Reports & Forecasts: July 2009

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
Water temperatures are still in the mid-seventies, which is pretty chilly for this time of year. Other than low water temperatures, other conditions have been great. Since the winds have finally slowed down, we have been smoking the trout. July is my favorite month to fish. All options are open; the surf, close rigs, jetties, and ship channel are at their best this month. Don't forget about the lake though; it will still be holding lots of fish. Best lures for the summer are H&H Salty Grubs and Beetles, and Norton Sand Eels. Hot colors are clear with metal flake, chartreuse, smoke, and glow. Topwater lures will be good in the lake, better on the beach. Best topwater to throw varies from day to day; try all the Dogs, Skitterwalks and Super Spooks in all sizes. My favorite colors are bone, chrome/black, and chartreuse. The best hint I can give is to fish the rigs, inside the jetties, and the channel on weak tides. Fish the surf, outside the jetties, and in the lake on strong tides.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
James says that the fishing in Galveston lately is close to being a ten on a scale of one to ten, especially when the winds are light. "When it's not blowing, you can catch 'em however you want to, wherever you want to. The surf and all the deep reefs and structures along the ship channel have been throwing out limits of trout, heavy limits too. The key is to be in the right place when the tide is moving. We've been using Bass Assassins most of the time, but the chrome and chartreuse SheDogs are good too. The reefs in the middle of East Bay are also a solid bet this time of year. Over there, birds will be working and popping slicks will direct you to the fish. As long as the wind doesn't blow, we'll be set up for lots of limits and a few big trout this summer. Every time the wind dies, we catch one or two around twenty seven inches. When it's windier, we tend to catch more of the regular two pounders."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Jim reports excellent results in his area lately. "I haven't been going too far. East Bay is full of fish and with the light winds, we've been whacking the trout. Had one about twenty nine inches the other day. Customer let it go, so I can't say exactly what she weighed. I'd guess low eights. He caught it on a Super Spook Jr.. We've had some other big trout on topwaters lately too, especially when we can get in the surf. The key to catching the fish on lures in the surf is to get there the first day it clears. The big ones get a lot harder to catch on the second and third day after it clears. As far as fishing in the bays, I've been working open water reefs mostly, keying on bird activity and slicks. These patterns should hold right on through the summer. When it's windy, finding areas with reefs which are sheltered from the blow and using bright lures will help. In the clear water, I favor darker lures when the sun is bright."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
The action in the San Luis Pass area exploded in the calm weather in June, Randall says. "It was awesome. We'd all have our limits by mid-morning. Best action was on topwaters and Sand Eels. The best topwater has been a pearl white Skitterwalk. The best Sand Eel has been the glow sickle color in the large version. I've been rigging the Sand Eels on light jigheads to keep the lures off the bottom. As long as it looks like it's headed to the top, it gets slammed. Some of my guys have stopped trying to work them fast; they are catching them just throwing out and reeling straight in. The key to the topwater bite has been contacting the schools of ribbonfish. Seems that pearl Skitterwalk looks right when it's among all those long silver bait fish." Like others, he hopes to get in the surf in July. "We'll be working our topwaters on the beach this month. Might even make some runs offshore in the new boat if it's calm."

Matagorda | Don Wood
Bay Guide Service | 979.240.4137
Don says he's still fishing East Bay primarily, drifting scattered shell. "We've been catching them on topwaters, soft plastics and live shrimp. I don't use the shrimp, but when the water's off color, it helps the customers keep catching. The size of the trout has been good; we've had some twenty six and twenty seven inch fish. The wind has to be fairly light for the drifting drill in East Bay, though. West Bay is better if it's windy. We went out one afternoon last week over there and caught some quality trout wading the grass beds in the coves on the south shoreline. It's easier to hide from the wind over there." He mentions that the Oil Man's tournament recently held there produced a tripletail that was nearly record size. "There was a thirty two pound tripletail caught. It made the eight and ten pounders look like bait!" He says that the fishing for those brutes should be steady right through the summer if the wind cooperates.

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Fishing has exploded in the Palacios area. The bays, surf, wells, and area shorelines are loaded with bait and fish. The winds that had been blowing over twenty knots on most days for the past couple of months finally laid down and fishing has taken off. The West Matagorda surf (thirteen miles across the bay) has been steady for trout up to twenty seven inches, with lots of solid three and four pound fish filling stringers. Bone Super Spooks and Corky FatBoys in orange/black and pearl/chartreuse have accounted for most of these fish. Pods of small slot redfish have been abundant on sandy shorelines chasing shrimp and have been easy pickings with DOA shrimp in root beer and pearl. Tripletail have finally showed, with most fish averaging around thirteen pounds. Best rigs for them are still live shrimp rigged four to five feet under popping corks. I look July to continue to produce good fish, with the wells out in West Matagorda along with the surf our main go to spots.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn says that the surf has already been productive, and he intends to spend as much time out there as possible in July. "When fishing the surf, I like to use topwaters, anything with chrome on it, particularly the SheDogs and Super Spooks. The larger ones work best in the waves along the beach. Of course, we'll be fishing in the bays too. We like to focus on areas with grass and potholes and hard sand which are close to some deep water. Early in the morning, the topwater bite is nearly guaranteed. I'll switch over to the Junior versions of the Super Spooks mostly when fishing in the bays. As the day warms and the fish stop blowing up, we'll switch over to soft plastics." He mentions that the "man in the gray suit" has already appeared and will likely be making the rounds in July. "There are tons of sharks in West Matagorda. I've started keeping a cooler on a float with me when I'm wading. I just put the fish directly on ice without stringing them."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
The fishing in the Rockport area for trout took a turn for the better over recent weeks, Blake says. "Seems we had some fish come in out of the surf. Where there had been little action, we started seeing migrating schools of bait fish, even some floating sea weed. The trout bite soon followed." His best results lately have been on soft plastics, notable the purple/chartreuse Norton Sand Eels. The topwater bite has been decent on some days as well. "I have been using bait some too. I'll be looking to make as many trips as possible in the surf in July. We already had one good run out there and should see some more action if the winds stay calm. In the bays, I'll focus on some shell reefs in San Antonio Bay and also hard sandy shorelines with lots of grass in Aransas and Corpus Christi Bays.. He says he prefers wadefishing, but will do whatever it takes to catch what is biting from day to day. "Lately, it's about the trout; they have arrived and they are biting."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
We finally got a break from those strong spring winds that blew for months. The lighter winds revealed that much of the water in the Upper Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay is in great shape. Many rocks, grass lines, potholes and drop offs are visible now, due to the better water clarity. The water temperature being in the low to mid-eighties is making for great wadefishing and this is what we have been doing on about half of my charters. The fish we have been catching have been in two and a half feet of water or less and that will probably continue during July. The wind blowing from so many directions is spreading floating grass all over, making it difficult to use topwater lures. There are some areas with very shallow and clear water that will be great for sight casting drum and reds with sixteenth ounce jigheads rigged with Assassin Blurps or Berkley Gulp shrimp. If floating grass is a problem, use soft plastics rigged on short leaders under Assassin Kwik corks.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
Like others in his area, Joe reports that he likes the change in water clarity in the Upper Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay. "Fishing has been pretty easy since the wind died and the water cleared up. I've been concentrating my efforts mostly between Bird Island Basin and the mouth of the Land Cut. The best pattern is to throw at rocks which are close to deep water. The water all along the Kennedy Shoreline and along the spoils on the east side of the ICW holds up well, even with moderate winds, so it's easy to see the structures. I've been throwing all kinds of soft plastics, including Bass Assassins and Texas Trout Killers. Doesn't seem to matter much in terms of color, if you can manage to control the placement of the lures and keep them close to the rocks or in the deep potholes. This pattern should hold throughout the summer, while the fish like to stay close to the deep, cool water. Sight casting reds and drum with flies should be available most days too."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
The speckled trout showed up in good numbers and size in late May and it is all topwater action. This action should continue throughout the month of July. We are starting with smaller presentations in the early morning calm conditions and then going to larger lures as the winds and seas increase. The fish are changing their color of choice every 2-3 days. When the topwater bite slows, switch to Mirrolure 7M and 28MR floating twitch baits as well as MirrOMinnows and MirrODines. Target areas with large amounts of baitfish. Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, whiting and palometa are usually in good numbers throughout the month and there is the potential for tarpon and kingfish. Bull and blacktipped sharks are available in good numbers some years and huge tiger sharks are a possible at night. Sargassum is at its lowest amount in 7 years but is still interfering with long rod and kayaked shark bait fishermen. Report turtle tracks and keep an eye on tropical weather reports.

Port Mansfield | Terry Neal | 956.944.2559
It's summer time and the fishing is easy. The pelicans and sea gulls are so fat; they pick up scraps from those cleaning fish. The water continues to clear, which is good and bad. It's so clear there is no place for the fish to hide. The deeper grass beds still continue to produce plenty of nice trout and the occasional redfish. If you want to try some different fishing, the jetties will be the place to go. Kingfish and tarpon will be in good supply for the next couple of months. Kingfish on light tackle are a blast. You can throw topwaters for some real excitement; just add a little wire to your leader so that you don't get cut off. Live finger mullet or croaker will catch everything. You never know what you will be setting the hook on when fishing the jetties; be sure and take some extra line just in case. The bait stands have good supplies of live bait on a daily basis.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
We've really been having exceptional fishing for this time of year. Even the lack of wind has not slowed the action. Schools of reds cover the east side, from the drum boats to the Intracoastal, allowing us to limit most days, unless they're all oversized, which is not that bad of a problem to have! Trout fishing continues to be the best we've seen since the eighties and the flounder situation seems to be in better shape than a couple of years ago. Freddy says, "We're seeing more shrimp, possibly due to all the fresh water from the hurricane last year, and the absence of commercial trapping has been a boom for the crab population." The Cajun Thunder cigar cork with twelve to fifteen inches of leader and a Gulp three inch shrimp on a quarter ounce jighead is still producing best, but we've also had some excellent results in the herds with Precision Tackle half ounce gold weedless spoons or a white three inch Gulp shrimp on a jighead in schools of drum.