Saltwater Fishing Heats Up

Since it’s springtime and there are so many super outdoor happenings available, I’ll offer a potpourri of choices. Any one or more of them would be a good choice.

Before diving into the fishing opportunities, perhaps it is a good idea to issue a warning. Folks that intend to spend time in the outdoors during daylight hours should use sunscreen. Sunscreen should be applied fresh every two or three hours, according to Capt. Kirk Stansel of Hackberry Rod and Gun. It is also a suggestion from his doctor, who just recently removed some skin cancers from his face, to wear a brimmed hat. Most of us choose caps, but a wide brim straw hat is a much better preventive of sun exposure skin cancer of the face, nose and ears. Certainly there are no guarantees, but the sun screen and hat is worth the trouble as deterrentsTo begin with, saltwater fishing has been good and is continuing now. The inland lakes and bays continue to yield speckled trout, redfish and also now some really solid flounder. Speckled trout are now on the move and they become somewhat scattered. By that I mean there might not be large numbers of them as there are whenever they’re schooling. Normally whenever this begins to take place, some really big specks are taken. By locating pods of bait, and there are plenty in the lakes and bays, you will locate the specks.

I contacted four professional saltwater fishing guides to get their opinions about what is productive right now. Capts. Eddie Hernandez, Billy Watkins and Jim West in Texas as well as Capt. Stansel of Hackberry Rod and Gun in Louisiana were all in concert concerning lures and types of locations for their better action.

The more shallow water areas along the shorelines seem to be holding the better speckled trout. Three of the captains are fishing from boats drifting along the shorelines while West prefers to wade. The specks have been holding in water from 6 feet deep on up to the bank. Keep in mind that the action has been a scattered one fish here and one there pattern. The Corky has been the lure of choice. I’d imagine that will be the case for another couple weeks.

There has been some speckled trout action on some of the topwaters fished slowly as well as slow sinking plastics, but the Corky type lure has been the go-to lure for specks.

The redfish are still around in good numbers. With so many windy days, most folks are doing their thing in the inside waters. Many of the anglers going after specks on the reefs are taking more redfish than specks in those areas. The reds seem to be somewhat scattered, as are the specks. Whenever these fish begin to head for their summer haunts, they could show up at feeding areas. Don’t over look the marsh types of areas. Keith Lake and Bessie Heights are prime examples of great shallow water redfish areas. Yes, there are still plenty of the reds in the lakes and bays. There are also sheepshead and small drum at the various jetties, but the winds have made these areas too rough most times. Gold lures or spoons with chartreuse or red are also redfish attractors. Small mullet and cut bait will take many reds every year.

There has been a really good spring flounder run this year. It began fairly slow, but the warmer weather seems to have brought them in. The only problem for anglers has been the number of days too windy for safe boating or flounder fishing. Like other springs, the fish have been feeding and bedding in areas where there are moving tides. Many anglers have had their better success catching the flatfish using shrimp tipped jigs with plastic tails. As always, live mud minnows are the most popular.Marsh drains, submerged points and bulkheads are good places to go after flounder. Bridge pilings are also right up there.

On the freshwater scene, all three of the big lakes have been productive. Largemouth black bass are steadily moving into spawning areas. First, the smaller males come in and them the big roe-laden females show up. That’s beginning to happen now. On Rayburn, the smaller Kentucky spotted bass are active on sandy points. They seem to like lures with red on them best.

Topwaters and slow sinking plastics have been the go-to lures on Toledo Bend. Open shallow flats or brush is where the better action is happening. Expect some big fish to possibly take your lure.

White bass are showing up on Lake Livingston. That adds another dimension to the already hot black bass crappie and catfish action on that lake. All three lakes have been yielding limits of crappie and catfish whenever the anglers can go afloat. The winds have been a problem. That’s normal in the spring.It would be difficult to make a bad choice about where to go right now.

Here are the telephone numbers of the captains listed above:

• Capt. Eddie Hernandez, Golden Hook Guide Service, (409) 673-3100

• Capt. Billy Watkins, FishSabinLake.Com, (409) 673-9211

• Capt. Jim West, Bolivar Guide Service, (409) 996-3054

• Capt. Kirk Stansel, Hackberry Rod and Gun, (888) 762-3391

Tune in to KSET 1300 at 6 p.m. on Thursdays for Billy Halfin Outdoors and listen to the updates daily at 7:25 a.m., 12:25 p.m. and 6:25 p.m.