South Padre: June 2023

South Padre: June 2023
Z-Man’s PaddlerZ in sexy penny fooled this back bay redfish.

June looks as though it will be a bit of transitional month for us, at least in terms of water temperature. I say this because of the several cool fronts in recent weeks that have kept our waters mostly in the low- to mid-70s range. I expect this will change soon as the daily high temperatures rise well into the 80s and 90s heading into June.

June is usually a much calmer month, wind wise, and the majority of our bay waters will become clear to trout green. One of the main reasons anglers from other parts of the Texas coast frequent the Lower Laguna Madre is our vast crystal-clear flats. The abundance of seagrass contributes to water clarity as it helps hold bottom sediments in place, unlike other parts of the coast.

I want to offer a few pointers that can contribute to more consistent fishing success in the coming summer season. Of course, nothing beats time on the water. But if your fishing time might only be a few days, there are some things you should consider when planning your trips.

First is weather, especially wind direction and velocity. Certain areas fish better with specific wind directions. Some are protected from wind and naturally hold better water clarity than others.

Next would be tides and knowing how long it takes a tidal current to reach your favorite fishing spots. On average, I have discovered that it takes one hour for the tide to travel six to seven miles. So, using that calculation, you can estimate when it will reach your area. Learn to gauge the tide at the boat ramps you use. The water level will show you which areas you can and cannot fish.

Then comes the major and minor solunar feeding periods. These do not always occur exactly on cue, but I have found them about 80- to 85-per cent accurate, on average. The more you use and study the solunar table, the more you begin to understand it and gain confidence.

Be observant of everything going on around you, especially bait activity. Study the birds and their feeding activity. They can pinpoint the fish you are after as well as provide clues for lure selection. Seeing lots of bait activity on the surface; I may be inclined to throw a topwater. But if the fish are short-striking or slapping at it, I will switch to a Z-Man plastic. Mud boils tell me fish may not be actively feeding, just lying on the bottom. In this case I will likely throw either the Z-Man Kicker CrabZ or PaddlerZ, trying to keep it low in the water column.

Boat traffic has increased noticeably in recent weeks. This, along with higher tides has had redfish scattered and less concentrated than earlier this spring. Shifting strategies, we have successfully targeted redfish in tucked-away places; right up against spoil areas, tight to shorelines, and back bays on the west side of the ICW.

These back bays have soft, muddy bottoms where shrimp are known to burrow during daylight hours, which helps explain why the reds are there. If our water level remains high, the east-side flats will also hold scattered redfish and occasional schools. If the wind doesn't lay down this month, look for birds to work over pods of redfish holding on murky flats in late afternoon.

The recovery of our trout fishery is more evident with the passing of each month, and the numbers of smaller trout gives solid hope for the future. As the water warms in June, look for the best bite to occur during early morning and late evening. Not saying they can't be caught during the hottest part of the day, but you would do well to target deeper and cooler water.

June is an excellent month to find trout along the edges of the ICW and other channels. A moving tide greatly improves your chances of finding and catching them. Try to keep your lure low near bottom with a slow retrieve. The Z-Man Paddlerz, with its segmented body, has an excellent vibrating action even when worked slowly. The ElazTech material they are made from is incredibly tough, which means you won’t be wasting time changing lures after a few fish. 

Snook numbers remain excellent but much harder to target, the best days being those with strongest tides that coincide with new moon and full moon phases. Some flounder have been showing during recent weeks, and I expect to see them becoming more abundant in cuts and drains as we make our way further into summer.

Best fishing!