfish, bull minnows and mullet provide forage for speckled trout and redfish. On sunny days, I typically pole the shallows in search of redfish cruising the shorelines or laid up in potholes. Sometimes the fish are fairly relaxed and, at other times, they can challenge even the most well-honed skill sets. Take your time when approaching the fish and set up in a way that the fish can come to you, if possible. Proper positioning will increase your likelihood of getting a shot at them before they get wise to your presence. The best bite lately has been on soft plastic baits on a light jig. Shad tail style baits and shrimp patterns have worked well.
On cloudy or slightly overcast days, I like to get in the backwater bayous and creeks where speckled trout and redfish tend to stack up during this time of the year. The bayous typically have darker water and will be deeper than the water on the flats. Many bayous feature a mix of sand and mud bottom with oysters scattered here and there. Although trout are subject to catch-and-release only through the end of the month, they are still a lot of fun to catch. Jigs, suspending twitch baits and even some topwater baits have been very effective. As for the redfish that are holding up in deeper water, small gold lipless crankbaits have been absolutely crushing them.
It's getting to be that time of the year when big schools of redfish start working their way up and down the beach just off the shoreline. This can make for an incredible sight fishing experience, considering the clarity of the water and the size of some of the schools. Usually, the fish along the beach are quite aggressive and can be caught on a variety of different live and artificial offerings. Plugs, jigs, spoons and topwaters are staples in the arsenal when targeting redfish in big schools. Many of these fish will be oversized fish so be sure to handle them with care and release them healthy so they can be caught again someday.
Look for catches of sheepshead to start to pick up around the bridges and in the pass around the jetties. They can be a fickle fish to catch in the shallows; however, when they get in deeper water, they tend to chew pretty good. Use live shrimp or fiddler crabs on a light Carolina rig or, if the current is relatively slow, then you can get away with just using a split shot to get the bait down. Of course, the more natural the presentation, the better your odds of success.
If you have questions about what's biting, how to catch them or would like to book a trip of your own, then give me a call or shoot me an email. Tight lines!