Reports & Forecasts: July 2007

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
July is one of Jeff's favorite months. The temperatures may be hot, but the fishing is even hotter. All the spots that are good in June are usually even better in July. Added options in July include the Cameron Jetties, the Calcasieu Ship Channel, the surf and the close rigs in the Gulf. Soft plastics are still the lures of choice, primarily in lighter, brighter colors. Clear, opening night and glow Sand Eels will all be quite productive. Dark colors such as smoke and avocado in H & H beetles and grubs will also produce their share of bites. The largest speckled trout ever taken in Jeff's boat was caught on topwater in mid-July at high noon on a slick, calm day. Don't be afraid to throw topwaters throughout the month at any time and place because the big trout are still around. July begins the prime season for offshore trips since the weather is generally calm and the seas light. Cobia should be available around the deeper structures, with tripletail abundant around shallower structures and under floating debris. Spanish mackerel will roam nearshore in big schools.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
Action in the Galveston area has been about as hot as the weather, James reports. "You can catch limits all over the place when winds are light. The Ship Channel spoils, East Bay reefs and open water areas in Lower Galveston Bay are all producing good numbers of fish, mostly two to four pounders, with the occasional five pounder. Best action has been on Bass Assassins in dark colors like pumpkin/chartreuse when drifting, though the topwaters are working well for waders early in the morning. Locating fish has been relatively easy with all the slicks and birds working. When it gets windier, wading will work better, especially on leeward shorelines." James expects the trout action to continue to sizzle throughout the summer, especially if the calm conditions hold. "We've sighted a few tarpon in the bays, but none yet offshore. We are catching some sharks and mackerel, and the silver kings should show up with them any time now. Usually, July is the standard time when we start to see and hook up with some tarpon on a regular basis."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
"When tides are right and winds are light, the fishing is real easy around here," Jim says. "On windier days, the bite is a little tougher, but even on those days, we are managing to catch some decent numbers of fish. Best lure of late is the Stanley Wedge Tail, particularly in light colors when the water's muddied up by the wind. Primarily, we are working slicks in open water to locate our best fish. Birds are working too, and some of the schools under them are solid keepers, but focusing on the slicks produces better fish on average. When you find slicks popping on unmarked deep reefs, you'll likely find easy limits of trout. The four tide days allow for good fishing closer to the channel, whereas the stronger tide movement on the two tide days makes the back of the bay better." He mentions that the beachfront has started to show some promise and give up some big trout, in areas from the North Jetty to Rollover Pass. "There was a run at the pass not long ago. Some really nice trout were caught on the outside on a strong outgoing tide."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Freshwater runoff from the Brazos River has things messed up somewhat in the San Luis Pass area, according to Randall. "It's orange water out there in a lot of places and that's not good. We tried the beachfront this morning, and it was calm, bait everywhere, but the water in the first hundred yards or so from the beach was just a mess. The winds lately have been pushing it over here and holding it right on the beach. We took a drive yesterday afternoon on the four wheeler looking at the surf for about forty miles, and it seems to be clearing up over by the San Bernard, so it should be good for us in the next week or so. We are mostly drifting open water in West Bay and keying on slicks in about five feet of water. Best lure has been a Norton Shrimp in glow color. Some topwater action too, especially when we can get into the surf and it's right." Like others, he reports shark encounters lately. I've taken to using a plastic box rigged to float. The sharks try to get into it, but wind up just pushing it around like a man with no fingernails trying to pick up a nickel."

Matagorda | Don Wood
Bay Guide Service | 979.240.4137
"We have been catching some pretty good trout in East Bay over the last few weeks," says Don. "I had a customer catch one last week that was barely over twenty six inches and weighed seven and a half pounds. Topwaters have been taking most of the good trout over there, with some coming on live shrimp too. Best bet for fishing East Bay is to pick the light wind days. North shoreline reefs are producing best, especially when there is good tide movement. The mid-bay reefs just haven't kicked off for us yet, but they might any time now." He says the wading in West Bay is good for reds lately. "We are catching fairly easy limits of reds at times wading West Bay. Skitter Walks are best over there, and we get some decent trout mixed in too. But the sharks are back and making life difficult. You just can't expect to string fish without having them eaten by "the man in the gray suit." Keep an eye out for sharks when handling your fish when wading. They won't hesitate to try and take your catch right out of your hand!"

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
With ten inches of rain flowing into the bay system, the fish have congregated in back lakes and around deep structures out in front of Palacios. Local back lakes are stacked with bait fish and hungry reds. Quality slot fish up to 27 inches have been feeding on pearl Skitterwalks, clown Shedogs, and halloween Super Spooks. Gulp soft plastics in rootbeer gold and new penny continue to be hot when the reds want something under the surface. Trout have moved off the shorelines and can be located at the sunken barges and gas wells out in Tres Palacios Bay. DOA shrimp fished about five to six feet below Cajun Thunder corks have been coaxing lots of bites lately. The tripletail action has been fair, but the freshwater runoff has moved most fish back towards POC. Barring any more floods, next month should be a great one for redfish, trout, and tripletail too. Our focus will be on sand and grass shorelines early, and then we'll move out to deeper water around structures in the bay as the temperatures rise during the day.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn expects to be fishing deep grass flats with scattered sand pockets throughout the remainder of the hot period. "We'll be wading anywhere from waist to chest deep water, as deep as we can stand it in the heat of the day. Of course, we'll be throwing topwaters a lot of the time, especially chrome ones. Chrome with blue back has become my favorite. When the topwater bite slows, we'll switch over to the worm mostly. I like the Bass Assassins in plum/chartreuse and bone diamond, which is a nice color when the water's real clear. Clear water should be prevalent more and more of the time as we get into the light winds of summer. Then the beachfront will be the place to be. I've been able to get out there twice so far, and we whacked 'em both times on topwaters. Should be able to get out there a lot more in the near future and easy limits of solid fish should be snapping at our floating plugs." Like Don Wood, he reports that the sharks in West Matagorda have shown up. "I'm dragging a cooler on a float to keep them off our fish."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
"Fishing is fair to good to at times excellent in the Rockport area," Blake says. "We are catching enough trout on topwaters to justify the effort, especially early in the morning. Calm nights seem to make for a better topwater bite in the morning. When the wind blows all night, it's not as good. When we get off the floating plugs, we turn to our old standby offerings, the Norton Sand Eels in dark colors with chartreuse tails. In July, I'll be targeting flats close to deep water, starting shallow early and moving closer to the drop offs as it gets warmer. I'll throw my topwaters as much as possible, especially the chrome ones. When we go to the surf, I really like the topwaters. Down here, the surf will stay clear in medium winds, but you really need a fairly calm night to get out there and function properly. Anchoring the boat can be difficult, even dangerous, in winds over twelve to fifteen knots. I will be heading to the beachfront as much as I can as we get into summer. Normally, we have west winds early morning, which flattens the surf and makes it easier to fish."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
Typically July has some of the calmest and clearest water of the year in the surf of PINS and tide levels remain low throughout the month. Although patchy Sargassum is still possible in this summer month, it is usually not a severe problem. This is the best time of the year for speckled trout on topwater lures. Soft plastics, rattletraps, silver spoons and flies are also productive at times. By driving slowly along the water's edge, it is often possible to spot trout and redfish in shallow pockets and sightcast to them productively. Don't slam the truck door upon exiting in calm conditions. Sharks are numerous until inshore shrimping season begins around the 10th, and then they tend to pull more offshore and feed behind the shrimpers. Shark fishing from the beach is most productive during this time frame at night although sightcasting opportunities occur regularly in mid day. Tarpon, king mackerel, Atlantic bluefish and some redfish are available. Often live pilchards (shad) are the preferred bait for game fish. Whiting are present in good numbers as usual.

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The fishing in the Laguna Madre has been good, but the catching has been only fair in recent weeks. We have been catching good numbers of speckled trout on my charters, but the average size of the fish has decreased. We have also been catching many redfish that we've found in schools. I believe the recent cold fronts have been responsible for creating some tough fishing days, but on days when the weather has been nice we've been able to catch limits of both speckled trout and redfish. The Bass Assassin Slurp in pearl and good penny and Exude RT Slugs in bone diamond, plum/chartreuse and bloody white rigged on eighth ounce jig heads have been effective on both trout and reds. Live croakers have been available recently and they've been almost the right size to be really effective. About one half of my charters involve wadefishing and we almost always do better when we can get off of the boat and cover more of the area. Wading provides a quieter approach and allows us to stay in the fish longer once we locate them.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
Joe says that he's been on some good trout and redfish in a variety of locales in the last month or so. "I've been targeting flats and dropoffs from two to three foot depths and doing well on both trout and reds lately. We've been rigging Bass Assassins and Exude RT Slugs on eighth ounce heads mostly. Hot areas have been scattered from the south shoreline of Baffin through the meadows and up the spoil banks to the bridge area. I've actually been catching decent fish on both sides of the bridge on the flats. I'll probably continue to key on shallow areas up north most of the time this summer. With the clear water all over, it doesn't seem necessary to make the runs way south. In fact, I haven't heard many positive reports from the Land Cut and Nine Mile Hole this year. I would rather fish north if possible. During summer, I do well sight casting reds in shallow water in Shamrock and other flats off Corpus Bay. Whenever you get around good numbers of shallow reds in areas like those, there are usually a few big trout mixed in too."

Port Mansfield | Bruce & Brandon Shuler
GetAway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000
Bruce mentions that strange weather patterns have made for some interesting fishing in the Port Mansfield area. "This weather is really funky. The predictions just don't seem to hold true and with all the changing winds, fishing gets a little tough. We have been catching fish both inshore and offshore, but a little dose of regular summer weather patterns would help right now. In July, we'll be doing some night wading, throwing topwaters and dark soft plastics on flats adjacent to deep water. Most of the time, we'll stay in the immediate vicinity of the intracoastal. For our daytime fishing, we will start off super shallow after clear nights, then target the outside drop offs for trout when the sun gets up and the bait moves deeper. Mid-day, we'll fish waters falling from the chest deep to five feet or more. With the onset of the shrimping season, we'll be trying to get offshore as much as we can. There will be all manner of pelagic species behind the culling boats. Catching king mackeral on topwaters will be a priority."

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
Trout fishing has been phenomenal with the extra high spring tides. We're not sticking as many of the giant sows like in the 80's, but we're finding nice solid eighteen to twenty five inch fish on a regular basis with the occasional muy grande. The reds are still first priority on the daybreak drift, throwing half ounce gold or silver weedless spoons under windy conditions and the smaller chartreuse or red/white topwaters when it's slick calm. Running herds isn't necessary to bring in oversized fish; we're picking them up on the Maulers mid-morning drifting murky, slightly deeper potholes just off the back of the flats using Gulp shrimp in new penny or molting colors. Freddy says, "The west side still resembles a war zone with all the wiring, detonators, and screaming airboats; we're seeing a lot more floating victims of this attack on the environment, so be careful and keep your eyes open for survey poles. We won't pretend there's not a problem, but we'll work around it to enjoy some really great summer family fishing."