April 28, 2013
Everyone who fishes the Texas coast knows how windy things can be in May. The wind will be a bit warmer than in previous months, but there can still be plenty of wind, nonetheless. Because stronger southeasterly winds will tend to dominate this month, they will be the primary reason why I look to the cover and the protection of land masses, islands, oyster reefs, or any other type of significant wind-break that will keep my hat from blowing off my head while I’m wading. My first choice for getting out of a stiff southeast wind is to make my way from Seadrift almost directly south across San Antonio Bay to the approximate thirty-eight miles of protection that’s offered to us by the existence of Matagorda Island. Once there, I can generally score refuge from the wind in one of the shallow back lake areas, coves, or small bay areas like that of Long Lake, Pats Bay, Power Lake, Twins, Cedar Lake, and Panther Point Lake or Swan Lake. And, the bayside shoreline of Matagorda Island also offers us just about any type of structure imaginable – sand, shell, grass, mud, bayous, guts, area drains, etc. At a glance, Matagorda Island seems to offer something for everyone. However, some folks may, or may not, choose to make the journey simply due to the wind. A strong southerly-influenced wind can make the crossing of the open waters of San Antonio Bay seem more like a curse rather than an adventure, and under certain conditions can even be nothing less than dangerous. So, if a thirty or forty-five minute wet ride across rough waters in a pounding boat is not your idea of a good time, there are other alternatives available to you that will allow you to fish comfortably regardless of just how furious May’s wind might blow.
A back-up plan to May’s windy conditions that I hold dear to my heart still to this day is fishing within the vast confines of Espiritu Santo Bay. This might mean that I launch at Seadrift and have an extremely long boat ride via the Intracoastal Waterway all the way to Port O’Connor, or that I trailer the boat to Port O’Connor and then launch there. Together, the immediate Port O’Connor area and Espiritu Santo Bay offer anglers many different solutions for fishing on days when some might opt to stay at home. Places in the Port O’Connor area like Barroom Bay, Big Bayou, Saluria Bayou, Grass Island, Farwell Island, Big Pocket, and Lighthouse Cove all extend some level of protection from winds that happen to blow out of a southerly direction. I’ve spent many, many days fishing in all of these places over the years and could probably spend almost just as many more days recalling memorable results, but I’ll save those stories for another time and another place. My point here is that there are a number of really nice places to fish on windy days in the general vicinity of Port O’Connor, and you probably won’t be required to take part in a wet boat ride while traveling to most of these destinations. Now then, if you want to try something a little bit different while fishing the Port O’Connor complex, you can always continue to hug the south shoreline and make your way west down to a few of the back lake areas like Pringle Lake, Contee Lake, or South Pass Lake. Over time, all of these places have proven that they are capable of being big producers this month, especially in the presence of substantially higher tides and a lot of bait fish. But, there are still a couple more places I like to consider good choices whenever the wind raises its ugly head this month.
One such place is the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) between Port O’Connor and San Antonio Bay. This nineteen mile stretch of water offers ample seclusion from southerly winds in even some of the worst conditions. It also offers much of the same structural opportunities that you find along most any of the shorelines outlining the neighboring Espiritu Santo Bay and San Antonio Bay systems. There may be a lot of boat and barge traffic at times, so you’ll find most folks fishing out of their boats on either of the channel. I personally like to wade, so one of my very favorite spots to try my luck is in a place known as Welder Flats – a huge flat area at the very west end of this part of the ICW where it opens-up into San Antonio Bay. Another protected body of water that I like to investigate on windy days is the Victoria Barge Canal. I don’t do a lot of wading in this area, but have really gotten into the fish on a number of different occasions while drifting from one side of the canal to the other. Whenever I locate the bite in the canal, it seems that it is often a rapid-fire event, meaning that the fish are almost always traveling together in a pod-type fashion. It may be quick, but it’s also extremely fun when it happens.
Summertime is approaching fast, and it won’t be long before severe temperatures will become part of the norm rather than the exception. The heat can drain your energy levels faster than anything, so please remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day while out on the water. Remember to practice CPR, “Catch, Photo, and Release”, whenever possible on trophy Trout and Reds…Guide Chris Martin, Port O’Connor/Seadrift region…www.BayFlatsLodge.com…1-888-677-4868