Mid-Coast Bays: July 2023

Mid-Coast Bays: July 2023
Thank you Whitney Daws, Andrea Wilson, Magen Besancon, and Chelsy Williams for two refreshingly fun days on the water.

I’m not sure how summer arrived so quickly, but it’s here; whether we’re ready for it or not. As the years pass I have to say that I have grown to prefer the cooler months much more than the hotter ones. By hot, I’m talking July and August. These months bring their own special set of fishing challenges, many of which can be overcome by packing plenty of patience and getting an early start.

With the abundance of rainfall the past several months, I am happy to say our Mid-Coast Bays remain healthy with only the areas closest to the river mouths being fresher than normal. Hopefully we won’t get a repeat of 2021, when San Antonio Bay became almost completely inundated and remained so nearly the rest of the year.

If you are fond of sleeping late, July may be a tough month for you to be as successful as you might have been in the cooler months. With afternoon temperatures reaching close to 100° most days, the coolest part of the day is usually when the fish tend to feed more aggressively. I prefer to be on the water at least an hour before sunrise to take advantage of the overnight cooling.

I still prefer my trusty Bass Assassin 4-inch Sea Shad of various colors depending on water clarity, but whenever I see lots of morning surface activity I’ll likely opt for a small topwater like the Super Spook Jr., in either clear or bone color. Most July mornings will be quite calm so, even though I love my She Dogs and He Dogs, a smaller and less obnoxious floater will usually draw more strikes.

I had the exceptional pleasure recently to guide four accomplished women anglers for two days of wade fishing. Like most anglers, they don’t get on the water as often as they would like, and it was refreshing for me when they mentioned it would be mostly a catch and release trip, with only one of the ladies wanting a few for dinner. I love all my clients and appreciate a good fish dinner from time to time, but I would be lying if didn’t say how much I enjoyed these ladies’ attitudes toward conservation. Their appreciation of each catch was such a delight to witness.

In my 21 years of guiding, I often get so focused on producing bites that I sometimes forget to enjoy the other more relaxing aspects of fishing. The conversations with this group was a joy and covered topics from hair and clothing, to types of yummy desserts, and talks of places we’d like to spend a vacation. Quite often we’d be interrupted with a loud, “Woo-Hoo, I got another one,” as one of the group hooked up. We also discussed a range of fishing topics, such as types of structure and lure selection. I also want to compliment them on their patience. Patience is never more important than during these hottest months.

While wading an area with thick bottom grass between sandy guts, I enjoyed coaching two of the ladies to use one of the best “forgotten” baits – the weedless gold spoon. Spoons cast like bullets and require little effort to present effectively. I prefer the 1/2-ounce spoon over the 1/4-ounce, for ease of casting and also because the hooks are stronger.

If by chance your reel is spooled with monofilament, it is imperative to rig with a quality barrel swivel to eliminate line twist that often occurs when retrieving this lure. Braided line has virtually no memory, so line twist isn’t nearly so troublesome. I do, however, recommend a heavy mono or fluorocarbon leader between the braid and the lure – if for no other reason than to reduce the visibility of the line.

The spoons and lots of patience produced some great redfish bites for the ladies, including a personal best specimen for Whitney Daws. I’m pretty sure she is sold on the spoon and will keep one in her wade box from here on out.

So, the takeaway for fishing success in July is getting a very early start and packing plenty of patience. If you find an area that is holding a few fish, stick with it. Summertime water sometimes gets a bit crowded, which can limit options on other places to try. If the area you are fishing is giving up a few fish, rather than running around and looking for another spot, just be patient. Take a break, and then wade through it again. You may get a pleasant surprise.