Portfolio Additions: Daily Reads & Plays
Angler's choice would be the report for the late week. Gorgeous weather has dominated the past few days since the rough weather of early week. A lot of fishermen hit the water over the weekend and it looked like all venues were paying dividends with decent catches of both Trout and Redfish showing at the boards. Cool weather and sunshine surely made for an enjoyable experience for everyone partaking regardless of what went in the fish boxes.
Light winds certainly are of benefit to all given increasing angler traffic. When everyone gets the bug, big winds and hard weather can certainly have way too many folks piled up in what limited protected waters are available. Light winds can open up the broader bays and open structure to probing runs and uncluttered fishing enjoyment. Shallow and deep reefs in the open waters of the big bays give up some nice catches as waters green up and bait starts looking for protection on available structure.
Trips here over the last week have been nothing short of awesome and we look forward to more great fishing moving into April transitions.
Daily Reads & Plays
Big winds early might have open waters gutted which is pretty much an immediate default to shallow bays and grass. Conditions can vary wildly during the day or over the course of days especially heading towards late Spring and Summer. This can require multiple "Reads & Plays" in a given day with structure shifts and timing strikes. Winds that put you on grass early can have you heading for open waters mid-morning as things settle out a bit; winds back down; and, big tides start greening things up. Besides reading winds and water conditions, having a good handle on "water levels" regardless of tides will help with depth focuses and shifts on structure contours.
Water Levels More of a Focus than Tides
Folks ask me all the time about the "tides". Tides to me are less important than recognizing water levels in the bays. This is extremely important when focusing on extreme shallows and back country marsh but it's also a strong consideration when working open waters and deeper structure. I describe water levels as more constant conditions that have seasonal timing. Explaining "water levels" isn't real easy. High water means the bathtub is filled to the brim and overflowing onto the floor. The high and low tides within this condition will move the level in the bathtub a few inches below the rim to over the rim and spilling more on the floor. Medium or average water levels are best described as Spring flood tides subside and we have more or less a "summer time" water level. This would be the bathtub half full with the tides moving the water level in the tub up a few inches and down a few inches. Low water levels as you can now imagine would have the tub at about a quarter full with the tides emptying it or raising it slightly above a quater full.
Why the discertation on water levels, they are important considerations on various structure plays and can help rule out a few things or gain focus on things more rapidly. Low water typically doesn't play well for shorelines or shallow grass bays. Low water will keep you distant from reef crests and focusing on deeper tapers. Medium or average water levels can offer the most stability in a fishing pattern with success built on success day after day. It plays well on shallow grass bays and back lakes, mid bay structure, deep reefs and even shorelines. High water levels, as the name implies, means there are lots of places for the fish to scatter. Recognizing that fish move shallower as their environment gets deeper finds the focus shifting to locations that are often unfishably shallow. This push shallower and retreat deeper plays out day in and day out given shifting water levels and seasonal water level changes. Medium water levels that may have fish stacked 20 yards off a shoreline will find you retreating and walking on the bank in high water as the fish push right up to the edge of the grass. More often than not, you will find me discussing water levels in my fishing reports rather than a tide occurence on a given day.
Consideration of these factors and recognizing or at least benchmarking your water levels will be a great help in your fishing. We hope that these daily reads and plays that have been proved with way too many days on the water will be a great addition to your fishing portfolio.
We hope you had a great weekend! Here comes Monday, let's gett'em! Come see us when you get a chance.
Capt. Kris Kelley