February’s freeze was dang bad for all of us, on many different levels, but this heat holding steady in the 90s already is not any more fun for me. I'm forever thankful that I have a pool to jump into everyday when I get off the water, wash the salt off and swim with dogs instead of jellyfish. Life is good and can't imagine having it any other way.
I'm proud to say that the majority of anglers and guides have really taken to catch and release of all trout down here on the Upper Laguna and Baffin. Of course, there are some holdouts that don't get the big picture and are too close-minded to comprehend that the fishery can't forever withstand the relentless amount of pressure by all users and the wrath of Mother Nature at the same time. Bottom line, my opinion, we need to have at least two, if not three years of the three fish bag limit up and down the Texas coast. Long term, the 2021 freeze could ultimately be a good thing for the numbers and quality of trout on the Texas coast, if…big if…TPWD sees fit to manage the bays for not only numbers but quality as well.
I am often asked, "How has the trout fishing been since the freeze?" My most honest assessment is that trout bites are probably down by 70%. Saying that, there are many days we will go out and catch 50-70 trout, which makes for a fun day. However, of those numbers, the vast majority measure less than 17-inches. Having said that, we are managing to stick a few solid trout from 3- to 4-pounds (up to 6 pounds on special days). The flip side of that is the very next day you may have only 10 trout, with no obvious reason or change in conditions. It’s a headscratcher to say the least, and one of the strangest seasons I have ever experienced.
Redfish seemed to have done very well, coming through the freeze much better than trout. We are catching lots of them on a daily basis. For that reason they are getting more pressure and thrown in the box at a much higher rate than I've seen in the past.
Captain Joey Farah made a social media post on the subject the other day: "Everyone is hunting redfish! In the last few weeks every guide and sport fisherman is targeting reds. I've seen more dead redfish on the hooks than were killed in the freeze for sure, hands down. With the drop in trout numbers there is more and more pressure on redfish and drum. SPORTFISHING is not kill as many as you can! It's elevating your skills and bringing fish to hand after outwitting them with casting equipment."
Well said, Captain. I couldn't agree more. It gives me hope that more and more seasoned guides are taking Joey's stance and doing what needs to be done to insure we have a great fishery for the future.
For myself and clients, June has always been a top month for pure fishing and catching. The girth of the trout is not what it was in March, but skinny bellies still need to eat. With a fresh bait supply coming in from the passes, followed by some migrating trout, many days will be “more catching than fishing." Redfish and black drum will be filling the flats on a daily basis, and after a morning of trout fishing, sight-casting these mud apes makes for a great day of sport fishing. If this mixed bag of fishing interests you, call and set it up…. sooner than later.
My wade box will be undergoing some modifications for the rest of the summer. Topwaters will come into play much more than they have during the cooler months. MirrOlure’s Pro Dog and She Dog will both be stacked deep in the lure box. While the Paul Brown Originals (Corky) produce year round, I rely more heavily on the MirrOdine for its faster sink rate and exceptional flash that imitates all species of baitfish so well. Of course, I am never without my trusty 5" Bass Assassins (rattail). As far as redfish, I lean heavily on paddletails, especially the Bass Assassin 4" Sea Shad. My latest top pick of reels are the new Concept A2 and C2 models. These ball bearing reels of are of the best quality and longevity that I have used in a long time. I'm spooling all reels with 40# Seaguar Smackdown Braid.
Remember the buffalo! -Capt David Rowsey