Hooked Up:July 2024

Hooked Up:July 2024

Vincent Ebeier of New Orleans with a great catch for summertime; seven and a half pounds on Plum Bass Assassin. Released!

Down time on the boat this morning gives me opportunity to work on my article. My clients are here for three days focusing on redfish with hopes of landing one with a STAR tag. While the odds are not that great they’re still better than hoping to win the lotto. It’s happened twice in the past on my charters so there is that slim chance it could happen again. Regardless, a dang good excuse to go fishing.

The summer jam on the bay has been lots of wind during June, mixed with a lot of hope that it will start letting up soon. It has definitely had a detrimental impact on fishing when it blows more 20 mph. In years past this has never been a big deal to me but we have a little something extra in the bay now, and that is brown tide. The water is tainted on even low-wind days, but structure can still be seen and catching continues. On a good blow we would call it trout green without the algae, still see our potholes, make good casts, and get hit. Now, that cloudy green color is more like coffee with a touch of creamer. Me, being out here every day, I know where the structure is even when I cannot see it, but extra casts are always part of the game when you can’t see a specific target. Utilizing lures with lots of vibration, rattle, and bright colors is almost essential on these days.

Outside of tropical storms, which are predicted to be numerous this summer, July conditions should be very stable, which should then translate into a more predictable bite. During algal blooms in years past the problem seemed to lessen the further we progressed into summer. In the case of a tropical event developing somewhere in the Coastal Bend, the surge of water from the Gulf of Mexico will almost always eliminate the brown tide. 

Regardless of algae blooms and lack of clarity on windy days, locating fish will be like any other July with regards to patterns. Focusing on nighttime feeding areas (shallow flats) is always where we will park the Haynie on any given morning. Having quick access to deep water near those shallow feeding zones is always the best case scenario when fishing in the Laguna and Baffin. This has never been more prevalent than it is now as the trout seem to hit the deep stuff almost immediately upon the first sound of an outboard buzzing by.

I’ve discussed my thoughts on this with many seasoned anglers and most of us are on the same page regarding how quickly the trout will abandon the shallow feeding zones nowadays. There is also belief that the trout have acclimated to such pressure by feeding primarily at night and then heading for the safety of deeper water at the first hint of dawn. One thing I know for certain is that they have always fed heavily in the cover of darkness.

Throughout the 90s and into the mid-2000s, I fished almost exclusively at night during summer, with tremendous success, I might add. Of course, the pressure wasn’t nearly as bad then, although we often thought it was, but I also enjoyed the peace and quiet of zero outboards, maximizing my sense of hearing, taking advantage of calmer conditions, cooler air temps, and having a chance at giant trout that fed almost exclusively during the cover of darkness. I’ll tell you that it worked well many times for me and a handful of friends I would let tag along occasionally. Saying that, I’m just telling y’all how I did it way back when. However, there is way too much liability to do it on charters, so don’t even ask me to go down that rabbit hole. Besides, I’m much older now and need my sleep.

In closing, water temps are high. Handling any game fish, especially trout, needs to be done efficiently and getting them back in the water as quickly as possible. In the excitement of landing fish and making photos, folks lose track of how long the fish has been out of the water. In this heat it’s critical to keep them under the water while staging photos and removing hooks. If a hook is giving you trouble, don’t work on it for more than 15 seconds without getting the fish back under water for a bit to let it breathe again. Makes all the difference in releasing them healthy versus floating off.

Remember the Buffalo! -Capt David Rowsey

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