Reports & Forecasts: July 2014

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
In July, most of our fishing will be done on deeper reefs in the middle of the lake as well as ship channel, jetties, surf, and at nearshore oil platforms. When fishing the deeper reefs in the lake, timing is everything. Most of the time, fish will bite heavily at the beginning of a tide movement and again at the end of one. When fishing Calcasieu in July, always think "the stronger the tide, the farther I can fish from the channel. The weaker the tide, the closer I need to be to the channel." Consistently catching trout on artificials in the heat of the summer is completely dependent on what the tide is doing. The jetties can be a great place to catch good trout on both the incoming and outgoing tides. Water clarity is a must when fishing the jetties. If it is dirty, don't waste your time. The surf is much the same, water clarity and a strong presence of bait are keys. If the water on the beach is dirty, head to the close platforms. Most of the time, fish around these will take plastics, but sometimes live shrimp, mullet or pogies are lifesavers.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
James says the early-summer patterns have produced inconsistent results, sometimes really fast and easy catching, sometimes slower. "We're finding all our better trout and redfish in pretty deep water lately, about eight to twelve feet. When they are popping slicks and making mud stirs, it's possible to keep track of 'em and the catching is pretty easy. When they aren't, it's much tougher, and you need more luck to stop in the right place. On the better days, we're having a really good topwater bite on plugs like SheDogs in chrome/blue. Sometimes, that's all we need to get out limits. When the bite slows some, we're getting a lot more action using Bass Assassins rigged on sixteenth-ounce jigheads, making a kind of a "do-nothing" presentation, just throwing them out and reeling them straight back in without jigging the rodtip at all. The only wading I've done recently produced a decent number of bites, but the fish ran on the small side. Throughout the rest of the hot season, we'll probably see similar patterns in play."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Like others in the Galveston area, Jim says the weather and wind have a profound impact on the potential for easy catching, especially for lure fishermen. "We're in that transition period when the bait chunkers start to have a little easier time catching on a consistent basis. I have had a couple of good runs lately, catching decent numbers of solid trout up to 28 inches, but when the winds get up, it's a struggle. Low tides render the shorelines pretty much useless, and then if it's windy, you can't really function out in the middle to get at 'em. We have had a good topwater bite at times, and have also been catching pretty good on Maniac Mullets out in the middle when the water is in good shape. I like throwing those out of the boat in summer. Mostly, it's topwaters and tails though. The surf has been really good during calm lulls, particularly when clear water is pulling through Rollover Pass and into the Gulf on outgoing tides. In those conditions, people are catching some really heavy stringers of trout on MirrOlures along the beachfront."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Windy conditions have muddied the water and made for some relatively difficult fishing at times for Randall over recent weeks. "We're using live bait most of the time, and boxing fifteen to twenty trout a day. Good results, just not the great action we'd be having if the weather would give us more of a break. Now, when we can get in the surf, everything is different, it's easy and productive out there. Normally, this time of year and on toward the end of summer, our morning action is steady and consistent. Lots of days, we are catching steadily during the low light conditions after daybreak up until about nine o'clock, when things heat up and the fish begin looking for cooler water. When that happens, it pays to focus on sandy areas, rather than muddy ones. I have documented a big difference in water temperatures over sand and mud with my sonar during summer. The water over the sand can be three or four degrees cooler over the sand during the bright part of the day, and that makes a big difference at these temperatures."

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401
"The wind has not settled down for the summer yet, so we haven't been able to get into the surf. The Sargasso weed is thick anyway, but mostly it's just too windy to be green to the beach. During July, that will likely change. July is one of the best months to fish around here, and the surf can be the best place going. If it's not, we'll be looking to drift the open-water areas in East Bay, targeting areas with scattered shell on the bottom when we're fishing out of the boat, and wading the shallower mid-bay reefs when winds allow. Normally, we have some good topwater action on trout when we wade those reefs. Wading is also good this time of year for both trout and redfish in West Bay. We'll start off throwing topwaters along shallow shorelines with grass beds, and move out to deeper guts with soft plastics later in the day. Right now, we've got shrimp moving out of the east end of East Bay, so we might have some working birds in July too. All in all, our options are pretty much dependent on some less-windy weather."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
What a difference light winds can make! Fishing has exploded in our local bays with recent light northeast and southeast winds. Trout to twenty three inches have been caught at the gas wells in West Matagorda Bay, by free-lining live shrimp, and trout up to twenty inches have been coming from the south shoreline grass beds on bone Super Spook Juniors and Egret Kicka Mullet Juniors in pink/white. Redfish have been good on local shorelines on Cajun pepper Bayou Chubs from Egret and also ShePups in pink/chrome. These fish have been ranging from twenty to twenty-four inches. We finally got a chance to go after one of my favorite summertime fish--tripletail. We have caught some monsters up to twenty nine pounds! They are moving into the bays a little later than usual due to our cool spring. Live shrimp rigged under popping corks have worked best to catch these brutes. The surf normally proves a productive option in July. We'll work the first gut early, the second/third guts later.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Recent windy weather has prevented Lynn and the Port O'Connor guys from fishing the surf much, but that normally changes in July for the better. "The fish are out there along the beachfront, no doubt, and nobody has been able to harass them, so they are just waiting on us. It's gonna be incredible once it kicks off. All we need is a little break in the wind. We'll go after the trout with topwaters and soft plastics once the water clears and it stops blowing so much. Other than fishing the surf, I'll be targeting trout on spoil banks and shell reefs close to the main channels. Once the water gets really hot, those areas produce a steady trout bite. The fish tend to bite well as long as the tide is moving. Doesn't necessarily matter whether it's outgoing or incoming, just that it is moving. Of course, one of the best scenarios is a strong incoming tide which coincides with the cooler temperatures during the early morning hours. Topwaters cast around shallow humps and spines on the spoils work great during such a situation."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake expects to fish a variety of productive patterns in July, using both live bait and soft plastics. "We've been catching trout steadily on open-bay reefs lately, ones with shallow areas which allow wading close to drop offs into deep water. On some days, we're catching best on live croakers, but the curly-tailed Gulp! lures in bright colors like lime and pink have been working just about as good most of the time. I'll also be looking to fish some grass beds in water about chest deep in bays with lots of sandy bottom like Corpus and Aransas. This pattern works well once the heat of the day settles in and the sun is high in the sky. Shallower grass beds can produce well earlier in the mornings, but lately that pattern has been kind of stale. I also hope to get into the surf some if winds allow. Checked out the progress on the dredging of Cedar Bayou the other day, and they are getting close to the surf already. I expect some of the best surf fishing in decades once they get the pass open and water moving through again. All these options are dependable during the hot summer months."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The forecast for the month of July: the temperatures will be hot, the fishing hotter. The water in the Upper Laguna Madre is in good shape, and winds should be calmer than they have been for the last few months. This will open up many more locations where we can go looking for that trophy speckled trout. 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 in natural colors rigged on sixteenth-ounce Spring Lock jigheads. As the sun warms up the shorelines, the fish move into slightly deeper water, and then I will switch to the five inch Saltwater Die Dapper in colors like plum/chartreuse, salt and pepper and silver phantom. Sight-casting using chartreuse shrimp-flavored Fish Bites on eighth-ounce jigheads in less than twelve inches of water will be a fun game for both reds and black drum. Fishing with croakers will also be effective along the edges of drop-offs and grass lines in three feet of water.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
Joe reports an outstanding upturn in the clarity of the water in southern parts of the Upper Laguna Madre recently, and this bodes well for fishing during July in that area. "The Land Cut, Nine-Mile Hole, Summer House, Rocky Slough and areas all over Yarbrough should produce good catches the rest of this summer, now that the clear ocean water has rushed in and replaced the brown tide that inundated the area for a while. I'll be heading that way and fishing deep rocks, grass beds and ledges for trout. The reds I'll target a little shallower, working mostly knee to waist-deep parts of flats, always on the lookout for all sight-casting opportunities. Lots of times, the fish become really easy to see and target when they stage over the bright, sandy pockets in the grass beds when the water is clear like this. After dealing with the brown tide for a couple months, this change in water clarity is more than welcome; it's a relief. We'll throw topwaters quite a bit when working the deep structures, soft plastics mostly when we're sight-casting."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
As of late May the Sargassum is as bad as it has been in several years and is making driving dangerous and fishing tedious at best. What kind of fishing we have in July is going to depend on what these conditions will allow. I do think it's going to be rough driving most if not all summer. July is our month for speckled trout and topwater baits. They hit various colors combinations but most will include chrome. Fishing can be really good with reds, Spanish mackerel, whiting and skipjacks in good supply. Sharks of several species are available and it's a good month for mature tiger sharks. Tarpon may be present. This usually depends on menhaden and anchovies being present in the surf. King mackerel come extremely close to shore during calm periods and annually some are caught on light tackle. King mackerel and tarpon can be very good on the jetties when they stack the bait against the rocks. Turtle nesting season will be winding down but the speed limit will continue at 15 mph.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge 956.944.4000
Oh yeah, the wait is over! We're finally in our summertime weather pattern; let's pray we don't get a hurricane. Lately it has been light wind in the morning, gusty by afternoon. Offshore will be about the same. It's the time of year when you can take advantage of the weather and do some nearshore Gulf fishing in bay boats. The big bait balls will not be seen until later but you will be able to find smaller schools. Kingfish, Spanish mackerel and jack crevalle are plentiful. Look for them blasting bait and lots of birds diving. That will be your indication of feeding fish. Sharks will also be plentiful. Bay fishing should be good. Early morning is the best time to try topwaters. As the morning progresses switch to plastics. By mid-afternoon the bite will slow down so move to deeper-color water for the late action. Deep grass along the ICW is a good bet for afternoon and early evening. Until next time tight lines and calm seas.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
The past month of fishing has been half and half; the first half was super windy and muddy, and the second half was calmer and clearer. We've been limiting on reds when it's windy and limiting on trout when it's not. But, the clearer water has yielded many oversized reds and some beautiful trout. We're throwing Cajun Thunder round and cigar corks with Berkley Gulp! Live three inch shrimp in pearl white and molting on a twenty inch leader. Freddy says, "When shopping for spinning tackle, you want to be sure that you buy a rod that is appropriate for casting long distances and popping the corks with maximum results. The long cast gets the lure to fish before they begin to move around the drifting boat. We like medium action, seven foot rods with the largest first eye possible, to allow the line to pass through the guides freely, with little or no friction." We continue to fish muddy water, concentrating on the areas we know have pot holes that hold fish, even though we can't see the bottom. Help stop open bay dredge disposal!