It has been a tough summer – maybe the toughest I can remember. We never really saw the surf get “right.” We dealt with southwest winds for most of June and July; and, severe drought had salinity levels greater than that of the Gulf of Mexico. So, I am looking forward to September and a change of pace, mixing in a shotgun in the morning and fishing the afternoon.
Though this summer was more challenging than normal, we did see our share of large trout. That’s encouraging and a testament to conservative bag limits and a more prevalent “catch and release” attitude by more anglers than I have ever witnessed.
More needs to be done and it starts with professionals taking the lead and promoting more catch and release and protecting those 17-23 inch trout that are legal to harvest.
Long before the freeze and stricter regulations, it was always tough to swallow sticking a knife in a 20-inch, three-pound fish. That fish has a chance, much like a 3½-year old whitetail, to be something special. Think about it.
Here’s what has been going on: The south shoreline of West Matagorda Bay has been up and down. Sand and grass flats closer to the Port O'Connor jetty and Pass Cavallo are traditionally good this month on She Pups, Super Spook Jrs. and Down South Lures.
Out of the boat, never discount Half-Moon Reef in West Bay while drifting with live shrimp under a popping cork.
Redfish guides in Matagorda know things get tough when water temps reach the upper 80s and tides fall 1-2 feet below normal during the summer. Redfishing was tough all summer, but that should change in September. Hopefully we will get the bloated tides we have been waiting for since April. I can’t remember a summer when the tides were this low, probably due to all the southwest wind we experienced.
Swelling tides offer more real estate for redfish and allow all captains a chance to float the backwaters where autumn redfish roam.
The best pattern this summer for redfish has been drifting in the middle of East Matagorda Bay. All those redfish on the south shoreline had no choice but to fall to the deep shell in the middle of the bay. The jetty should be great for reds in September. Most of the fish are near the bottom and best on live baits like finger mullet, pogies, and large table shrimp.
Dove season opens for us on September 2-3-4 in El Campo during the Special Whitewing Season. We will hunt the weekend afternoons and fish the mornings. Teal season runs Sept. 10-25 and our cast and blast options are popular. Despite the drought, we will have freshwater for the bluewings; and, if history holds true, during years of drought, those who have water have lots of teal.Please err on the conservative side when given the opportunity. We can’t continue to take, take, take and expect the bay to give, give, give.