Reports & Forecasts: July 2011

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
It's hot and the majority of our fish have made the transition to their summer patterns. Most of the bigger fish have abandoned the flats and gone to deeper water. A good July plan is to fish deep water or somewhere close to it. The shipping canal is a great place to catch fish this time of year. We are catching most of these fish in seven to twenty feet of water. Be sure to cast upcurrent and work your bait back toward the boat with the flow. It is very important to work the entire water column because a lot of times trout will suspend in deeper water. Another great place to fish is at the Cameron Jetties. Both trout and reds hang out there in abundance beginning in July. Again, fish upcurrent and work back toward the boat. Often times, there is very strong current around the rocks, so a heavier jighead is needed. I stick to quarter and three eighths ounce jigheads when offshore. The beach and close rigs around Johnson Bayou are very good this time of year too, and topwaters work well along the beachfront.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
As usual, the weather was dictating the ease or difficulty on recent trips when James gave this report. "When it's calm, we're catchin' 'em up," he says. "When it gets windy, it's a lot tougher. The first week of June was outstanding. We caught limits or near limits of both trout and reds every day, with some of the trout running pretty big, up to seven pounds. We're working six to eight feet of water and staying in the boat, keying mostly on slicks, but we're also paying attention to mud boils and balled-up schools of shad as well. The bite has been steady on bone flash Top Dog Juniors when winds are light, but the three inch pumpkinseed/chartreuse Bass Assassin Sea Shad has worked better when it's windier. If the winds cooperate, this will be an excellent summer of fishing. We've got a bunch of fish and the water is in great shape. Mostly, the key is we need light enough winds to get out to where the concentrations of fish are, and to have decent water clarity to allow us to catch 'em."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Since the wind let up around the first of June, the fishing has been pretty easy in the Galveston area, Jim says. "When it's so hot that the sweat is pouring down the crack in your back, you should be whackin' em! We've had a lot of days with easy limits of both trout and reds lately. Location is the key; you can catch the fish on pretty much whatever you want to once you find 'em. Topwaters and tails in all colors and sizes are working about equally well. We are keying on slicks and bait to find the trout out in the middle in five to eight feet of water. The reds are schooled up in tight packs, and we're finding them either by seeing them push wakes or by finding their slicks or mud boils. The surf has been on fire too. Really, the key to good Galveston fishing is good water quality, and with these light winds, we've got it. If it stays calm, this will be an awesome summer of fishing in the deeper parts of the bays and along the beach. The wading is a little spotty right now, but we'll get back to that if the wind kicks up."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall reports hot fishing in the surf in his part of the coast lately. "I had a trout about nine pounds on the third cast this morning. I was still in my flip flops, hadn't even got into the water yet. She hit a chrome/green SheDog in the first gut. We wound up catching a bunch of solid fish. Only had one trout that was out of the norm, about a sixteen incher, but the rest were solid three and four pounders, and they were loving the topwaters. This type of fishing should be steady through July if the weather pattern holds. We didn't catch any reds today, but we've been catching plenty in the bays lately. They are liking topwaters too, especially when it's not too windy. When it blows a little harder and the water gets some color in it, we have been switching over to the full-sized Norton Sand Eels in the needle gar color pattern. It's got kind of a white flash to the belly and it shows up good in the dirtier water. I look forward to a great summer of fishing for both the trout and the reds, targeting whatever makes sense given the weather."

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401
The story from the Matagorda area sounds much like the one from other areas lately. Charlie says fish are being caught all over, but the surf is the hot place. "Once the wind died, the surf went off big time. We are catching plenty of trout on top out there right now. We have the advantage of the green water to the beach and the right tide cycles. As long as the tide is right, the surf will be good in July too, but catching out there does depend on water moving at the right times. If the surf isn't good, both our bays are loaded with fish. The grass beds in West Bay are covered with fish lately, both trout and reds. The biggest trout have been coming off the mid-bay reefs in East Bay. You've got to figure out the pattern and be in the right place with the right tide movement to make that work. The shorelines in East Bay are holding incredible numbers of reds, mostly schooled up in pods of twenty to maybe two hundred. When winds are light like this, it's possible to catch 'em however you want, including on flies."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Despite the steady, strong wind lately, fishing has been outstanding in the Palacios area. Trout have been plentiful this spring around shell pads in the local bays and around the wells and barges in West Matagorda. Live shrimp rigged under popping corks have by far been the best ticket to catching quality keeper fish. The trout have mostly ranged from 16 to 19 inches, with a few mixed in over 20. Redfish have been steady on lures around bayous and drains. Super Spook Juniors in bone and white/red head have been the best topwaters for the reds. Morning glory and pumpkinseed/chartreuse have been the best-colored tails. Tripletail have been showing up in decent numbers; we just haven't had many days to go after 'em. A few up to 18 pounds have been landed around the wells out in West Matagorda. July should bring some outstanding surf fishing to the area, with keys being schooling mullet and birds marking feeding fish. Night fishing along the seawall with white and glow beetle tails is also good this time of the year.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn loves to fish in the surf all he can during the summer months, and he's already found good success doing so this year. "We're catching a bunch of trout, quality fish too, both in the bays and in the surf. I'll be looking to stay out along the beachfront as much as possible, working topwaters out there mostly." He remembers seeing a giant trout in the surf a few years back. "It came up under the trout that was after my lure. In fact, I caught the smaller fish, which turned out to be about 23 inches, and the monster followed it to within about ten feet of me. She had to be close to three feet long. I could see the dots on her back. Still gives me chills to this day." Sounds like a reason to hit the beach a few times! "When fishing the bays, I like to stay close to the pass area, on shallow flats adjacent to deep water. I'll try topwaters pretty much every day, but if I'm having trouble getting plenty of blow ups, I'll switch over to soft plastics fairly fast. The key lime Gambler and the plum/white tail Texas Trout Killers have been working great lately."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
The summer's fishing started off hot in the Rockport area, Blake reports, and things shape up well for the rest of the season. "We're catching plenty of fish lately, both trout and reds. The topwater bite has been good at times and the bite on the old standby Norton Sand Eels in purple/chartreuse and pumpkinseed/chartreuse is good too. We're mostly fishing sandy shorelines with good amounts of grass next to drop offs to open water that is deeper, targeting the sand pockets within the grass beds. The other thing that's working well is the reefs and shell humps in open water. The hotter it gets, the better the fishing close to deep water gets. Of course, we want to get in the surf and try that some too. Since the wind stopped blowing so hard, doing that is a better option. Overall, things shape up well. Lures are still working good, but as we get further into the summer, live bait might start to pay off more of the time. I'll do whatever it takes to keep catching fish."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The forecast for the month of July: it's going to be hot, for fishing that is. The temperatures will be hot, but the fishing will be hotter. The quality of the water in the Upper Laguna Madre is in very good shape and winds should be calmer than it has been for the last few months. This will open up many more locations where we can go looking for that trophy fish. I will be starting my days looking for fish along shallow shorelines with a mix of sand and grass. A really good producer in shallow water is the four inch Bass Assassin Sea Shad and Sea Shad Blurp in natural colors rigged on sixteenth ounce Spring Lock jigheads. As the sun warms up the shallows, the fish will move into slightly deeper water, two to three feet, and then I'll switch to the five inch saltwater Die Dapper in colors like plum/chartreuse, salt and pepper, and silver phantom. Another bait I will be using is the Berkley Gulp Ripple Mullet swim bait. Fishing with croakers will also be very effective along the edges of drop offs and grass lines in three feet of water.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
The outstanding water clarity in the Corpus Christi area has allowed Joe to have success in some of his favorite ways lately. "I'm fishing a bunch of different areas, all the way from the JFK down to the Land Cut. Since the water's so clear, it's possible to see not only what you are casting at, but also the fish much of the time. Down south, it's productive to drift the Kenedy shoreline and bounce Kelly Wigglers on quarter ounce heads around the rocks. We're catching a lot of trout and a few big ones doing that. Up north, it's more of a redfish thing. On the calmer mornings, we are able to find the schools when they push a big wake as we go by. When the sun gets higher and the wind makes it easier to see in the water, we can usually keep track of the schools by sight and use the trolling motor to stay with 'em. Mostly, these are oversized fish, so catching them is basically just for fun. And fun it definitely is! We've got great potential for fly fishing too, with this super-clear water. In fact, we caught a bunch of reds on flies this week."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
2011 has been thus far very unkind to surf fishers but July is usually the beginning of lighter winds and calm, green water and very little sargassum weed - so we're hoping everything comes together. July is a good month for big tiger sharks with the great majority caught at night on kayaked baits. Bull, blacktip and smaller species are also possible. Schools of ladyfish (skipjacks) will be quite the spectacle feeding on anchovies. Watch for birds working bait; the water beneath them is usually boiling with fish. Plenty of Spanish mackerel and some Atlantic bluefish will be mixed in and there is always the possibility of sharks and tarpon joining these frenzies. A hint on mackerel and skipjacks: Buy some speck rigs and replace the 25-test mono with abrasion resistant line such as Mason 30lb test leader material. Makes a world of difference. We have had so much sargassum for so long that it is going to make for dangerous driving for some time. Enjoy the beach but be alert and avoid areas where the sand appears black.

Port Mansfield | Terry Neal | 956.944.2559
July will usher in the warmest water temperatures of the year; mid to high 80s both in the bay and offshore. We should expect some excellent fishing ahead of us. We have already seen ling and kingfish brought in along with some really good snapper. When it gets too hot and still in the Laguna Madre, look outside the jetties for some real excitement. Once you drop a bait in the water you never what your going to hook on to. Sailfish have been caught within sight of the "Goodbye" buoy. The blue water brings lots of bait in close to the beach. Tarpon, kings and Spanish mackerel are plentiful during this time of the year for anyone willing to venture out and look for something different. Bay fishing is very good right now and should continue through summer, exceptional catches of trout and redfish are being made daily. Flounder too are more plentiful than past years. The rebound of this species is noticeable and impressive. Keep what you will eat and release the rest. Good Luck fishing.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
The wind has finally stopped blowing like crazy and we're enjoying calmer days, but the water is not completely clear on the west side. By the beginning of July, we should see even less wind, but the LLM is still blanketed with the silt and mud left when the Rio Grande flooded last summer. We're limiting on trout ranging from small keepers up to twenty seven inches under birds, and the flounder comeback is in full swing. We're catching flatties that are increasing in size at a rate of an inch per month. Reds are easier to get to when the wind's blowing, but because they roam the flats instead of ambushing prey like trout, working the potholes is the best strategy. We're drifting into some schools of slot fish, but the oversized ones are coming in as singles. Freddy says, "Now that we're getting some clearer water, we can go back to faster retrieves and smaller corks, like the Cajun Thunder cigar cork. Rig your Berkley Gulp! three inch shrimp on a quarter ounce jighead with twelve to eighteen inches of leader line and switch colors to find what's working."