The Big Ol Mess: Fishing Reports for April 3, 2020

The Big Ol Mess Fishing Report proved to be a huge success in its first go-round. Take Two is another great one as guides across the country report phenomenal spring fishing conditions. See below for 25"+ Speckled Trout in Galveston, hefty Bluefin Tuna in San Diego, drag-pulling Bonefish in Islamorada, and sizable Louisiana Redfish.

Galveston fishing charters

Awesome Speckled Trout caught on a trip with Captain Jesse Francisco.

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Big Ol Mess Table of Contents (to make it less of a Big Ol Mess):

Texas (North to South):

  1. Richland Chambers and Lake Whitney, Texas
  2. Lake Travis, Texas
  3. New Braunfels, Texas
  4. Clear Lake, Texas
  5. Eagle Point, Texas
  6. Galveston, Texas
  7. Port O'Connor, Texas
  8. Rockport, Texas

Beyond Texas (West to East)

  1. San Diego, California
  2. Bear Creek of Denver, Colorado
  3. Lower Mountain Fork River of Broken Bow, Oklahoma
  4. Saint Bernard, Hopedale, and Shell Beach, Louisiana
  5. Orlando, Florida
  6. Islamorada, Florida
  7. Delray Beach, Florida

Texas (North to South)

Texas Takeaways:

Redfish and Speckled Trout inshore fishing leads the pack. Whether wading with artificial lures, drift fishing with live bait, or fishing the Galveston jetties, Redfish and Speckled Trout are chomping.

As far as freshwater fishing goes, Striper fishing is hot on Richland Chambers and Lake Whitney, spring Bass fishing on Lake Travis is golden, and the Guadalupe River is fishing well for Rainbow Trout and Largemouth Bass.

  1. Richland Chambers and Lake Whitney, Texas:

"The bite on Richland Chambers Reservoir is really turning on. We're catching limits of Hybrid Stripers daily drifting live shad or perch. The White Bass are on the main lake points in 20-30' of water. We're catching limits on jigging spoons and shad. Blue Catfish are chasing shad on windy shorelines and can be caught with fresh cut shad.

Lake whitney striper fishing

Can't beat limits of Stripers with Captain Cory.

Lake Whitney's water temperature is 64 degrees and water clarity is stained. Stripers are good on top water plugs in the morning and live shad and perch throughout the day. White Bass are beginning to return to the north end of the lake from their run up the Brazos River to spawn. Blue Catfish are good on windy banks and points using cut bait." - Captain Cory Vinson

richland chambers fishing guide

Striper fishing is hot on Lake Whitney!

  1. Lake Travis, Texas:

"Yes, I'm still guiding. Fishing falls under the category of essential things, so I am fortunate there. I am taking special measures to make sure my clients and I stay safe. After each fishing trip I wash down all rods/reels/ tackle with Lysol disinfectant spray, I wipe down the inside of my boat with Clorox wipes, and I spray the hull of the boat and wash it with extra strong vinegar.

lake travis fishing guide

A nice Lake Travis Bass on a trip with Tyler Torwick.

The bite on Travis is great right now! The shallow bite early in the morning and late evening is very strong. A floating worm rig is crushing it right now, and this will still be a great bait to toss until the shad spawn starts and the fish eat more shad.

That being said, I'm noticing early signs of Threadfin Shad spawning on Lake Travis. With water temperatures in the mid 60's that's not surprising. I'd typically like to see the water a little closer to 70 degrees for the Shad spawn to really ramp up.

When the sun burns through and the shallow bite dies off I suggest heading deeper, although you can get shallow bites all day. A Texas rig with your favorite plastic will definitely catch you a Bass right now. Fish it at the mouths of coves in 10-15 feet of water. I've really liked my brush hog a lot lately.

Shorelines with brush on them that aren't that steep are the best targets. Bass there are post spawn and are roaming the bank, stopping to hang out around structure.

We're just a few weeks away from flukes, Alabama rigs, spinnerbaits, and topwater baits, so stay tuned!

lake travis fishing guides bass

It's that time of year on Lake Travis.

If you're not catching 15 fish in the morning right now, you're doing something wrong!

Drop shots are another pattern getting it done along bluff walls. If you're new to fishing or are out with kids, this'll get the job done!

Target 10-20 feet of depth and fish a 1/4- 3/8th ounce drop shot with a 1/0 dropshot hook along those steep bluff walls. Finesse trick worms in green pumpkin or watermelon red will bring the Bass home. I caught a bunch doing it yesterday, but nothing over 3 pounds. Truth be told, this won't catch the big ones, but it'll produce numbers for a great day on the water with kids." - Tyler Torwick

  1. Guadalupe River, Texas:

"Spring is here and this is the time to enjoy cold and warm water fish species. We've heard many great fishing stories of Trout taking a swath of fly patterns (streamers, nymphs, worms, yarn eggs). Bass are eating poppers on low wind days, as well as streamers. With the Guadalupe River full of fish and good flows, fishing should be good into June. - Chris Jackson

guadalupe river fishing guide

A gorgeous Guadalupe Rainbow Trout.

  1. Clear Lake, Texas:

"We caught a lot of undersized fish and kept 11 nice Speckled Trout. All the fish we caught swam in 8 feet of water with water temperature at 71 degrees. Make sure your fishing a spot with tides. " - Captain Mike Cacciotti

  1. Eagle Point, Texas:

"The fishing's great right now. Warmer waters means more active Speckled Trout and Redfish!" - Captain David Dillman

galveston bay fishing charters

The bigger Speckled Trout are coming out to feed.

galveston fishing charter

Nice Redfish caught while fishing with Captain David Dillman.

  1. Galveston, Texas:

"The water temps are getting right. On average around 73 degrees. Things will only get better from here. Jacks and pompano are around. The summer bite will be amazing" - Captain Mike Regan

"Spring time fishing in Galveston Bay is heating up for the Gulf Coast King. Trout and Redfish are starting to stack up in the flats, making some days' catch well worth the trip." - Captain Jesse Francisco

galveston wade fishing guide

Captain Jesse's staying on the Redfish and Speckled Trout.

galveston inshore fishing trip

This Speckled Trout catch is definitely worth the trip.

"Jack Crevalle are everywhere!" - Captain Lee Crisler

Galveston deep sea fishing charters

Book a Galveston jetty trip to get back in shape fighting Jack Crevalle.

"What an improvement over the last two months. We're catching limits of Speckled Trout and Redfish. Windy days are tough for Speckled Trout but the Redfish don’t seem to mind. When the wind does lay down a little bit we are catching solid Speckled Trout in the 7-8 lb. range. Artificial lures are fishing well with the occasional live shrimp." - Captain Harry Arthur

Galveston wade fishing guides redfish

Captain Harry put 'em on some nice Speckled Trout wade fishing.

Galveston fishing guides

Redfish bite and Speckled Trout bite are hot.

"East Galveston Bay wade fishing is good on an incoming tide. We've caught some nice Speckled Trout on topwaters as well as soft plastics along with a few Redfish and Flounder. Drifting West Galveston Bay also produces Speckled Trout, Redfish and Flounder. The jetties are great for Sheepshead, Bull Black Drum, slot Redfish and a few Speckled Trout. Catching should continue to improve in both Galveston bays." - Captain LG Boyd

galveston speckled trout fishing guide

Nice Galveston Speckled Trout caught drift fishing with Captain LG.

galveston fishing guide jetties

Giant Bull Black Drum caught at the Galveston Jetties with Captain LG.

"Fishing is still holding steady over shell. Fish have started to transition to where they need to be. Speckled Trout and Redfish are hungry and aggressive with this warmer weather. Fishing is starting to pick up in East Galveston Bay and West Galveston Bay. The Galveston jetties when weather allows have also remained steady for Sheephead and oversized Black Drum. Speckled Trout and Redfish have also been fair to good. Take care and tight lines!" - Captain Michael Meza

  1. Port O'Connor:

"Redfish bite was on today!" - Captain Brandon Kendrick

port o connor fishing charters

Great day with Captain Brandon.

  1. Rockport:

"Rockport area fishing is fantastic while wading over to grass, mud, and shell bottoms. Be sure to look for active bait working in those areas. The most successful artificial lures right now are Down South Lures' Magic Grass Shad, Chicken of the C, Salt Sassy, and Marker 54's Jerk Shrimp and Mullet Run.

You can throw topwater baits early against shorelines and expect awesome action as long as bait is present. Also pay attention to minor and majors tidal swings to help intensify the bite." - Captain Larry Bell

Rockport fishing charters

Great time to be out wading Rockport.

rockport fishing guides

Another Speckled Trout that would make anyone's day.

Beyond Texas (West to East)

Beyond Texas Takeaways:

Bluefin Tuna are here to stay in San Diego. Look for their numbers to increase as well as their size as spring heats up. Louisiana inshore fishing for Redfish and Speckled Trout is crazy right now, and it's officially springtime in Florida: Tarpon, Bonefish, Snook, Peacock Bass, and Largemouth Bass frequent reports out of the Sunshine State.

  1. San Diego, California:

"Caught 3 Bluefin Tuna yesterday on surface irons- 61 pounder in the pic below." - Captain Shaun Uyeda

San diego fishing charters

61 Pound Bluefin Tuna caught on a San Diego charter with Captain Shaun Uyeda.

  1. Bear Creek of Denver, Colorado:

"Bear Creek is a super place for just a few hours to get some casting in. Bear Creek at Morrison flows are currently at 23.8 CFS. We fished the areas at Lair O the Bear upstream and downstream. The best way to fish at these current flows is to cast a Hopper Dropper with a Chocolate Thunder Emerger.

Another setup I tried was a nymph rig consisting of a heavy Bead Head Midge patterns sizes #16-20 and landed a few fish. Other patterns I used were Red Zebra Midges, Rainbow Warriors, Sparkle Wing RS-2s, Mercury Midges, San Juan Worms, and a Parachute Adams." - Ken Robak

  1. Lower Mountain Fork River of Broken Bow, Oklahoma

Epic dry fly fishing continues this week! Blue Wing Olive dry fly with an emerger dropper after sun-up. Oliver Wooly Bugger or LMF Frenchie (best) with trailing midge is also hot.

  1. Saint Bernard / Hopedale / Shell Beach, Louisiana:

"You couldn’t ask for a better day of fishing than today! With the spotty weather, the fish bite was on and these guys were able to do their thing and fill the box in two boats." - Captain Jimmy Corley

louisiana fishing charters

Great haul of Redfish for this two-boat crew.

"Had an awesome morning on the water with Captain Jon Miller and his wife Whitney! It's been nothing but fun in the sun out here on the water in St. Bernard...oh and fish!" - Captain Seth Howard

Lousiana fishing guides

Nice haul of Redfish and Largemouth Bass out of South Louisiana.

new orleans fishing charters

No net needed for this Redfish.

  1. Kissimmee, Florida:

"It's that time of year in Central Florida- the Largemouth Bass fishing is unbelievable!" - Randy Dumars

Orlando fishing guides

Big-time Largemouth Bass out of Kissimmee, Florida.

Orlando fishing charters

Handfuls of Largemouth Bass out of Orlando, FL.

  1. Islamorada, Florida:

"Warm weather and warm water made the perfect conditions for sight fishing Tarpon, Bonefish, and Permit the past few weeks in Islamorada. The beginning of the Tarpon migration started and more fish show up every day, creating multiple chances a day to hook Tarpon on fly or gear over 100 pounds." - Captain Ben Trainer

Islamorada fishing charters bonefish

Healthy Islamorada, Florida Bonefish with Captain Ben Trainer.

  1. Delray Beach, Florida:

"For this week's fishing report we have only been able to fish by land which has proven very effective this week. We had a pressure drop at the begging of the week which was followed by a light cold front that pushed through.

This really fired up the Snook right before the front reached us. Without the regular flow of marine traffic, due to the coronavirus, it has allowed the tarpon to come out of hiding. We’ve had a lot of people including myself jumping 100+ pound tarpon on light tackle using the NLBN swim baits, Flairhawk Jigs, live shrimp, and mullet.

Lake Ida Fishing Guides

Nice Snook caught from the bank by Captain Johnny.

Hitting all of my local ponds and lakes on foot produces several Peacock Bass, Largemouth Bass, and even a few really big Oscars! Main source of bait for freshwater has been small Mayan Cichlids and Bluegill since all of the tackle shops are currently closed to buy Shiners. When live bait was not available we resorted to top water, white jigs, and a few brushy baits (wet flys) which all proved very effective. Hope you enjoyed this report, go fishing, and be safe!" - Captain Johnny Stabile

Thanks for reading- Cheers!

galveston fishing

Captain Lee Crisler with an ice cold beer caught in Galveston, Texas.