Jump Into Summer Fishing with Both Feet

Jump Into Summer Fishing with Both Feet
Vicious surface strikes are the trademark of backwater reds.
In all honesty this has to be one of my absolute most favorite times of the year. I love the transition from spring into summer; the weather starts to cooperate and the fishing goes nuts. Late April and May generally signify the summer patterns are here or at least really close, and we can begin to look forward to out of this world conditions in which to fish. For me personally, I will be thankful that those unbelievable winds of March and early-April will be behind us for the most part and that makes more water fishable. More fishable water means the crowd can spread out and we'll all be under less stress. Can I get an Amen?

I look forward to May and the emerging summer fishing pattern here on Sabine and Calcasieu. The folks who have been dying to go down to the jetties and duel with wired up and fired up trout will get their first taste of that program. The green water and light winds will make for some outstanding days along the rocks. Farther inland the folks who prefer to stay in the lake will be in for action the gulls for trout and roaming schools of redfish. The shad will also begin to gang up out in the open lake so keep an eye out for that to happen because the trout and reds won't be far behind that floating buffet.

Still farther inland the folks who like to congregate in the deeper water along the rivers and ICW will also have their own little piece of heaven as long as we don't get too much rain. As long as that deeper water stays salty the fish will be there in force and waiting on a good tide change to chow down on a variety of baits including shad, shrimp and mullet. Anchoring up on good secondary points and breaks as well as the mouths of the marsh drains will prove very effective for those who enjoy fishing at a slower and more leisurely pace.

I will be probing the backwater marshes in search of redfish and hoping that all the damage from Ike hasn't hurt either fishery too much. After Rita we saw tons of small redfish show up and grow into perfect slot reds over the next year or so, hopefully we will get the same benefit from Ike. Regardless of what these fish do there will be a significant learning curve for those who run this kind of water. For many folks, especially tournament anglers who love to get in there and chase those fish, there will be a whole new world to figure out. Many of the ditches and small bayous that gave access to these remote areas are now totally impassable from all the debris left over from the storm. Much to the dismay of many folks these areas will never be the same and some of the best water out there could be gone for who knows how long.

In the meantime I will concentrate my efforts on the areas that are still fishable and continue to scout for new ways to access more water. The water temperatures at this time of the year will really promote some aggressive behavior from the redfish and the strikes will be some of the most vicious you will see all year. I will continue to throw the weightless soft plastics and topwaters because they are just way too much fun to catch fish on. I could probably do better on a few different baits but the results I have been getting while using the frogs, tubes, and topwaters has been just fine in my book. I do however plan on catching more of these fish on fly this summer, fly fishing is addictive and I am hooked if I do say so myself. A growing number of clients have expressed interest in learning the long rod and I look forward to the increased challenge and adventure that will accompany these trips. The satisfaction you get when you do land one of these beautiful fish on fly is a real rush, a great accomplishment in any angler's book.

Perhaps one of the greatest joys of the month of May is the fact that the kids get out of school and we'll have more opportunity to include them in our fishing plans. One of the best methods I know for putting a great trip together with kids is to rig live shad under a popping cork, this is just money in the bank. A #3 non-weighted popping cork above a 1/2-ounce egg sinker and barrel swivel gets you started. Tie a 3-foot leader to the swivel and use a 3/0 or 4/0 Kahle hook. Hook the shad or finger mullet through the eye socket and drift behind the boat. Give the cork a good pop on a regular frequency. This method has produced countless fish for us during the summer months and it will be extremely user friendly for the kids. Everybody loves to see the cork go under I don't care who you are or what you say, you know you like it.

This summer will mean more time on the front of my skiff fishing instead of poling now that my son Hunter has grown enough to handle that chore and we have agreed to split some time. The opportunity to let him push me around the skinny water will be one that have looked forward to for a long time. Hunter is easily my favorite person to fish with and to have him "guide" dad will be a real treat to say the least. It's been a whole lot of fun watching him turn into a dang good fisherman and I am really proud of that fact, as if you couldn't tell.

Anyway folks this a great month to get out and enjoy one of many patterns that will be readily available this month. May is fisherman friendly because the weather gets right and the ugly scorching summer sun is not quite here yet so take advantage of the fact. Enjoy your time on the water and be sure to take a kid the next time you go fishing.