Mid-Coast Bays: July 2024

Mid-Coast Bays: July 2024
Karen Petru was happy to show off her beautiful multi-spotted redfish.

Summer is without a doubt the busiest season on the water. Boat traffic seems at least double compared with other seasons and I especially dread fishing on the weekends. At the same time though, I cannot blame all the folks anxious to get on the water and enjoy the great outdoors.

Summer fishing patterns are now in full swing and will likely hold until fall. So, with that in mind I am going to recommend a few strategies that might help you find success during this high-pressure, high-temperature fishing season.

Fishing has been very good lately with my go-to locations being mostly hard sand bottoms and oyster reefs. Water quality in San Antonio and neighboring bays has been very healthy lately due to some recent local rainfall and also more rain just north of us. Healthy water conditions help tremendously when it comes to all our game fish species but especially speckled trout. Speckled trout thrive best in stable salinity levels and we have been blessed in this regard through most of the spring and early summer season.

I know I probably sound like a broken record when I stress the importance of first locating bait when selecting an area to fish. Luckily, our bays and back lakes all hold abundant bait this time of year. You will see glass minnows, shad, mullet, shrimp, and more. So, finding bait is usually not a problem. However, the way that bait is acting is what will give you a better idea of what an area might provide.

I have pulled into areas with plenty of bait showing, thinking it might have potential, but after watching for a few minutes it’s easy to tell that it’s not actively jumping (fleeing predators) or acting nervous. As good as it might look at first glance, this is a sign to move on to another area.

Another great tip for this time of year is to pack your patience. If you find yourself fishing an area that often produces some fish, but maybe not as much as you had hoped for, stick with it a little longer. With more traffic on the water, you can figure you will only get about two good stops before nearly all the water will qualify as having already “been used.”

By this I mean that with the higher than normal traffic, more than likely, there will not be much water that hasn’t been fished by several other boaters before you get there. Catching can become almost nonexistent until the area and the fish have time to settle down and resume normal activity. This bit of advice comes from my many years of experience. I can’t tell you how many times in the beginning of my guiding career that I have been quick to leave an area that I didn’t think was producing enough…and later regretted my decision almost every time. Don’t be so quick to leave. Some days it is better to work for them than riding around from area to area.

In closing I feel I need to give readers a heads-up on something that is very concerning and has been occurring all too frequently of late. Every summer we see our fair share of sharks, even in very shallow water. This year I have been seeing more than ever before. Not only am I seeing more sharks than in years past, but some of these sharks are anything but bashful, and even downright dangerous at times.

On several occasions, both Gary and I have had too many aggressive encounters with some not-so-small sharks. They were determined to get the fish on our stringers no matter how shallow we were fishing. Their behavior is alarming because these sharks are not concerned about our presence in the least bit and, in fact, they are targeting us on our wades.

Please be super vigilant about wading this summer. Use long stringers and keep fish away from your body. Even fish bags aren’t safe from these aggressive sharks. If you see a shark feeding in your immediate area, don’t get comfortable thinking that they will move away once they see you nearby because honestly, that has not been the case.

I hope these tips help you become more successful in catching this summer. Please pack your patience, drink lots of water, cover up and wear lots of sunscreen. And always be aware of your surroundings!

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