August Will Be a Test of our Angling Skill and Dedication

August Will Be a Test of our Angling Skill and Dedication
Reward of fishing patiently along windward spoil island… in water of near zero visibility.
Writing this at 9:00 AM it has already rained three inches. I cancelled my group due to the thunderstorms; yesterday we spent a good part of the morning in the Corps of Engineers docks near Mustang Lake. Fishing continues to be tough for me as conditions just won't let me do what I need to do for more than a day or so at a time. Wind has been the major contributor to our difficulties but I know in a few weeks I'll probably be complaining about the lack of it.

Disgusted? Perhaps a bit at times, but not one bit deterred. Hey, its fishing and fishing is certainly not always catching. It is the pursuit that gets me up and at them each day and I hope it is the same for you.

The water in northern Aransas/San Antonio Bay system has been mostly muddy since March. Shoreline water conditions are clear where bottom grass is prevalent and bait seems to be in abundance there as well. Problem is; the fish are not staying shallow in the clear water with the bait for any period of time. I catch good fish early most days - but not numbers.

With wind roiled water and limited windows due to daytime heating, I suggest fishing smaller areas of deeper structure where wind can move water when tidal action does not. I have noticed my entire career that smaller areas of structure where water movement can happen 24/7 will typically hold larger fish.

Just think about some of your own best spots. I hate using the word spots because I believe fish use areas, and we in turn perceive them as spots. Anyway, if you think about it, I bet you'll find that most are on windward shorelines and small areas along spoils or small areas of scattered shell are always my first choice when available.

Over the past several weeks I have fished some awful-looking water and it occurs that fishermen are put off by poor clarity way more than fish. I almost never see boats lined up when the water turns murky. Now besides structure and water movement, I am also attracted by the fact that all the other boats are driving by. I take note daily of areas I know to have good structure with nobody fishing. Lots of things can stop me and one is an area that for days or even weeks seems to be getting little to no pressure.

So I am working windward shorelines and spoils as well as reefs and scattered shell that typically have good daytime water movement. Just so you'll know, most of the reefs I prefer to fish run east to west, not north and south. This is big time important in the moving water game. Also important is locating the areas in the reef where water can pass through, even on the lowest of tides. Such areas are funnels and fish will stack up-current of them. Never mind the water clarity. Put yourself where the fish are likely holding and let them find your lure, they're instinctively adept at feeding in murky water.

Quick side note here: I use Bass Assassins 1/16 ounce screwlock, on size 2/0 hook or the Bass Assassin Pro Elite 1/16, also 2/0. When fishing over scattered clump shell, the short hook shank allows it skip through when longer-shank hooks will hang up. But having said that; if you're not bumping shell and hanging up occasionally, you're probably working the lure too fast.

Another note on the shell game: When you do hang up, understand that the jig cannot come loose with you holding the line bow-string tight. Try pointing the rod tip at the snagged lure; place your thumb on the spool and pull slow and steady. Quite often the jig will roll right off. Whatever you do, do not walk into the area holding fish to retrieve the lure. Break it off and tie a new one.

On shorelines/spoils I prefer to position my group on the very outside of the deepest grass. Let the rising sun and the warming water push the fish; in a very natural way I might add, to you. If I have a group of four or more I will allow the end of the line to drift in and fish water and structure that the rest of the group is not touching until a definite pattern is established. I lead the way; I know the line I need you on. I love to fish and sometimes get caught up in that but a good guide finds them and then backs away for his clients.

The most-asked question this month will be, "How long do you stay in an area before making the decision to move?"

My answer has always been, "You stay as long as good signs are evident and you continue to have confidence."
I know this sounds easy for me to say, since I have experienced lots of good days in virtually every area I typically choose. But I still need to see bait, feel the water moving around my legs and receive a bite now and them. If all of this is happening, especially prior to a predicted solunar feed, I am staying. Time spent fishing versus running around trying to decide where to fish most always presents the best odds of catching fish. Through July and on into first couple of weeks of September you would be well advised to never leave fish to try and find more fish.

Before I close this I want to talk a little about some of the stuff I'm using. By now everybody in the world knows how much I rely on my Bass Assassin soft plastics and I will be throwing a bunch of them. Even with my devotion to Bass Assassin, I will also be throwing the MirrOlure 5" Provoker in the Texas Roach color. It's a very good bait and deserves some mentionand for me to say that is saying a lot. On the topwater side I will be using my trusty MirrOlure Top Dogs and also some Spooks. I like being honest with all of you on what I use and I hope my sponsors and even non-sponsors respect the honestly as well.

Back to Bass Assassin lures some of the new names for lure colors they're coming out with are cracking me up. Recent new introductions are the Meat Hook, Smoke Wagon, MaMa's Chicken, Mississippi Hippie and Rainbow Shad. All of these are available in the 5" Shad, 3" Sea Shad and 5" Die Dapper series.

Still throwing my Henri Custom rods with my Quantum EXO reels in 7.3:1 ratio. These are still the lightest setups on the market and that keeps this old arm from aching too much each night. The high gear ratio on the reel allows me to keep the lure up and on top of the scattered shell in between twitches. Also allows for gathering line quickly when that fish of a life time takes your lure over heavy clump shell and comes straight toward you at warp speed.

May your fishing always be catching. -Guide Jay Watkins