May 4, 2006
Fishing prospects are great with high numbers of fish
hungrily waiting in shallow water. The same stretch of shoreline may yield
striped bass, large and smallmouth bass, crappie, walleye, bluegill and
catfish. Warming lake conditions put all game fish in the same general
location. Look to the back of almost any canyon around brushy coves with
murky water to find the hot spot.
Striped bass are attracted to main channel current which draws prespawning schools to main channel points. But food is in the back of the canyon where shad spawn and sunfish hide in the brush. Stripers cruise from the back of the canyon to the main channel and then back again. Look along their travel route. They will be shallow in the brush at first light. At mid day they will be holding on the breaking edge of the main channel at the mouth of the canyon before returning to the back of the canyon in the evening. Fish anchovy bait along the walls and troll or cast shad lures in the murky water and flats at the back of the canyon.
Trophy stripers are most vulnerable to anglers from now till mid June while water temperature is moderate and big stripers can still live in the 60-70 degree surface layers. A 34.5 pound female was caught by Michelle Gonzalez this week in Last Chance. Last years biggest fish (38 pounds) was caught June 16, 2005 by Dan Porter while trolling in Rock Creek. If targeting big fish I would recommend the main channel and canyon mouths from Padre Bay to the mouth of the San Juan.
Bass have spawned once and will spawn again during the next two weeks. Continue to search the edges of spawning flats near the deep water access route to find both shallow males and deep females in close proximity to each other. The most productive bait is the soft plastic grub or tube in watermelon pepper, green pumpkin or black sparkle, but your favorite bass lure will work. Always use a confidence bait that has worked for you in the past. That way the only variables are depth and habitat – not lure choice. The breaking edge of open water shoals and reefs is the most productive spot. The shoreline is being flooded and changing too fast to be a reliable indicator of fish presence and habitat. Fish shallow structure in open water for best results.
Walleye fishing is peaking. Troll shallow flats at the backs of canyons with wallydivers, hot-n-tots, worm harnesses or lipless vibrators. Make the lure drag bottom at 10-15 feet. Silt stirred by the lure crawling along the bottom will excite a hiding walleye into action. Fish early and late during subdued light or fish under the shade of muddy water to find hiding walleye.
Crappie have one more spawn to complete and will still be holding tight to brush and trees. Use small plastic grubs or tubes fished vertically in tumbleweeds stacked in cuts to find crappie up to 2-pounds. Retrieve the jig as slowly as possible to entice crappie. Another approach is to suspend a tiny jig 3 feet under a bobber and let it dangle just above brush to draw crappie out of their lair. Bluegill will be caught in the brush with crappie. Catfish will surprise when it is least expected by hitting any lure that resemble a shad dinner.