Mid-Coast Bays: June 2024

Mid-Coast Bays: June 2024
The Texas surf never ceases to surprise; like getting into a school of bull reds within yards of the Matagorda Island beach.

Up until the first week of May we were primarily fishing springtime areas, meaning back-lakes and other backcountry waters. Since then our focus has shifted to more summertime patterns as bottom grasses have begun to flourish along major bay shorelines and hold better numbers of trout and redfish. The seasonal migration of menhaden coming into our bays and schools of mullet roaming the guts of these shorelines are another big factor in this transition.

There is no set date that I switch my attention from one area to the other; I go more with what seems to be unfolding in front of me with each day that I spend on the water. When you spend every day in the fish’s environment you get to witness firsthand how they are transitioning from the backwaters towards the main bay shorelines.

When switching from springtime to summertime patterns you will also see a change in how long I keep certain lures tied at the end of my leader. You will see more of the Texas Custom Lures Double D’s in the colors of Crown Royal and Bay Mistress making a showing over the shallow grass beds. This lure has made me a better fisherman, enabling me to catch trout and reds from grassy flats during midday hours, where it often seems the fish are mostly sulking and not feeding actively.

My lure selection also begins to include more time spent with topwaters, though perhaps not as much as some of my clients who seem to just live for the thrill that surface lures provide. Just remember someone in your group needs to have one tied on. If that’s what the fish want on a given day, I too will tie one on.

My tried and true Saltwater Assassins will remain a mainstay of my lure selections. On the shallowest of flats I will have the 4” Sea Shad in Purple Chicken or Magic Grass tied on, the paddletail seems to help me get more strikes in the often clear, shallow water. Along drop-offs and deeper guts, I’ll switch to the 5” rattail Saltwater Assassins. This lure seems to draw more strikes for me in the deeper water and my go-to colors are the same as the 4” Assassin baits. As far as jighead size, I have long been a believer in the 1/16-ounce Bass Assassin jighead to keep the lure hovering longer in the strike zone.

Hopefully, June will also give us some calm days to allow exploring the many reefs of San Antonio and Mesquite Bays. When fishing the reefs I will be mainly depending on my Saltwater Assassins but I let the fish dictate which lures they’re most willing to eat.

When selecting a reef, or for that matter any of the areas I have mentioned, I look first and foremost for the presence of baitfish. You also want to have some type of water movement. Water movement can be generated by tide or wind, they are both effective in moving water across and along the reef structure. Birds are another bonus, whether resting or feeding; birds are often an assurance of plentiful bait, even if it’s not visible and active.

And, we’ll hopefully get the opportunity to fish the gulf surf during June. The surf is my all-time favorite place to fish. It just seems like the trout hit harder, fight harder, and are generally of larger size than bay fish. I fish the surf both from the boat by trolling motor and by wading. Topwaters are dynamite in the shallow guts and soft plastics can draw lots of strikes in all depths, although you’ll likely need to switch to 1/4-ounce jigs for the deeper water.

I want to mention a product that I have been using lately, and that is Osprey Ultra-Premium Monofilament Leader Material. Longtime user of fluorocarbon leader material, I always had to make sure my knots were moistened sufficiently to prevent weakening during the tightening process. And even with 20-lb fluorocarbon, I never liked the stiffness, fearing it might restrict the freedom of lure movement. On a whim I tried a spool of the Osprey Ultra-Premium. It is a premium monofilament with plenty of flexibility and it also comes in a small spool with a built-in line keeper to keep the spool from unraveling in my shirt pocket. Give it a try, its available at all the finer tackle stores and also on-line.

Fish hard, fish smart!
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