Reports & Forecasts: July 2024

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - silverkingadventures.com - 409.935.7242
James had good luck fishing for trout on trips prior to giving this report. “We’ve been doing well wading lately, with a good topwater bite on small lures like She Pups some of the time, and a good bite on hard baits at times too. The water looks pretty sketchy and tastes pretty fresh in some of these places, but the trout are there, for people willing to deal with the sloppy water. Most of these areas are in the southern extremes of the bay system, closer to the gulf. This should continue to be the case moving into the heat of the summer. With so much freshwater moving down both rivers over the last couple months, the fish have been forced out of the upper parts of the bays. When this happens, West Bay and Lower Galveston Bay often produce the best results. We will continue to wade much of the time, until we hit the hottest part of summer, sometime in July. Then, we do better fishing deep structures out of the boat, keying on slicks and bait. Even if we still have dirty freshwater on top, there’s usually salty water near the bottom in the deeper water.”

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
Jim was excited about the prospects of fishing in the Bolivar surf when we talked. “We’ve got a light NW wind right now, and I just went to take a look at the water in the pocket. I think we’ll probably whack ‘em pretty good in the morning. This is predictable, with all the freshwater influx into Galveston Bay lately. The fish get pressured into the southern parts of the system, and eventually the jetties and the surf are better than most places in the bays. We have had a good run catching trout on the south shoreline of East Bay recently, but it appears to have come to an abrupt end. The water is really fresh in there right now, so I expect deeper areas to become better than the shallow parts. In the deeper parts out on the middle, there’s usually a layer of salty water close to the bottom, and the fish will concentrate in such places in big numbers. So, moving into July, if the water doesn’t get significantly more salty, the best fishing in this area will likely be out of a boat, either around the deeper reefs, or at the jetties.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323
Like many other fishing guides working the coastal waters of Texas, Randall eagerly anticipates calm weather, so he can run some charters in the surf during July. “We’re watching the surf lately, waiting for the green water to move in close to the beach, so we can head out that way and throw topwaters at the trout. That’s one of the most enjoyable ways to catch them, for sure. The predators have lots of food available to them lately, as our area is loaded with bay anchovies, mullet, shad, glass minnows, ballyhoo and ribbonfish. When it’s like this, people who can match the hatch do better than people who stubbornly stick to the same lures all the time. Lately, we’ve had a great bite on topwaters with blue and chrome on them. If I find a bunch of ribbonfish in a place, I like to switch over to white Skitter Walks, which seem to mimic the slender, silver fish better. Our best fishing in July usually happens with a moderately strong tide coming in during the morning hours. Tides moving too strongly can muddy the water. On boat-fishing charters, live shrimp is usually the ticket to fast catching.”

Matagorda Bays | Capt. Glenn Ging
Glenn’s Guide Service - 979.479.1460
www.glennsguideservice.com
The heat has already arrived. July brings calmer days and hopefully plenty of good shots at fishing the surf and jetties. In the heat of the summer, we look for fish in deeper water and areas with good current flow. When the summer heats up, I like to drift deeper shell in East Matagorda Bay, fish deeper reefs and wells in West Matagorda Bay, and hit the jetties and surf any time the opportunity presents itself. This is the time of year you don’t want to hit the snooze button too many times, as the early morning bite can be the best of the day. At the time of writing this report, redfish have been pretty sparse, with most caught by waders on the shorelines on paddletail plastics and a few coming out of the back-lakes on live and cut-bait. Drum have pretty numerous on shrimp along shallow reefs. Trout numbers are noticeably better, with some good ones up to 28 inches being caught drifting with live shrimp under Coastal Corks and soft plastics like Bass Assassin 5” Sea Shads on eighth-ounce jigheads. Fishing in July can be really consistent, so don’t pass up a chance to get out early and try it.

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam
www.palaciosguideservice.com - 979.240.8204
Fishing is great heading into summer in the Palacios area. We’ve been smoking the redfish and black drum on shell points and pads in about three feet of water. Live shrimp rigged about two feet under popping corks have been the best bait. We’ve also been peeling shrimp on days when the water is muddy for more scent. Trout are in their hot weather patterns, lurking over deep reefs and shell pads in twelve to fourteen feet of water in West Matagorda Bay. Tripletail are starting to show up and we’ve seen some bruisers pushing 20 pounds. Most any structure, floating seaweed or trash will attract these fish. Live shrimp rigged about a foot under corks works good for floaters, while a five-foot drop works better around structures. July should bring some good surf fishing days. I can’t think of a better way to start a day than to see the sun coming up and trout busting topwaters in the first gut. Flounder gigging should also improve in July as bigger fish start to move in. We have lots of juveniles in the bays right now. Pea gravel shell bottoms hold the bigger fish.

Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service - 361.935.6833
In July, Lynn likes to get an early start and take advantage of the cooler temperatures and typically hot bite. “This is one of the best months of the year to get in the surf to target trout. Normally, after the 4th of July, winds settle down significantly, and we have plenty of good days to head out along the beachfront. Out there, the drill is well established. We like to get out of the boat and wade, staying really close to the beach early, targeting the trout in the first gut, sometimes in the second gut. They’re normally aggressive in the relatively cool water, and topwaters work great most of the time. As the sun heats up the sky and the water, the bite is normally better in the deeper guts, so we move away from the beach and sometimes switch over to soft plastics or sinking twitchbaits, especially if it’s a sunny day. When we’re not fishing the surf, we like to stay on flats close to the pass or the jetties, where deep water with plenty of current is close by. We sometimes start finding lots of trout lurking around spoil humps between POC and Port Lavaca in July.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake says the fishing in the Coastal Bend has continued excellent throughout the spring, and he expects the bite to be consistent this summer too. “We’re just now hitting that time when the water temps rise into the 80s and stay there all the time. Generally, this means we’ll have a period when topwaters work well on a daily basis for a while. When that’s true, I like to fish in the surf as much as possible, also along some of the shorelines with lots of sandy potholes breaking up a grassy bottom. Once the weather gets even hotter, say after the middle of July, we tend to do better throwing soft plastics, Gulp! lures, and of course by wading with live croakers. We will start fishing with live bait some of the time, when conditions are tougher. But, when conditions are right, the topwater bite does tend to stay good out on the surf, right on through the end of summer. Out there, the action is often best the first two days after the green water hits the beach. If the weather stays calm for longer than that, and the water becomes crystal clear, the bite can become tougher again.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] - 361.563.1160
In July, crowds are big on the waters of Baffin Bay and the ULM, and for good reason. The fishing is usually about as hot as the weather. This time of year, we like to target our trout and redfish in relatively shallow water, depths less than about three feet, during the early-morning hours. The fish like to chase the bait into the cool water late at night and they linger in the shallows for a while after the sun comes up. Some days, we catch plenty of trout on topwaters right after daybreak, and MirrOlure Catch 5s work well lots of days too, as long as the amount of floating and suspended grass is reasonable. Of course, as the days heat up, the locations where we fish change somewhat. We find the bite better late in the mornings and in the middle of July days in deeper water, around rocks in Baffin or along deeper grassy edges and drop-offs in the Laguna Madre. The bite in those places at those times is usually better on soft plastics rigged on eighth or sixteenth-ounce jigheads. Fishing for drum by sight-casting in potholes on shallow flats also works great during the heat of the day.”

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez - www.sightcast1.com - 361.877.1230
In July, Joe ranks several similar places near the top of his favorite spots for fishing in hot weather. “I like places with some structure covered by shallow water lying relatively close to deep water this time of year. The Kenedy Shoreline, including Rocky Slough and Summer House, meet that description. We always do well this time of year when winds are relatively light, throwing at the outside edges of the rocks lying close to the drop-off down there. Of course, the ICW and the Yarbrough Basin are close by, and they’re both relatively deep. Yarbrough has the deepest water in all the ULM, except for the ICW, in fact, and the flats near Baldy and at the Gutters produce good catching this time of year. Early in the mornings, the fishing is better well up on the flats, and later in the day, fishing in the deeper water along the drop-offs works better. I have also had great luck at times around some of the big rock formations in Baffin in hot weather. This includes the rocks at Penascal and across the Riviera Channel in the south end of the Badlands, also Cathead and East Kleberg’s rocks.”

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
361.877.3583 - Oceanepics.com
The speckled trout bite has been hot lately, with many crashing topwaters, and also soft plastics and slow-sinking twitchbaits. This time of year, the baitballs really start to materialize offshore, making it all the way to the beaches some afternoons. These frenzies can involve jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel, skipjacks and tarpon. Throwing spoons or topwaters should easily result in regular hookups. Redfish are still around though numbers are dwindling – mostly being overrun by skipjacks, which are extremely fun to catch, especially on light tackle or fly. Shrimp and Fish-Bites will produce whiting and possibly a few pompano and drum. In July, shrimp boats working in the gulf typically pulls a lot of the smaller blacktip sharks offshore. Meanwhile, fishing the hot stagnant nights will produce some monster tiger, bull, and hammerhead sharks. This time of year, it’s “go big or go home.” Running smaller shark baits like whiting usually attracts a scalloped hammerhead or more likely a large ray. Mature southern and roughtail rays are abundant in the shallows, feeding on crustaceans and small fish.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza
Snookdudecharters.com - 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge - 956.944.4000
Schooling redfish can often be found around the jetties and in the surf during July, as can tarpon, king mackerel and jack crevalle. Catching many of these fish requires the use of wire leaders. On the inshore side, the Saucer area is a great place to fish during summer. Staying within a couple hundred yards of the ICW is often the key to locating fish. The early-morning topwater bite is reliably good, especially on Mansfield Knockers in colors like Bone Daddy, Ruby Tuesday and Zombie. This area also produces a few oversized trout. As for soft plastics, I like all the KWigglers lures on either eighth or sixteenth-ounce jigheads, depending depth and current strength. Preferred colors are Mansfield Margarita, Lagunaflauge, Bone Diamond and Plum-Chartreuse, depending on water clarity. Winds are typically lighter in July and the west shoreline usually holds plenty of trout and reds, both north and south of Port Mansfield. Keep an eye on the slightly deeper water for schools of redfish, which look like dark spots in the green water. I personally like to get in the mid-thigh to waist-deep water and work topwaters on the west side, always keeping an eye on the shallows for tailing reds.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Aaron Cisneros | tightlinescharters.com - 956.639.1941
With warmer water temperatures becoming the norm as we head into summer, trout fishing has been most reliable on flats lying close to the ICW, and along the edges of the ditch itself. No surprise, given how quickly the water temperatures have risen over the past few weeks. Lately, we are finding trout ranging from 15 to 25 inches mixed together. A solid plan for avoiding smaller fish congregated near the surface and mid-way in the water column is to work a four-inch Z-Man StreakZ rigged on a 3/8-ounce Eye-Strike Trout-Eye jighead close to bottom in the deeper channels. Redfish generally focus their attention on smaller forage this time of the year, so small lures work well to target them. Redfish have plentiful during early morning around spoil islands and adjacent shallow flats. Bone Spook Jrs rigged with single hooks to avoid floating grass have been producing plenty of hook ups. Later, after the day warms and the wind begins to pick up, we’re fishing grassy flats averaging about four-feet deep with weedless gold spoons and ZMan SwimmerZ in Golden Boy color.

 
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