Capt. Chuck Uzzle

For the Record

 

Just about any Texas fisherman who ever wet a line knows that the spring is full

of many things, most of which fall into the category of uncertainty and

unpredictability. The all time #1 villain is the weather man and his friend the

marine forecast, aka “that #$%@ wind”! For plenty of us who take advantage of

every season the waders that were used during duck hunts have become your best

friend as the gears switch in favor of chasing trophy trout in 60 plus degree

water.

All but the most hard core of anglers routinely shun the thought of winter or

early spring fishing in favor

of warmer environments until the mercury creeps up slightly and the first warm

weekend has them scrambling for boats, gear, and a spot at the local launch.

Little do most of them know that a few really dedicated anglers spent some less

than perfect days on the water doing some reconnaissance in preparation for the

warmer days that will inevitably come. The super low tides of winter offer up a

great opportunity to find structure that under normal circumstances go

un-noticed and many times un-fished.

Several of my last trips on the water have been solo adventures without a

fishing rod and accompanied only by my youngest black lab “Joli”

and my binoculars. I truly love these days because it helps me switch gears from

ducks to fish without missing either one. March and April offer some of the best

opportunities to see ducks in their full plumage as they make their way back

north. The Blue winged teal migrating back from Mexico are usually the stars of

the show, especially when I’m scouting the marshes of Sabine and Calcasieu for

redfish. The small groups of birds work low and fly thru the maze of islands

like little jet fighters making just as much noise from their wings as they do

with their calls. The drakes are painted up like a brand new decoy and easily

identifiable, they drive my dog nuts because she keeps waiting for a shotgun to

go off and the opportunity to go fetch one. To see birds in the air and fish in

the water at the same time is what really gets me going, the best of both worlds

right there in front of you.

On one such recent outing I made a loop through some of the marsh ponds that I

hunted this past season. On my way in I passed a line of waders standing like

solitary figures on an expansive flat, I’m sure we both were thinking “what’s

that idiot doing out here” as the day was less than “bluebird beach” weather. I

swung my skiff wide of their position and made my way into the marsh and some

much more comfortable surroundings. The lake that was churned up from wind and

runoff gave way to beautiful clear water and a slight ripple. I sat the skiff

down off of plane and gave the pond a chance to settle as I climbed up on the

platform. Much to my surprise a defined group of redfish were milling about as

if they had no idea a visitor had made his way into their pond. I pushed up on

the pod of fish and just watched for a few moments until they made their way

down the pond and eventually swam away from where I was. The rest of the

afternoon was more of the same, small groups of fish just relaxed and enjoying

small crabs and a few finger mullet.

For an early spring day it was an eye opener, we normally don’t see fish like

that until late April or May. Calcasieu will crank up a little earlier than

Sabine on normal years but it appears that both may be a little ahead of

schedule. Those waders I told you about will certainly vouch for the fact the

winter pattern for redfish has been about as constant as you could ever hope

for, in fact the numbers of redfish in both bays appear to be as high as anyone

can ever remember. The fish are all really healthy and seem to be almost “cookie

cutter” identical, lots of fish on the low end of the slot with a nice mix of

oversized fish. The upcoming spring and summer months could be memorable ones

for

local and out of town fishermen alike. After seeing what the marshes look like

and having had some excellent days

wading this year I have a great feeling about what is in store for us no doubt.