Reports & Forecasts: July 2019

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268
July provides consistency. The weather and tides become more predictable, making it easier for us to pattern speckled trout. Most of our days are spent in the southern end of the Calcasieu Ship Channel, at the Cameron Jetties, in the surf and at the short rigs, working deep, cool water. The main issue we face while fishing the channel is many of the “spots” are one-boat holes, so finding a spot to fish can be an issue with the number of boats on the water. Folks who get to fish these spots first, which is usually most productive, often leave Cameron before the sun rises and have their way with the fish before they hear the hum of other outboards. Personally, July is my favorite month. Yes, it’s hot, but often, we have plenty of fish in the box before the mid-morning heatwave takes hold. I enjoy fishing deep water with current, which is exactly what July provides. Nothing in fishing makes me happier than the solid thud of a two-pound trout biting in twenty feet of green water. Above all the other patterns we fish throughout the year, it's my favorite.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242
James is hoping all the freshwater flowing into the upper portions of Galveston and Trinity bays provide extra fish in West Bay. “In years when the salinity falls really low in the parts of the bays closest to the big rivers, the fish sometimes move around the corner, meaning around the Texas City Dike, then move westward. If they do, areas around Sand and Pelican Islands, Virginia Point and all the reefs and coves west of there can produce good catches of trout and redfish. July isn't a great month for working birds, but the action can be pretty good under birds when the water is not so salty, since this improves the shrimp production. Best bet will be to wade early mornings, especially when winds are medium to strong. Fishing out of the boat around slicks and rafted bait works better in the heat of the day. East Bay might turn out to be productive too, even if it's pretty fresh. The number of boats over there will become ridiculously high, if so. Typical light July winds will increase the odds for catching in any and all of these areas.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
On the day Jim gave this report, about six inches of rain had fallen in the Galveston area. “We're doing a repeat of the last few years, with so much freshwater flowing into the bays right now. Problem is, it makes the weather an even more important factor in whether we can catch or not. When the bays are running under ten parts per thousand salt, the water clarity is already not good, so any wind or strong tides make a muddy mess muddier. On days when winds are light and we have four tides, fishing can be really good out in the middle. We'll throw bright and dark soft plastics and work 'em low and slow, in the salty layer close to the bottom. When winds crank up and when we have two-tide days, it's a struggle. People wanting to fish on those kinds of days will do better moving toward the passes and the channel, where salty water pushes in. Parts of West Bay can be good. There are birds working over there already, and when it's wet, summer can be a good time to take advantage of that pattern in parts of the bay close to San Luis Pass.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323
Randall expects excellent fishing in July, and he mentions a variety of options which normally work in the first complete month of summer. “We should have some good catching in July. We usually get a good number of flat days, so we're able to fish out in the surf, and on the flats behind the pass, for trout mostly. Topwaters work well on a daily basis, when the water's hot, winds are light, and we have a tide rolling in. We do well in the first gut off the beach when we're out there, and on shallow parts of the sand flats adjacent to deeper guts when we're behind the pass. Lately, the woodpecker SkitterWalk has produced best. Of course, when the bite slows, soft plastics like Norton Sand Eels work better. Catching plenty on the glow color has been a no-brainer on recent trips. We also do well on trout and reds along some of the protected shorelines in the bays when winds are up a bit in July. This month the shad hatch made the bite a bit tougher, but we should be well over that by July, back to catching on a better variety of lures.”

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service - 713.725.2401
On recent trips made prior to giving this report, Charlie had been catching trout and redfish tight to the shorelines of both East and West Matagorda bays, in a foot to two feet of water. “The fish just moved into the shallows along the shorelines in both bays. This normally happens earlier in the year, but this weather pattern is weird, and things aren't normal. If we keep getting so much rain, and the wind stays up most of the time, the patterns will likely stay the same. We'll be targeting both trout and reds in protected pockets of salty water on the south shorelines. We've got a bunch of fish pouring into both bays right now, so it could be really good. If winds get lighter, which they usually do in July, it will help us some, opening up areas in the middle of the bays, spreading out the fish and the fishermen. Of course, if that happens, one place we'll look to fish as much as possible is the surf. July is a great month to head out to the beach and throw topwaters in the guts early, then move out a little deeper as the sun comes up.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204
Winds have been relentless, and fishing has been tough. We've moved our focus to redfish/drum/flounder with our trout areas blown out due to strong winds. We've been working shell in two or three feet of water, grinding out the redfish and drum. Live and fresh-dead shrimp rigged under popping corks have accounted for the best bites. High winds have produced high tides, and incoming tides have been most productive. Flounder have been plentiful far back in the marsh on live shrimp under corks. July should be a great month, once we can get out to the rigs and deep reefs. Free-lining shrimp and croaker over the deep reefs and shell pads in twelve to fourteen feet of water will be productive in the heat of summer. The surf outside West Matagorda will light up when we have light winds. Topwaters thrown early in the first gut always work well at the beach. Tripletail will also be an option when the winds lay, and as always a live shrimp rigged about four to five feet under a cork will be the best bait to throw at those tasty critters.

Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service - 361.983.4434
With the heat of summer standing in place, Lynn expects fishing to be good in a variety of areas close to Port O'Connor. “I will be heading out to the surf as much as possible, meaning when winds allow the water to be calm and green enough. We like to get out to the beach early in summer, throwing Super Spooks in the shallows close to the sand at first. We'll move out a little deeper during the morning, sticking with the topwaters if we can, switching over to soft plastics if the bite gets tougher. Incoming tide seems to work best. If the tide is going out, the fish will sometimes prefer the deeper guts off the second bar. When fishing in the bays, I like to stay on grassy, sandy flats close to the pass most of the time, throwing topwaters around large concentrations of bait. Mullet usually key us into the right areas, but there are usually piggy perch, shrimp and other small fish in the best cases. Flats close to deep, cool water normally produce best in the hottest months. Waders in all these places should remain aware of sharks.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
In July, Blake expects to be fishing some of the same areas he's been fishing in June, flats in St. Charles, Aransas and Mesquite Bays, along grassy, sandy shorelines, and on reefs in the middle of the bay some too. “I generally fish around grass beds in about waist deep water most of the time during the summer. I use artificial lures some, especially if my customers want to, but we start throwing live croakers a lot more of the time. Normally, this month is a good one for catching redfish in some of the same spots where we target the trout. The reefs in particular hold plenty of slot reds in July. I guess they come out of the shallow parts of the marshes and back-lakes to escape the heat in there. Of course, we will look for opportunities to head out into the surf. When winds calm down for a couple days, the topwater bite on trout can really go off along the beachfront. With Cedar Bayou closed up, it isn't quite as easy an option to try as when it was open, but I do plan on making some trips around the jetty and up the island when conditions are right. Overall, July is a hot, productive, fun month for fishing the Coastal Bend.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – [email protected] - 361.563.1160
When the very strong winds give us a break, the water in the Upper Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay is in good shape. With the warmer water temperatures, the fish will prefer depths of less than two feet early in the morning and then move into deeper water as the day progresses. I will be looking for areas with grass lines, sandy potholes and shallow rocks in about two feet of water early in the mornings. If we don’t have too much floating grass, natural colored MirrOlure SheDogs will work nicely for trout and redfish. The Bass Assassin Die Dappers in colors like salt & pepper/chartreuse, plum/chartreuse and sand trout, and Bass Assassin Elite Minnows rigged on sixteenth-ounce Assassin Spring Lock jigheads will work if there's too much floating grass. I’m finding good numbers of redfish and black drum in less than twelve inches of water while fishing with shrimp-flavored Fish-Bites. Wading has been the best way to approach the areas I’m fishing, and I’m always wearing my ForEverLast Ray Guards to protect myself from sting rays.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez – - 361.877.1230
The water in most parts of the Baffin/ULM system remains exceptionally clear, and sight-casting opportunities abound on all of the better days lately, Joe reports. “We have beautiful water to work with over much of the area. It's clear enough to make conventional methods tough under bright skies, which we have much of the time in July, so fishing places where we can see the fish is a key to catching once the sun gets high in the sky. Usually, this means targeting reds, drum and the occasional trout around potholes in grassy flats covered by water less than a couple feet deep. Throwing paddletails on light jigheads past the fish and reeling them steadily close in front of the fish normally works best to get bites. When cloud cover prevails and early in the mornings, we tend to target trout around deeper grass edges, along the fringes of spoils adjacent to the ICW and around rocks lying off shorelines like the Kenedy shore, between Baffin and the Land Cut this time of year. When working this drill, soft plastics on heavier heads work best.”

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
361-877-3583 |
Rolling into the hottest part of the year brings changes to the surf zone. Expect a morning bite to fade as temps rise and improve again late-afternoon. Favorable morning incoming tides and shoals of anchovies can extend the morning bite. Throwing topwaters toward suck-outs or deep holes on calm mornings can produce plenty of surf trout. If fish are lazy on the surface, I switch to Saltwater Assassins. Occasional tarpon should become available in the surf. Expect to see skipjacks moving in with a vengeance, following anchovies and other small bait. Spanish mackerel will join skipjacks, harassing anchovies. Shark action will vary along the coast, with Upper-Coasters seeing plentiful action from small to medium-sized sharks, while Lower-Coast shark action generally wanes, as many of these predators surround shrimp boats offshore to feed on net-cull. Tiger sharks will remain in the PINS surf, feeding mostly at night on the plentiful stingrays. Keep an eye on the tropics. Storms hundreds of miles away can create extreme tides!

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza – 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge – 956.944.4000
Jetty and nearshore fishing will be in full swing this month. Gulls and pelicans will be working bait balls as kingfish, Spanish mackerel, bonita, jack crevalle, and tarpon push bait to the surface. Monofilament leaders will not hold up to toothy fish. I prefer wire designed for tying knots. Pre-made, coated wire leaders work, assuming they include cross-lock snaps. Lure selection can include topwaters, bucktail jigs, Rat-L-Traps, and gold or silver Kastmaster spoons. At the jetties, cast tight to the rocks for slot and over-sized redfish, trout, and any of the aforementioned species. In the bays, I like to start my day on the west shoreline when the wind is light. With stronger wind, I head to the Saucer or West Bay. Preferred lures are topwaters or KWigglers on eighth-ounce jigs for trout, gold weedless spoons for redfish. If drifting, hit the Weather Station, Butcher’s Island, Wagner’s Bar, or the deep water south of the East Cut. KWigglers plastics and Gulp! under Mansfield Maulers and popping corks are always good choices when drifting.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Aaron Cisneros | – 956-639-1941
Recent fishing success and the beginning of summer on the Lower Laguna Madre indicate the higher the mercury rises, the better the fishing gets. Our trout fishing has been exceptional along the edges of the ICW, where we are focusing on muddy-bottomed spoil islands and throwing natural-colored lures like KWiggler’s Mansfield Margarita Ball Tail Shad on eighth-ounce screw-lock jigheads. Working these tails with fast retrieves has shown to be effective early in the mornings. We then shift to a slower cadence that allows them to fall closer to the bottom as the sun gets brighter. We're catching mostly small keeper trout, with a few really solid ones mixed in. Redfish have taken up residence on the east-side flats, where we're throwing some of the clearer soft plastics and eighth-ounce weedless gold spoons. Targeting bait concentrations along edges of grass beds has been a productive pattern there. Expect the trout, reds and the bait they are following to slide off into deeper water during the hottest hours of the day.