WOODS, WINGS & WATER: Warmer temperatures have fish eating on surface
The feel of a sensitive piece of graphite as an angry speckled trout crushes a topwater is a normal occurrence once spring rolls around. We plugging aficionados try to rush winter, consistently checking water temperatures during periods of mild weather with hopes of at least a few days of readings in the 60s.
Rarely do water temperatures climb to these levels in February, but this week was different, thanks to nighttime lows in the upper 50s to lower 60s and highs in the 70s.
Trout blew up topwaters!
"I caught my first six trout of the day on topwaters," said Palacios guide Ray Sexton. "Conditions were perfect, and I just had to try it."
Sexton said warmer tides pushed more finger mullet on the shorelines, giving a 5-inch floating plastic mullet a better chance to dance.
"A couple of times I tossed the plug out, turned around to talk to my buddy and had the fish hit it while it was sitting still," Sexton said.
Waders in Galveston Bay have enjoyed similar results, according to guide James Plaag, of Silver King Adventures.
"We have had a fair topwater bite lately, mainly on black/silver Top Dogs," said Plaag. "Most of our fish have come on Bass Assassins fished on flutter heads."
Plaag said afternoon wades have proved best on shorelines with the presence of mullet. As is often the case during winter, one flipping mullet can point anglers to the fish.
"It gets like this every year. You fish all day for a few bites, then the fish go crazy as the sun goes down," he said.
Matagorda's Lee Warmke echoes those afternoon sentiments, choosing to leave the dock no earlier than noon.
"The fish have been right on top of the shell," said Warmke. "We have been wading the afternoons in search of big girls."
Warmke found one a little more than 21/2-feet long last week while wading East Matagorda Bay. The fish measured just under 31 inches and was quickly photographed and released after extracting the Corky Fat Boy from its mouth.
"We have been on some big ones the past month; it has been a good winter," he said.
Port O'Connor and Seadrift have had their fair share of heavy trout showing lately. Guide Chris Martin, of Bay Flats Lodge, said his guides have caught trout up to 26 inches long over soft mud on Texas Tackle Factory plastics.
"Trout have been good lately with warmer temperatures and so have the redfish," said Martin.
Guide Lynn Smith said trout up to 28 inches long have been showing at the jetty this week, and trout have hit topwaters regularly over grass and mud.
"If you find the mullet, you will find the trout," he said.
Water temperatures in Port O'Connor reached 69 degrees this week; with more warmer than normal afternoons in the forecast, the spring pattern should hold.
I can promise you I will be tossing a topwater.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.