Explore deeper water to beat the wind
I finally met someone in the grocery store last week that initiated our conversation with the customary, “How are you doing?” That was unusual only because over the past month, more often than not, I have been greeted with, “I guess you’ve had enough of this wind” or “I cannot ever remember the wind blowing like this.”
Not only have I had enough of this wind, but I can also tell you exactly when it last blew like this as well. It was last year and the year before. While I may or may not have been able to get on the water every day, the weather conditions are duly recorded in my logs. Not surprisingly, a large number of them are highlighted with a yellow “C” denoting another canceled booking.
If there has been any difference in this year and years past, it has been the wind velocity. I can find nothing on the books that can match this spring in regards to wind velocity. Even for the most die-hard angler this wind has not been negotiable with 10 to 15 mph winds currently considered to be a calm day.
While there is no way to accurately determine how much longer we will be stymied by the wind, we finally started seeing calmer days with some consistency last year on May 17. After that, I was able to get in three to four days a week and the winds continued to diminish as the days grew longer and hotter.
As a rule, anglers familiar with the bayous and backwater do very well on flounder and redfish while waiting for the main lake to settle down and clear up. With both the Neches and the Sabine rivers hovering at flood stage, water clarity and lower salinity levels have added to the problem for area saltwater fishermen seeking out more protected venues.
The canals and ponds in the Game Reserve that are not too badly choked off with marsh grass after being rearranged by Ike still afford a decent bite, but the boat ride can be rough and wet. The bayous and marsh areas that are easier accessed like Keith Lake and Bessie Heights are producing decent catches, but they have taken a hit recently with all of the flooding.
Because you cannot safely force the issue in the lake on most days, the wiser decision is to take advantage of incoming tides and fish the more protected waters of the ship channel and ICW south of the Neches River. The clearest and saltiest water you can hope for will be found in those areas closer to the Gulf that are also further from fresh water runoff.
Artificial lures are always an option, but you will enjoy a more consistent bite anchoring up and fishing the bottom with fresh dead shrimp or live shad and mullet when you can find them. The clearer the water, the better your chances of catching trout, but for the most part expect to scratch your itch with reds, flounder and black drum.
This is also an excellent time to locate submerged structures in these man-made canals that you never knew existed. Any structure that diverts the flow of water is a potential gold mine for the savvy angler. Once the winds subside and the water clears, these spots will hold unbelievable concentrations of trout and reds on both incoming and outgoing tides.
I am especially fond of underwater points that jut out off shallow flats into deeper water. If they have shell on them that is even better. You will also find that one side of every point will drop off more sharply than the other thus creating a better ambush point for the fish. If there is no other similar structure in the same area, you have really found something special!
These spots may not produce well for you right now, but they will be money in the bank once conditions improve. They are trout magnets and consistently yield heavier fish in the summer months when the smaller more aggressive trout are schooling in the open lake.
Yes, I have indeed had enough of this wind, but according to my records we still have a little way to go before things settle down. Rather than curse the wind or push your luck in the open lake, turn on your depth finder and explore this deeper water. You will be glad you did in the very near future!