There wasn’t much activity on the water Wednesday, although the weather was about as nice as it gets this time of year. Northerly winds associated with Tuesday’s cold front did not last long, and a quick switch to the south took place. Beautiful conditions prevailed in the surf and, with the clear water settling in, look for some good fishing to ensue.

April, much like September, is a transition month for fishing along the Upper Texas Coast. It is a time when fish start changing from the winter patterns and the warmer waters accelerate activity.

Bait is the key to bringing in the fish. Keep an eye on the beach front, and when large numbers of shrimp boats are dragging their nets within a few miles of the beach, the bait is moving.

Another sign of the annual change is in the swarms of glass minnows along the shores of the bays. We are seeing that now.

The black drum run remains in progress and likely will be around longer this year as our cold winter delayed the spawning.

One of the first signs of warmer water will be the arrival of jack crevalle. Those tackle busters will be living up to their reputation soon. It probably will take water temperatures a few degrees warmer to bring them into the bays.

Speaking of water temperature, this year we keep swinging back and forth, above and below, 70 degrees as each cold front tends to set us back a bit. Based on the extended forecast, it appears that this pattern will be with us for a little while longer.

In response to Wednesday’s article about popping corks, Ed Majors sent a note asking about Mansfield Maulers. Majors has used them for years and asked if they operated on the same principal of sound as popping corks.

Actually, Mansfield Maulers were not developed as a popping cork device. They were invented by a fishing guide whose customers were frequently hanging up in the grassy shores that attract reds. The Mauler was intended to be used to keep the baits, both artificial and live, suspended high enough to prevent snags.

When placed into operation the first time, a totally new tool was discovered that worked as both a suspension device and a sound maker. They remain one of my favorite baits in calm, shallow waters.

Capt. Joe Kent is a columnist for The Daily News. To get your catch in the Reel Report, call 409-683-5273 or email

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