Sometimes You Just Know

Sometimes You Just Know
Sawyer with one of many trout he caught on his birthday.

Sometimes you just know it when you see it. When you find the solution to a problem, a new trophy-catching lure, or even a new fishy area. It's that moment when the proverbial light bulb comes on.

I first noticed the young angling prodigy two summers ago at Clark's Marina. He hopped about the rotten dock boards dropping his hook near each piling. The pinfish were easily fooled by his stealthy approach and endless determination. His fishing prowess was impressive, but even more was his inquisitive nature.

I don't believe he has ever met a stranger, his outgoing personality resonates through any crowd. As each boat pulls up to tie off he eases over to inspect their catch. He can identify all the fish easily and anyone could tell by the look on his face that he was "eat up" as they say, with a fishing addiction.

I caught his name, Sawyer, and after a couple of meetings, we were quick friends. I began to look forward to seeing his big smile as we pulled into Clark's each Saturday. More often than not he was there to inspect the fish, ask questions and tell me about his latest big catch.

My wife recognized Sawyer's mother from their high school years and their friendship picked up where it once left off. While I cleaned my parties catch of the day my wife, Meredith, would sit and visit Katie. Often I hear them laughing out loud during the telling of Sawyer's latest adventures.

Recently Sawyer was a guest on my boat for the first time. His parents Katie and James brought him to the dock under the impression of seeing the boats. It was his eighth birthday and he had no idea about our surprise outing.

With a quick once over for him to inspect the tackle and bait on hand we were off. He was quick to offer assistance at the wheel and intent on asking pertinent questions: where are we headed, which bait are we using, what will we be catching and, of course, how deep the water will be? We were all smiles as we made the short run to our destination.

Sawyer casts like a pro and picked up immediately on how to work the bait. Right away trout were coming to the net with Sawyer being quick to get the hook out and readied for the next cast. After a couple of hours he was fished out and with his limit of trout in the box we headed for the dock.

Easy to say it was the best fishing trip for me this year. I don't know who had the bigger smile or was more pleased. Being with Sawyer that day brought back many memories from my youth. I have a feeling that we'll learn a lot from each other in the years ahead. Hopefully we can make his birthday fishing trip an annual event.

August Inshore
August is easily the hottest month of the year for both temperature and fish catching. Most fish search out cooler temps the same as most humans. Up shallow early and headed deeper soon afterward is the everyday grind. There are always the exceptions though, when it comes to larger predators.

Often this month you can find individual trout over 25-inches and upper-slot reds in shallow depths. On or near hot mud bottoms with less than a foot of water. Why exactly they are there other than to feed I'm not sure but only speculate that being safe from predation is high on their list. The small non-navigable and mostly overlooked marsh tidal ponds are high on my list. Wading these areas is often difficult and the possibility of coming across snakes or gators is likely. Targeting fish in these ponds is not easy, but neither is the passionate pursuit of most other trophies.

Many of these small waters hold an alpha fish that lingers on the outskirts of the big mullet schools lounging in the ponds. I approach these areas with the sun at my back and upwind if possible. Many times by surveying the water before casting makes the location of bigger fish apparent. If the mullet have not mucked up the whole pond, look to the edge of murky water adjacent to the clear. This is where the big ones often lie and wait. Many times their silhouette is all you'll see, a ghostly outline blending with the bottom.

Smaller lures, 3-inches or less work well, think non-obtrusive, lightweight and quiet lures when selecting. I like a non-weighted soft plastic rigged weedless "Texas style." A lure rigged this way spooks few fish with its quiet landing. It can be hopped slowly across the bottom or danced on top with the rod tip held high. These small ponds are out of the beaten path, good for both the fish and the angler.

August Nearshore
This is the month with the most species available in our nearshore waters. Many times the calmer weather conditions help with clearer waters and offshore currents push closer to the beachfront. Often true bluewater will be found within Texas state water boundaries.

My favorite method is trolling the green to bluewater color changes. These current lines often hold sargassum or other debris to give away the most likely locations. Once found, put out a spread of kingfish trolling lures to cover the surface and below. Work the bluewater side slowly watching the surface for bait or floating debris to concentrate on.

Kingfish are the common target here, but don't discount the possibility of sailfish. Sailfish school and follow preferred food sources like cigar minnows, ballyhoo and flying fish. Fishing a clear-water current change can bring out various catches. Dolphin, cobia, Spanish mackerel, barracuda and bonito can add to the excitement.

No matter where you fish this month, please be safe and consider the effects of outdoor heat and sun. Dehydration and heat exhaustion are very common on the water, remember to drink plenty of fluids and wear light-colored heat-dissipating clothing.