A little later than planned, but time for another Rockport Fishing Report for mid to late April. We are a bit behind schedule from our last report. Sorry about that. Maybe us non-essential people are just taking that to heart a bit too much? Either way, we will fill you in with what we are seeing out on the water while fly fishing the Texas flats in and around Rockport, Texas.
Since our last report, a few things have changed around here, but not too many. One of the more popular marinas in Aransas Pass, Conn Brown Harbor Park, is now closed. Apparently the city was tired of the place being overun with boats every day. But no worries, all the boats are now putting in right down the road a quarter mile at the other two ramps, which the city chose not to close. Weird.
Ramps in Rockport remain closed. Goose Island is the exception. Since it is a state park, it remains open. But everything else is still closed, at least on the public side. There are some private ramps around still though. And Port A and Corpus are all business as usual as well.
You would think with all the closures, shelter orders, etc. in the state, that things would be pretty chill around here. But that is far from the truth. All the ramps that are open are full to overflowing every decent weather day. Tons of boats out on the water most days. Not sure where everyone is coming from, but there are a bunch of folks around. It looks just like any other Spring/Summer day out there most days.
If you do go to one of the marinas open in the area, be prepared to have police and/or other officials around. Pretty much every day we’ve been out, they are in the parking lot walking around and making sure folks are obeying the rules. Also, expect a heavy police presence on the water as well. Most towns have city police on the water. And you will certainly see county and state police out there as well. Mostly, they are making sure people are social distancing. For us in boats, that means we must be able to stay 6′ away from everyone else in our boat at all times. UNLESS… you are from the same household (family). But for the rest of us, we need to remain distanced, even in the boat. So for those of us in skiffs, that means 2 people max in the boat right now. If they write you a ticket, which has happened to a whole heck of a lot of people around the area, its a fine of $500 per person in the boat. So maybe kick that one around a little, before loading the boat up with folks and hitting the water. But if you mind the rules, we have had zero problems each day we’ve been out.
And of course we will remind you that all guides in Texas are considered non-essential. So there is still no guided fishing for the time being. We will know more at the end of the month it looks like. But still too early to tell if we will be able to take guests out on the water or not. So we are standing by.
Now, for the fishing…
It’s fishing really really well. Last week we were only able to get out a couple of days, since the weather kinda sucked for much of the week. But the days we did get out, the fishing was great. This past weekends weather was also pretty bunk. So no need to be out on the water for our guides. But thing cleared up today and we had a couple boats out and about today.
The reports from the flats today were great. Lots of fish. Lots of big fish. And actually a few sharks cruising around the flats as well. A few of the largest fish seen were bulls. Small sharks were hot on their tails. Not uncommon this time of year, as a bunch of those larger fish will follow schools of fish in from the gulf. Sharks and jacks do this a bunch this time of year as well. So you never know what will swim by out there, once the water warms up.
Our other boat was offshore today. The weatherman promised calm winds, sunny skies and temps around 89 degrees. Instead, there was fog so thick you couldn’t see 50 feet, rougher seas and a bit more wind that advertised. No big deal early, as we assumed the fog would burn off. Wrong! Ended up staying dark and foggy all day. We covered water from Port A, down to Padre Island Seashore, and back to Port A again. Never saw the sun. And even worse, never had anything more than a mackerel to cast at. But it was a break in the every day routine. The offshore game has been hit or miss lately though. There are plenty of jacks, kings and mackerel around. They aren’t overly active just yet. But they are there. Seeing more small schools of jacks. Maybe 5-10 fish. Nothing real big and violent yet. But the water on the outside is topping out at 73-74 degrees. Still not super warm. So things will pick up out there as we get a bit more sun and a few more warm days.
On the flats, the topwater has been our play lately. Honestly, we have barely thrown anything else. We don’t really need to. Since we are just out screwing around these days, and trying to get a little fresh air, there really hasn’t been a need to work too terribly hard out there. A guide’s day off shouldn’t be that stressful. So we’ve kept it pretty mellow and just zipped around looking for fish in the shallowest water.
Tails, crashers and fish with their backs out of the water are easy to find every day. All have been plenty happy eating a topwater. If one does snub you, no big deal. Move on and put it on the next one just behind him. Shots are plentiful out there these days.
We are seeing some schools. Most are on the smaller side lately. But a lot of that may be the water we’ve chosen to fish as of late. Most days, we have been out in the micro skiff and rarely in water 6″ deep. So seeing backs out of the water has been pretty standard. Small schools of 3-5 fish have been plenty happy in those conditions as well. But the majority of the day is spent on singles tailing or crashing on baitfish.
There are a bunch of bigger fish moving around. We had one over slot a couple days ago on a topwater, and a few big bulls were seen today. But certainly a bunch of fat healthy fish out there. Many of which are over our slot.
Flies have been pretty basic. Anything that floats and makes noise when you strip it. Color hasn’t mattered at all. Size hasn’t really mattered either. All are getting looks and getting crushed. So pick a topwater and make a little noise out there. You will be rewarded. But a crab or shrimp pattern will work just as well. With all of our spare time, and boredom, we’ve been getting pretty creative at the vise lately. Some have worked, some… maybe were tied a couple whiskeys too deep. But it has been pretty fun screwing around with a bunch of patterns and seeing what will eat them. Even found a topwater that got a nice gar to the boat.
The water has remained pretty high for the past couple of weeks. Nothing abnormal really. Just a nice Spring level. Easy to get into pretty much any spot you would like. Also, enough water to get into some pretty weird stuff as well. Our favorite, if you’re not afraid to push, lift or drag the micro a bit. And maybe get covered in mud from head to toe. Totally worth it!
We have good weather the rest of this week for the most part. So we will continue getting out on the water each day, to get our exercise in. We will also continue to fish some weird stuff. Maybe some bass. Maybe some gar. Whatever it takes to avoid going crazy these days. You never know.
Again, we are still not able to guide here in Texas. But we are keeping in tune with the rules as they all seem to change daily. So as soon as we know something, we will certainly pass it on to everyone as best we can. BUT WE ARE BOOKING TRIPS STILL. In fact, we are offering special Coronavirus pricing for folks looking to book trips moving forward.
As it stands now, we are booking trips as early as May. We are also not requiring deposits for these dates in May. If for any reason we can’t guide in May still, then we will adjust accordingly. Once we know we are open, we can worry about deposits and such then. But for now, we are more than happy to pencil folks in for May, in hopes we are able to get you on the water with us.
We will do our very best to keep you all caught up on closures, restrictions and the like as we continue forward. And of course we will do our best to keep you updated on our fishing as well, assuming we can. If you are looking to get out on the water, you can always contact us any time if you would like to BOOK A TRIP or need any up to the minute Southwest Texas fly fishing or Rockport fishing report type news. We continue to post on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. Or perhaps SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel as well. We continually are trying to add more videos and stuff there. We try to keep stuff fresh for those of you that are wishing you were on the flats with us. So be sure to follow us on all our social media stuff. And don’t forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter below.
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