A new year means new opportunities for anglers
The first month of the year is one of the coldest and offers phenomenal options for landing stringers of fish, but anglers have to pick and choose when and where they exert their efforts to be successful during the heart of winter.
Anglers along the upper Texas coast have a year’s worth of opportunities. There’s a variety of options to choose from, and each one ends with bent rods, plenty of outstanding catches and a lifetime’s worth of memories.
TUGS ALONG THE GRANITE
The jetties are an excellent area for anglers to target a plethora of species. Right now, folks can expect to find plenty of sheepshead lurking along the granite. These striped fish provide a sporting fight as well as tasty fillets, and they’ll be piled up along the rocks through March as they reach their peak spawning season.
For the remainder of the winter months, anglers also can plan to find schools of sand trout along the depths in and around jetty systems. These fish make exceptional table fare when they are cooked fresh.
Black drum will begin to swarm around the jetties as springtime approaches. This occurrence often is known as the black drum run and typically peaks during their spawning period about late March to early April.
Speckled trout action will become more consistent along the granite as things begin to warm up during the spring, while redfish are a possibility for those targeting the rocks all year long.
Although they receive little attention in the spring compared with the fall, flounder are definitely something that anglers should have on their radar in the near future. As winter transitions into spring, flatfish will begin entering upper coast bays from the Gulf. By mid- to late-March, the majority of them will have returned to the back lakes and marsh drains they call home. If you like targeting flounder during the fall, then you’ll love pursuing them during the spring.
WADING FOR TROPHY TROUT
Wade fishing is a stealthy shallow-water approach that helps many anglers successfully land their personal best speckled trout each year. This is the reason more and more folks are willing to get out of a perfectly good boat just to stand in the water holding a fishing rod.
Some of the best wade fishing of the year for trophy specks will last until temperatures become hot again. Along the upper coast, protected shorelines from East Matagorda Bay to Sabine Lake will provide some intense action for those willing to stuff warm clothes into a pair of waders and test their skills.
Some of the most predominant structures along the bottom of Galveston Bay, as well as other upper coast estuaries, are live oyster shell reefs. These mounds of substrate account for acres and acres of prime fishing hotspots that attract a long list of species all year long.
Anglers should make a point to learn more about the reefs they already are familiar with, and to discover as many new reefs as they can. This will increase their success along the upper coast, no matter what month of the year it is.
MARSHES AND BACK LAKES
Marshes and back lakes provide anglers with out-of-the-wind options that can be downright remarkable.
Redfish can be found in these areas almost year-round, but speckled trout, flounder and black drum also feed in these shallow, remote areas. The more familiar anglers become with protected backwaters, the more options they will have for successfully finding fish during ever-changing conditions with varying wind directions.
Galveston Bay and other regions of the upper coast are covered with bulkheads, piers, pilings, wellheads and other man-made structures. All of these create a break in tidal currents, providing predatory fish with prime areas to ambush their prey.
Anglers can take advantage of this fact by choosing to target these types of structures during periods with moderate to strong tidal movement. The fish usually are found concentrating on the down current sides of structures, where eddies occur.
A new year means it’s time for a clean slate and new goals. Make an effort to fish a variety of areas during this trip around the sun, while employing a variety of tactics. Learn as much as you can, and more importantly, have fun.