Fish Talk: July 2007

Fish Talk: July 2007
Frances Kendrick enjoyed a nice day with the East Matagorda trout.

It's July and it's hot! Wake up call about July fishing... when you are out there wading, even though you may think all is well with your body temperature, it may not actually be. When the sun has heated the saltwater to near body temperature it provides little relief for waders and has a way of robbing your body's fluids and strength reserves. Try to drink plenty of water and sports drinks, no alcohol. Use your sunscreen, wear a good hat and long sleeves, and polarized glasses to protect your eyes from those glaring ultraviolet rays.

Every year you hear about people having heat strokes and take it from someone who has been there it's no cakewalk. A few years back, I didn't take the time to eat or drink properly to keep pushing myself to find fish because it was a slow day. Boy did I pay the price for the following few weeks. I decided right then and there that no fish was worth that sacrifice. What I'll do lots of times is prepare my body before leaving the dock in the morning by drinking a bottle of water right off the bat. So be smart and protect yourself from the harsh saltwater environment facing us July through August.

Looking back at past East Matagorda Bay records, June has produced some quality fish with good top water action on some days and lots of Assassins in different flavors being chunked as well. July will be a little tougher just because of the heat mainly in the latter part of July. Wading the deep reefs or drifting Raymond's Reef and surrounding areas while fishing slicks, water color changes, and mullet bait lines out in the middle of the bay will be viable options. The bite will likely be early to mid-morning and then again before dark.

Again this year, if the winds are right (meaning light winds); I will try night fishing under a full moon about seven nights in a row. This is one smart way to beat the heat. Fish do bite at night and the bay is virtually boat free. Game fish have no concept of day or night seeing as well in darkness as light. Two quick examples: About two years ago three guys showed up to fish under a full moon. All three fellows had topwaters in mind. They asked me if their top waters would work and I told them maybe but you see what I have tied on, Morning Glory Assassins.

We started wading Long Reef in East Matagorda Bay with very clear water. Every time you took a step the water would glow from the phosphorous in the water around your legs. I could hear the topwaters clicking but no blows. We got about 50 yards from the boat and I hooked up with a trout using my Morning Glory, then another, and by the time the other guys decided to switch I had five trout on my stringer. That night those boys caught their limit of trout and reds on Morning Glory Assassins and Keith Hill caught his best trout ever, it measured 29 1/2".

Another classic event in night fishing took place back in 1997 while fishing with Bruce Baugh and Dr. Steve Williams during a Galveston Bay TroutMasters Tournament. Back then we could start fishing at 5:30 AM in the pitch black dark. All three of us had Super Spooks on wading a shoreline of mud and shell. We all hooked up, Bruce and Steve with big reds and as I was reeling in my fish, thinking along those same lines, up popped a big trout a little over six pounds. This trout won the tournament for big fish and put me over the top by ten points to win Pro Angler of the Year for TroutMasters that year. So folks, night fishing is possible. You just have to decide to take time and go try it, it's different and fun!

Take your chance in the Matagorda surf if you see green to the beach and one-footers rolling in. You can fish the surf by boat or four-wheeler. The only way to fish west of the Matagorda Jetties is by boat. Turning to the east, you can drive the beach or go by boat, whichever suits you. Four-wheel drive vehicles are a must for driving the beach. Some fishermen drive all the way to Mitchell's Cut in Sargent. Look for deep guts right off the shoreline, watch for diving seagulls and pelicans, fish an incoming tide, and fish the first gut. Any artificial bait you use in the bay will work in the surf, especially your topwaters and Mirrolures.

Now for a look at West Matagorda Bay, try fishing the south shoreline from the Cullen Houses all the way down to Airport Flats. Look for big long lines of finger mullet moving while fishing sandbars, grass beds, and guts. Also, fishing an incoming tide will enhance your catching chances. The gas wells out in the middle of West Bay are always good summertime producers as well. Bait selections for me will not change much. I'll keep chunking what works best for me, Saltwater Assassins, Mirrolures, and She Dogs in different colors. Have a great time fishing and remember to protect yourselves while you're doing it!