In all honesty this has to be one of my absolute most favorite times of the year, that transition from winter into spring when the weather starts to cooperate and the fishing goes nuts. April generally signifies the spring patterns are here or at least really close anyway and we have nothing to look forward to except some out of this world conditions in which to fish. For me personally, I will be thankful that those unbelievable winds of March will be behind us for the most part and that makes more water fishable. More fishable water means less crowds and a decreased level of stress. Can I get an “Amen” from the congregation? I look forward to May because that’s when so many different styles and patterns emerge, especially here on Sabine and Calcasieu. The folks who have been dying to go down to the jetties and duel with wired up and fired up trout will get their first taste of that program. The green water and light winds will make for some outstanding days along the rocks. Farther inland the folks who prefer to stay in the lake will be in for some sporadic fishing under the gulls for trout and roaming schools of redfish. The shad will also begin to gang up out in the open lake so keep an eye out for that to happen because the trout and reds won’t be far behind that floating buffet.

Still farther inland the folks who like to congregate in the deeper water along the rivers and Intercoastal Waterway will also have their own little piece of heaven as long as we don’t get too much rain. As long as that deeper water stays salty the fish will be there in force and waiting on a good tide change to chow down on a variety of baits including shad, shrimp and mullet. Anchoring up on good secondary points and breaks as well as the mouths of the marsh drains will prove very effective for those who enjoy fishing at a little slower and more leisurely pace.

I will be probing more backwater marshes in search of redfish and hoping that all the damage from Ike hasn’t hurt either fishery too much. After Rita we saw tons of small redfish show up and grow into perfect slot reds over the next year or so, hopefully we get the same benefit from Ike. Regardless of what these fish do there will be a significant learning curve for those who run this kind of water. For many folks, especially tournament anglers who love to get in there and chase those fish there will be a whole new world to figure out. So many of the ditches and small bayous gave access to these remote areas are now totally impassable from all the debris left over from the storm. Much to the dismay of many folks these areas will never be the same and some of the best water out there could be gone for who knows how long.

Perhaps one of the greatest joys of fishing is taking the kids along and daylight savings mean you have plenty of time after school to take advantage of the afternoon bite. One of the best methods we have for taking the kids out is live shad under a popping cork, this is just money in the bank. A #3 unweighted popping cork above a 1/2 ounce egg sinker and barrel swivel gets you started. Tie on a three foot leader to the swivel and use a #3 or #4 Kahle hook. Hook the shad or finger mullet through the eye socket and drift behind the boat giving the cork a good pop on a regular frequency. This method has produced countless fish for us during the summer months and it will be extremely user friendly for the kids. Everybody loves to see the cork under I don’t care who you are or what you say, you know you like it.

The longer days and warming temps will go a long way to really cranking up the fishing and opening up a whole host of different patterns and areas. The days of huddling in one protected spot with every other boat on the lake will be in the rear view mirror. I for one will be glad to see it happen and I know I’m not alone. Enjoy the perfect temps we have right now because it won’t be long we will all be begging for some shade.