South Padre: June 2024

South Padre: June 2024
Nicky Vece with her first Texas redfish. Caught on Z-Man plastic bait.

Fishing around the world as I have been doing the past several years in both fresh and saltwater, I notice a common behavior for fish to congregate in areas where food is abundant and delivered by water currents. A great example was rainbow trout in the river below Lake Taney Como Dam in Branson, Missouri. Wading along I noticed more than twenty rainbows shadowing my footsteps, taking advantage of the forage kicked up by my wading boots.

This scenario sparked a deeper reflection on how fish seize opportunities. Some of their tactics are obvious while others are more subtle. The more we probe into fish behavior, the more successful our fishing endeavors can become. Beyond the influence of weather, our tides play a pivotal role in fish movement from one spot to another. Visualize the tides as a bustling subway system that fish utilize to migrate to new feeding grounds or to escape high-pressure areas and seek refuge in more secluded spots.

The Lower Laguna Madre is a shallow hypersaline lagoon with average depth of 2.8 feet, so hiding places are few compared to deeper bays such as the Galveston Complex. Down here, a depth change as slight as four inches can be significant enough to draw plenty of fish, and a pothole-littered flat can be a gold mine.

Fish often congregate in the middle of a flat, but why? I'm frequently asked, “What made you stop here?” Well, having knowledge of the area is immensely beneficial. Knowing where depth changes occur, where the grass beds fade out, and also where greater tidal flows occur in a specific area are crucial to fishing success. You know the old adage, "being at the right place at the right time." Google Maps can be a great tool for learning changes in bottom contour and water depths. Zoom in and learn.

Redfish catches have been consistent in many locations. The recent rise in tides has triggered bait movement into shallow back bays and the reds have followed. The west side of the ICW is currently holding more redfish than the east side because of this. If the wind continues to howl, look for the birds to continue working over redfish rooting for shrimp in muddy, grassy-bottomed areas.

Redfish have been slamming topwaters and we are also doing very well with Z-Man soft plastics. I cannot say enough good things about their Eye Strike Texas Eye Finesse jigs. They are almost completely weedless and the swiveling head helps the bait swim with more life-like movement.

If you find small crabs and shrimp in a particular area, you can rest assured the redfish will be somewhere nearby. If the winds lay down, shorelines will be hot spots for finding tailing redfish.

Trout catches have also been consistent. Many undersized fish in the mix but limits of keeper-size trout have been easily attainable. Most of our trout are coming from deeper, greener water. There are still some trophies out there, but by now, most female trout have spawned and lost considerable weight. Water temps in June should remain cool enough for trout to remain shallow all day, unlike later in summer.

The edges of the ICW should continue to deliver plenty of trout action. The sand in early morning will also hold trout, but they will retreat to deeper areas as the sun gets high. Deeper potholes can also hold good numbers of fish in June. Be attentive for slicks popping as they are sure signs of feeding activity.

We will be throwing lots of Z-Man products while targeting trout, not only because of their ten times greater durability but also because of their softness, which seems to encourage fish to hold on longer when they bite.

Flounder have started to show in good numbers, to the extent that it has lately become possible to target them specifically. The rise in tides and water temps will also trigger snook to move into our bays in increased numbers. Last year’s snook landings were the best in ten years for my charters. We hope this summer will be even better.

The Ron Hoover 4th Annual Fishing Tournament will be held July 12-13 at South Padre Island. The cash payouts and prizes are phenomenal in both guided and non-guided divisions. Food and entertainment will be provided both nights. There will be drawings for two new boats – but you must be present to win! The format of the tournament makes it possible for anyone to win, whether you are an amateur or a skilled angler. Put it on your calendar and join the fun!

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