Gulf Coast Fisherman Magazine Vol 41 No 3 - Page 7

by Nate Skinner S UMMERTIME T ROPHIES ON E AST M ATTY T he sound was unmistakably distinct. If my eyes were closed I could’ve easily envisioned the show taking place before me. Gills flared, salty water foamed, and a yellow mouth with large fangs trying to shake itself free from the hard plastic hooked to its lips. This was what I was after, and it was the reason this bay had developed its gem status. As the large sow came closer, my heart began to pound. The blow-up had produced an adrenaline rush that was now on overload. I was seconds away from landing a potential personal best. In an instant the dream turned into a nightmare. The lure came flying back towards me and the fish plunged in the opposite direction. It seemingly happened in slow motion, almost as if she paused for a split second to give me one last glimpse of her massiveness before descending out of sight. My face immediately turned white as a ghost. “There will be more,” came a nonchalant remark from the bow of the boat. “After all, we are fishing on East Matagorda Bay,” laughed Capt. Kendall Kersh. His statement was true. That day rendered plenty of heavy specks that allowed me to shake off “the one that got away.” Fishing for large trout on purpose never felt so good. Certain bay systems along the Gulf Coast seem to produce trophy speckled trout every year. These results could be considered cyclical at times, as some seasons are better than others. One estuary that is in a particular hot streak for affording monster yellow mouths to the anglers fishing it is East Matagorda Bay. The theories and reasons behind these colossal catches vary, many of which are unknown. One variable that has played a tremendous role in enhancing this productive fishery in recent years, has been plentiful rains during the spring and early summer months. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Matagorda Bay Ecosystem Leader, Leslie Hartman, says freshwater inflows from abundant precipitation increase the overall health and diversity of an estuarine ecosystem. “Because East Matagorda Bay lacks direct freshwater influxes from any major rivers or creeks, significant rain events benefit the system,” she explained. “Freshwater deposits nutrients into the bay, while eliminating problems associated with dissolved oxygen. This is an issue found in super saline water because it contains excess salt, leaving less space for oxygen. Freshwater mixing into the bay allows more room for oxygen throughout the water column. Recent wet years have also helped stack up concentrations of trophy trout within East Matagorda Bay. Typically, during the late winter and early spring months, mature specks take refuge along the Intracoastal Waterway as well as in the rivers, bayous, and creeks that are connected to it just north of the bay. With these areas full of freshwater after heavy rains, hefty sow trout were forced to remain inside East Matagorda Bay, along with the mullet and other baitfish they feed on. Here, they have been gorging themselves and getting heavier all spring long. Their weights will just continue to increase as the spawn kicks into full gear with the rising summer temperatures. There are plenty of charted hotspots to locate fat specks within East Matagorda Bay and they can be found on Hook-N-Line chart F108. This chart also indicates public boat ramps that can be used to access the productive estuary both in Matagorda, which is on west side of the bay, and Sargent, which lies to the east. The chart can be purchased at www.hooknline.net. During the summer months, anglers preferring to wade fish should focus their efforts out in front of marsh drains, guts, coves, and bayous along the western portion of the south shoreline. Some excellent starting points would be Eidelbach Flats, Kain Cove, Cleveland Bayou, Hog Island, Boiler Bayou, and Spring Bayou Cove. The best scenario for fishing these areas will be early in (Continued on page 14.) Capt. Kendall Kersh and Matt Saunders show why East Matagorda Bay has gained a reputation for producing monster specks. Photos by author. JULY • AUGUST • SEPTEMBER 2 0 1 7 7