Mid-Coast Bays: June 2023

Mid-Coast Bays: June 2023
My niece Morgan Gray enjoying a family wade fishing trip.

April and May was pretty much a rollercoaster; one day we’d have north wind and the next could be southwest and raining. Probably not a newsflash to any who has fished the mid-coast regularly in recent weeks. Redfish were our saviors many days, due to the highly changeable weather and inability to fish our favorite springtime trout areas. However, the trout fishing was very good when we could work unprotected portions of San Antonio and West Matagorda bays. Now that the summer weather pattern is becoming established, I look for trout opportunity to improve significantly, especially if we keep getting this much needed rain.

San Antonio Bay, West Matagorda Bay, and the surf, are areas I like to focus on this time of year. When the wind is calm it is really hard to beat the surf. For whatever reason the trout we catch out there are much more aggressive than in the bays. The variety of species is also pretty cool. It is not uncommon to encounter Spanish mackerel, pompano, tarpon, and occasionally tripletail in addition to specks and reds.

West Matagorda’s Ranch House shoreline and spoil banks along the Ship Channel should never be overlooked during the summer months. Mostly off-limits during periods with strong wind, but now that our summer pattern is in full swing the wind won’t often be an issue. When fishing the Ranch House shoreline it is imperative to work structure such as grassbeds, sandbars, and guts. One of my recent go-to lures for fishing shoreline structures like these is the Texas Customs Double D. The unique action it provides will awaken and draw strikes from even the most sluggish trout and redfish.

Speaking of shorelines, if you are the type that enjoys the challenge of fishing for reds that hang in shallow water over lush bottom grasses, then listen up. Redfish are currently very plentiful and seagrass is flourishing, but getting a lure to the coppery brutes isn’t always easy. A weedless setup is required and my two favorites are a Texas-rigged Bass Assassin and a 1/2-ounce weedless gold spoon. I highly recommend you carry a couple of each in your wade box.

Flocks of birds working in the open bays will be more common now that shrimp are on the move. I have many customers who get really excited when they notice a flock of birds wheeling and diving repeatedly. I wish I could share their excitement but I know what lurks under our birds is almost always smaller trout, skipjacks, and many, many gafftop. I am aware that anglers have great success working the birds when fishing in East Matagorda and other bays but, unfortunately, it just isn’t often the case in our area. With that being said, there is one notable exception.

If you ever happen to notice birds working close to the crown of a reef; you could be in luck! For whatever reason, the trout under the birds close to a reef are quite often better quality, with fewer of the less-desirable species. You may still catch some small ones in the mix but solid keeper-size trout will likely be more abundant.

Now that we are getting into summer, I cannot stress enough the importance of getting an early start to your fishing day. I am a stickler in making sure my crew and I are at our first fishing area before the sun begins to peek over the horizon. I’m not saying you will not catch fish in midday and afternoon hours. But I can tell you I have much greater confidence and success when fishing the early morning hours than I do in the hottest part of the day.

Wrapping up – Please remember that it is never okay to pull in close to anglers when you see they are hooking up on a good bite. Not only will you likely not get in on the action they’re enjoying; it is equally likely you could ruin it for the anglers that worked hard to find it. Take pride in finding your own fish on your own time. It will make things a lot more fun for everyone. I apologize if I appear to be preaching to the choir on this issue. And by this, I trust that anyone who has taken the time to read this article has greater interest in improving their own angling skills than simply horning in on their fellow angler’s good fortune.

Fish hard, fish smart!