Reports & Forecasts: July 2018

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268

Fishing seems to be quickly moving into predictable summer patterns. In July, we expect to fish the southern end of the estuary near the Calcasieu Ship Channel most of the time. The depths of the channel give the trout a place to escape the rising mid-day water temperatures. We really enjoy this time of year, because it often offers fast action along the edges of the channel. The beach, jetties, and nearshore oil platforms will also offer similar opportunities, especially when winds are light. Most of the time we're fishing with current moving, so picking the correct jighead for the situation is imperative. Usually, the lighter the current, the lighter the jighead needed, and vice versa. We usually start with quarter-ounce heads and move up or down from there. Always let the fish help make those types of decisions, meaning more bites means you've found the right size. We also like rat-tail plastics in strong currents, because they fall to the bottom faster than paddle tails. Paddle tails produce better in light or slack currents.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242

James mentions a variety of productive options for anglers in the Galveston area in mid-summer. “The fishing's been good lately down around San Luis Pass, in the surf adjacent to the pass on calmer days, and on the flats behind the pass when it's a little windier. Down that way, drifting in mid-bay areas over a mud bottom covered with scattered shell produces well too. A key to catching on that pattern is locating rafted mullet and popping slicks. Slick-hopping works well in Lower Galveston, East and Trinity Bays this time of year too. If winds are light, it's much easier to make this plan work. Light winds also allow us to find the mud stirs created by schooling reds, since the water clears up enough to help us see 'em. The middle parts of East Bay are good for this drill. We also do well around some of the wells and shell pads in Lower Galveston Bay in hot weather, anchoring up and throwing lures around the structures. Playing the turn of the tide is a big key to catching on this pattern. Most of the time, the best bite happens on a changing tide.”

immy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
Fishing had been hit or miss in the weeks prior to this report, Jim says. “We've had some tough outings when the tide gets really low and the wind blows. When winds are lighter and the water moves better, we've been doing really well. On the tougher days, it's critical to take advantage of the early bite. And most days, wading works much better than fishing out of the boat. When we're fishing out of the boat, we're locating the big schools of reds on some days, mostly over-sized fish. We've had a good topwater bite at times, especially on days when the tide's coming in strong in the morning. For the most part, my plan moving forward will be to target the trout early in the morning, for about three hours or so, then we'll go after the reds the rest of the time. We're still struggling to recover from Harvey, all the massive rains and runoff. Once winds get lighter and salinity levels get high in the summer, we'll see the consistency of the catching pick up. The bite at the jetties and in the surf tells me we have plenty of fish out there.”

est Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323

Southwest winds had hampered Randall's fishing somewhat on days leading up to this report, but he was coping pretty well with them. “I've resorted to fishing live shrimp under Comal corks quite a bit lately, and catching some pretty good boxes of fish, even when the west in the wind has things mucked up pretty good. On the better days, we're catching decent numbers of trout on topwaters early in the mornings, coming close to limits most of the time. Red magic Norton Lures have been working well in the surf, when winds allow us to head out there. We're rigging them on Norton screw-lock heads. The glow Norton Sand Ell with chartreuse glitter has also been working well. It's bright and shows up well in the murky water. I've been seeing quite a few ribbon fish lately, and it seems this long, slender, white worm does a good job of imitating them. We should be back to catching regular limits when the hot days get calmer after the Fourth of July. Then, we'll have more days available in the surf and an easier time catching on lures in the bay.”

atagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401

Charlie hopes the winds die down some during July, so the surf will clear up and provide its typical excitement and productivity. “We've had quite a bit of wind lately, but things usually calm down plenty during July and August. When that happens, we like to head out into the surf and throw topwaters to catch trout. Some of the biggest surf trout in the state come out of the waters around Matagorda every year. When the surf isn't right, we like to wade in West Bay for best results, throwing topwaters early in the morning in the shallows, moving out deeper and switching to soft plastics as the heat settles in. If winds allow, we also do quite a bit of drifting around reefs in the west end of East Bay and on the artificial ones in West Bay, throwing soft plastics on fairly heavy jigheads, to keep 'em low in the water column. Problem with fishing out of the boat in the heat is water clarity, especially in East Bay. Wading is better as long as winds are blowing at a steady, medium clip, because the clarity is better on leeward shorelines.”

alacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204

Fishing has been phenomenal in our local bays lately. Scores of trout from 18-20" have been biting around deep reefs and shell pads out in West Matagorda Bay on live shrimp rigged under popping corks. We've had some strong incoming tides in the mornings, and the fish are feeding well. Lots of bait around the rigs and deep reefs have helped too. Redfish have been all over the place, in back lakes, along shorelines and in bayous and drains. Small topwaters like ShePups and Spook Juniors have worked best. Flounder numbers continue to impress, with lots gigged up to 18" on area shorelines. Light north and east winds have helped keep our water clean. Tripletail have showed up in impressive numbers. We've stuck a few fish on live shrimp rigged about five feet under popping corks, working structure and wrecks out in West Matagorda. July usually brings on the dog days of summer, accentuating the plan of going early and getting off the water early. The surf, rigs and deep reefs are usually good during this hot stretch.

ort O'Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434

In July, Lynn hopes to find his way out around the jetties and the pass, staying in the surf as much as possible. “Winds have been howling some lately, but that usually ends some time in July. Coastal fishing doesn't get much better than topwaters in the surf. That kind of bite makes for fun summer mornings. If winds don't allow us to make that happen, we'll target our fish on sandy, grassy flats lying close to deep water, and look for big concentrations of mullet with slicks popping. We throw topwaters early when fishing these areas, trying to make every cast at some kind of nervous bait activity. This pattern produces best when tides run medium to high, particularly when they're flowing in strong in the morning hours. Another good place to fish this time of year in the morning with an incoming tide is along the spoil banks up near Indianola. Trout like to hang out close to deep water when it's so hot, coming up around the edges of the humps and islands late at night and early in the morning to feed while the water's moving.”

ockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894

Blake expects to be fishing the surf some in July, since it's always a good summer option. “We like to get into the surf as much as possible when it's blazing hot. Out there, the trout bite is usually good early in the mornings close to the beach, especially when the tide is coming in. Later in the day, outgoing tides can work well too, on the outer bars and guts. When not fishing along the beachfront, I like to fish some of the reefs in San Antonio, Copano and Aransas Bays this time of year. With deep water close to shallow structures, they make a lot of sense in hot weather. We normally wade along the edges of the reefs, where the shell breaks up a bit, casting along the reef, or out into deeper water. Topwaters work well along the beach or on the reefs early in the mornings, but soft plastics like Norton Sand Eels work better when the sun climbs higher in the sky. On some days, the Berkley Gulp! Split-tail shads work much better than the other plastics. And, we'll use live croakers if the fish become tough to catch on the artificials.”

pper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160

The water in the Upper Laguna Madre, including Baffin Bay, is in great shape. The fishing has been very good for the last three months, and I think it will continue through the month of July. With the warmer water temperatures, the fish will be in water depths of less than two feet early in the mornings, then move into deeper water as the day progresses. Look for areas with grass lines, sandy potholes and shallow rocks in about two feet of water early. Natural-colored MirrOlure SheDogs will work nicely if there is not too much grass floating on the surface. The Bass Assassin Elite Shiners in colors like meat hook and mama’s 14K rigged on sixteenth-ounce jigheads will also work in shallow water. Salt & pepper/chartreuse, plum/chartreuse and sand trout colored Bass Assassin Die Dappers rigged on sixteenth-ounce Assassin Spring Lock jigheads are great lures for fishing in two feet of water or more. I’m finding good numbers of redfish in less than fifteen inches of water while fishing with shrimp-flavored Fish-Bites.

orpus Christi | Joe Mendez | | 361.937.5961
In the excessive heat typical of July, Joe recommends fishing around deep grass edges and other structures for trout, and drifting the shallower flats early for redfish. “We catch plenty of reds early in the mornings this time of year on shallow flats in areas near the Causeway and further south. With the ridiculously clear water we've got these days, this often means sight-casting for them, using soft plastic paddletails rigged on sixteenth-ounce heads and employing a steady retrieve. Later in the day, when the reds move out into deeper water in places like Emmord's and Beacroft's Holes, we look for them in the boat, then toss soft plastics on heavier jigheads into the schools. When fishing for trout, we have better luck throwing around rocks and grass edges fronting deep water in places along the ICW spoil banks, Rocky Slough, Cathead, the Badlands and East Kleberg. If winds reach a moderate to strong level, heavier jigheads work best, since they allow us to maintain contact with the bottom and/or the edges of the rocks.”

.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
The surf has been on fire! Speckled trout fishing has been good on topwaters, MirrOlures, and soft plastics. This is the time of the year when bait-balls begin appearing regularly offshore and some days they’re making it all the way to the beach, sparking late-afternoon feeding frenzies of jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel, skipjacks, and tarpon. Tossing a spoon or topwater into the melee is a sure recipe for chaos. Redfish are still around, but numbers are declining. Despite skipjacks being a non-edible species, they are extremely fun to catch on light tackle and flies. Shrimp and Fish-bites are producing lots of whiting. Pompano and black drum are still possible. The opening of the gulf shrimp season in mid-July typically pulls most of the blacktip sharks offshore for easy meals of net cull. Meanwhile, the hot summer nights will produce some monster tigers, bulls, and hammerheads – time to go big or go home. Smaller shark baits (whiting) will produce scalloped hammerheads and large rays. Mature southern and roughtail stingrays are abundant and feeding in the shallows – some upwards of 200 pounds, so waders beware!

ort Mansfield | Ruben Garza | 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000

July typically gives us calm mornings with wind building toward afternoon. Areas such as West Bay, The Saucer, Green Island and the Black Pipe are often in play until at least mid-day…ditto the west shoreline north of port. Anglers who prefer drifting over wading should do well between the Weather Station and Dub’s Island. Other areas worth consideration are the Pipeline and flats south of East Cut. I like to start with topwaters early – bone and baby trout patterns. I normally recommend switching to plastics or spoons around mid-morning, but on some days in July surface lures work all day. We have tons of small trout, but lots of solid ones, too. Quite often, we find larger trout mixed with scattered pods of reds – fairly common on the ICW spoil humps up north. Keep an eye on the birds. Flocks of gulls have been covering trout pushing shrimp and other small bait to the surface – lots of smalls but enough keepers to make it worthwhile. Birds working near shorelines almost always means a school of reds. Keep an eye peeled for them!

ower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747

Under the summer sun, whether offshore or in the bay, we have to be prepared to survive the heat. We like to add a few very important articles to our list of supplies for a trip out on the Lower Laguna Madre. Some suggestions for surviving the sun: drink plenty of fluids and cover your head, use buffs to cover everything from your neck to your nose for the reflected glare under your hat. We carry Pedialyte packages to add to our drinking water for replacing electrolytes and come in a little earlier than usual. Freddy says, “If you stop sweating and feel dizzy, or begin to have blurry vision, you might be heading toward heat exhaustion or sun stroke. Be careful, and be prepared.” We’ve been hard pressed getting limits of reds unless tides are right, then it’s all about traffic. We’re still catching plenty of trout when we move out deeper with an occasional over-sized first thing in the morning. FP3 with Berkley Gulp! pearl-white shrimp with a chartreuse tail has been working best later in the day for trout. Help stop open bay dredge disposal!