Reports & Forecasts: July 2013

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
July is an extremely flexible month. Water temperatures will be on the rise and so will our catch totals. The weather is stable, and fishing is great from the north end of the estuary all the way to the Gulf. Trout will be on the move from their shallower springtime homes to their deeper, cooler summer homes. The jetties, surf, and shallow offshore rigs will produce the majority of our fish. Most of the time, trout will not congregate in water over 35 feet deep. Keep this in mind when searching for fish offshore. Reefs toward the middle of the lake in 7-8 feet of water are great places to try. Also, reefs along the drop off in the ship channel will produce mass amounts of fish. Flats lying close to the ship channel offer great opportunities at early morning topwater bites. If the flat is directly adjacent to the channel, do not be afraid to fling your topwater into extremely shallow water during the heat of the day. Every year this technique produces a few trout close at the 30 inch mark.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
James says the fishing is highly dependent on the wind speeds this summer. "When it's calm, it's rock 'em sock 'em anywhere you go. When it's windy, it's tough. All the bays, East Bay, Lower Galveston, doesn't matter. Find some shell in five or six feet of water, and it's on. Surf is on fire, especially down by the Pass. We're working slicks and shell pads, and the tide doesn't matter, as long as it is not running too hard. We've got a great topwater bite in this deep water on the good days when it's calm. We're also throwing Bass Assassins in chartreuse and limetreuse and catching plenty of four and a half to six pound trout. It's some of the best trout fishing I've seen in a long time. Live bait fishermen are catching 'em every day; the lure guys need lighter winds to really do good. We'll keep catching this way, fishing out of the boat and throwing our lures around deep structures all summer. We're also looking forward to the start of tarpon season in the near future. Once we get into August, our focus will shift over to the silver kings."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Jim reports excellent fishing in his area, especially when winds and crowds are light. "Both East and Trinity Bays are full of fish and when the wind's not too bad, it's pretty easy catching for the most part. Weekend crowds have gotten bad, so it's better to get out during the week if possible. All of our best catching has been out in the middle. The reefs are stacked with solid trout. We're seeing a lot of five pound trout, with a few bigger ones, up to about 27 1/2 inches. Best bite is on soft plastics. We're throwing the Tidal Surge lures with the split tails in whites and chartreuse. They are working great when the bite is hot. The MirrOlure soft plastics are working a bit better when the tides and bite slow somewhat. Seems the natural colors like bond diamond and opening night will still produce some bites when the fish are kind of finicky. As long as the wind doesn't blow too much, we should keep catching like this right on through the summer. Guys in the surf are doing well too on the days when they can get at 'em."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
With plenty of brown shrimp swimming around in the water, the fishing has been good in Randall's area on soft plastics lately. "We're catching 'em pretty good most of the time on Norton Sand Eels in red magic and cayenne gold. Those colors seem to mimic the brown shrimp nicely. When we're catching on topwaters, we're using plain nickel Super Spooks. The color is basically silver; it's like the blue/chrome one without the blue. We have been having our best luck on topwaters when we're in the surf. Had a great run out there last week before the tropical storm sent the big breakers crashing onto the beach. We will be trying to stay out there as much as possible throughout the next couple of months." He also mentions he's just completed construction of a double boat slip on Chocolate Bayou. I've got two kinds of JH Performance boats hanging back there. Anyone interested in purchasing a JH can come for a test drive if they call me and set up a time that will work for both of us."

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401
Charlie has been catching plenty of trout, mostly in East Matagorda Bay. "We're drifting around the deep reefs in East Bay on most days, catching limits a lot and we're seeing some quality trout on most trips, up to 28 inches or so. Our best bite has been on Gulp! lures under popping corks. Some of the guys are using live shrimp, but the Gulp! products seem to work just as good or even better. We've had southeast winds much of the time, which helps the water clarity hold up in the middle of East Bay. As long as the winds keep blowing out of the east some, instead of due south or southwest, fishing should be good. Our trout just don't seem to want to be on the shorelines for the most part, so it's mostly a drifting thing, even in West Bay. Many summers, the shoreline coves of West Bay will produce plenty of trout for lure fishermen who want to wade, but that pattern has been kind of slow lately. Of course, whenever we get the chance, we'll be heading to the surf in July. When we can get out there onto the beachfront this time of year, we usually catch plenty of trout on topwaters, and good ones at that."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Fishing has been dang good even in all this wind. Water temps have been above 70 for awhile, and we have tons of bait in the bays. Redfish have been all over topwaters on shorelines with scattered grass and sandy pockets. When the wind has been blowing we have caught them on old-school SheDogs in clown and chartreuse/pearl. On calm days, we have been throwing small ShePups in black/gold/orange and Spook Juniors in bone flash. The best trout bite so far has been on live shrimp rigged two feet under popping corks. We have been focused on scattered shell pads and deep shell reefs. Tripletail have been hit or miss with the winds; if it is less than 15 knots, it has been good, over that and it makes it tough to fish for them. Live shrimp rigged deep under a cork has been best bait.. The surf should be on fire when we get some calming winds, with all the bait in the bays the beachfront has to be loaded. When wading in West Matagorda, make sure to wear long pants and have a shark proof bucket for fish.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Predictably, Lynn plans on hitting the surf as much as possible in July. The Port O'Connor area has some of the best surf fishing in the state when calm winds allow the green water to move all the way up to the beach. "We'll be hitting the surf whenever we can. Out there, we like to stay shallow and throw topwaters in the first gut and around the first bar. Of course, on some days, we can't get out to the beachfront, so we'll be fishing in the bays. When we're fishing in the bays, we'll be keying on sandy pockets within the grass beds along area shorelines. July is a great topwater month, so we'll be throwing Super Spook Juniors and other floating plugs a lot. One of the keys is to stay pretty close to drop offs adjacent to deep water, since the fish like to use the depths to cool off during the day. As the day heats up, we'll throw soft plastics more than topwaters. Overall, the summer fishing is shaping up nicely. We're just heading into our prime time here in the Coastal Bend."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake has been catching a bunch of trout lately, and says the fishing in the Rockport area is really improved over recent years. "We seem to have an unusual abundance of solid keeper trout in the eighteen to twenty four inch range. It's been steady for the most part. I'm wading around main bay points and keying on deeper grass beds on some trips, fishing shell reefs on others. Fishing is good all over the area, from San Antonio to Aransas and Corpus Bays. We're having our best luck on soft plastics like Norton Sand Eels. Have had some decent days with topwaters, but the worms and Gulp! lures and of course live croakers are working better. I have had such good luck in the bays, so I haven't ventured out into the surf yet, but the reports I'm getting from the guys who have are good. We'll keep working the deeper waters along the shorelines a bunch in July, and will probably head to the surf with our topwaters and MirrOlures a few times too. Action should be steady with the fish spread so nicely throughout the area."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The weatherman's forecast for July is, it's going to be heating up. My fishing forecast for July is, it's going to be heating up as well. The air temperatures will be hot but so will the fishing. Even though brown tide is covering much of the water in the Upper Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay, there are some scattered areas with good, semi-clear water. The better water is usually two feet deep or less, but this where I'm finding most of the fish that my clients are catching. I'll be fishing along shallow grass lines and shorelines with a mix of sand and grass. Bass Assassin Die Dappers in colors like chartreuse dog and sand trout, or Berkley Gulp! Ripple Mullet in the color, morning glory/chartreuse tail rigged on sixteenth ounce Assassin Spring-Lock jigheads will be good lures to fish with. The winds should be down, compared to what we've had to deal with lately, and the MirrOlure SheDogs in natural colors will also be very effective in the early morning. Sight-casting in ultra shallow water with Fish Bites will also be good.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
In the blazing heat of July, fishing the edges of deep structures is a good way to catch trout and redfish in the Upper Laguna Madre, Joe says. "It's possible to catch a few fish shallow, even by sight-casting them at times, but steadier action is to be had by staying around the edges of deeper water. Lately, clear water comes in through the Packery Channel and the flats and channels near the bridge look pretty for a while, then brown tide comes through and changes everything. When the water is clear, and it's possible to see all the edges, the fishing is better. I like to key on sandy spots near the drop off of the ICW or channels which intersect it. It's also productive to fish the deepest grass beds along the edge of Beacroft's and Emmord's Holes. Using jigheads of at least a quarter ounce is often necessary to keep soft plastics in contact with either the edges or near the grass in the depths. We do have some clear water down south too, and the fishing around the mouth of the Land Cut has been good, especially around deep rocks."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
While there is no denying that July is hot weather wise it can be hot fishing wise as well. Wind and tide tend to be moderate in July and the beach tends to be more angler friendly than in the earlier months. Water color tends to be clear and July is one of our better months for sight-casting trout, redfish and other species. Since the loss of our winter surf trout fishery, July is our best trout month and good specks will be caught on various lures and live bait. Topwaters can be productive and July is actually the beginning of successful fly fishing in the surf. Spanish and king mackerel, tarpon, Atlantic bluefish, occasional jack crevalle, sharks and numerous species of bottom fish are present. July also marks the time of year when the use of wire leaders is often necessary due to an abundance of toothy critters in the surf. Most shark catches will be made on kayaked baits at night. Turtle nesting season continues and visitor usage is high so be patient and considerate. Good Fishin' -Cap'n Billy

Port Mansfield | Terry Neal | 956.944.2559
Summer is here and the temperatures are HOT; the fishing is warming up too! We have gotten so used to nonstop wind that when it doesn't blow we complain because it gets so darn hot. Remember to drink plenty water or sports drinks to avoid suffering heat stroke. Wear sunscreen and protective clothing. The jetty fishing is really on right now lots of big reds showing up along with a few tarpon; kings and ling are possible as well. The water quality is the best I've seen in a long time. On calm days you can easily split time between trout and reds in the bay and then snapper and kings a few miles out from the jetty. This is a great time of year for large schools of reds on the flats, hugging potholes and edges of grass beds. Warmer weather sends trout deeper, along the drop to the ICW and East Cut. Remember to only keep what you will eat and release the rest. Enjoy fishing and show respect to others, one day you may need their help.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
We've just begun a new weather pattern that is changing our outlook for the next couple of months. This forecast includes tailing reds and monster trout. Mornings are calm, and that means clearer water, allowing us to pole up to small pods of redfish that are broadcasting their intentions by waiving their tails above the glassy surface. These are classic summer conditions for the LLM, and we've been taking advantage with limits of red drum and some small trout. The larger trout we see hanging in deeper, cooler water, especially as the sun rises and the wind begins to stir. Freddy says, "Don't burn banks and keep noise to a minimum; you'll be rewarded with action that you normally only get to witness on TV." We're throwing Cajun Thunder round corks with a 12" leader and a Norton lock three ought quarter ounce hook loaded with a three inch Berkley Gulp! shrimp. This setup is working in shallow and on the deeper drop offs. Later in the day, jigging a grass line with just the Gulp can pay off in oversize redfish! Help stop open bay dredge disposal.