Hooked Up: July 2015

Hooked Up: July 2015
Eight-year-old Houston Joy is an amazing young fisherman. On his birthday charter he landed at least 40 trout and 15 redfish. Casts like a grown man, very accurate, and a great understanding of working structure. It was my pleasure to have him fish beside me all day.
Sometimes these articles can be a bit tedious to write as one month's fishing pattern is so similar to the next, and there are only so many angles you can say it in different ways. Well, I'm here to tell you that things have been "shaken up" down here on the coast and there are plenty of new things to inform y'all of.

The recent rains and flooding throughout the state have not skipped the coastal bend. My little spread in Flour Bluff caught over fifteen inches in May alone. All of the water is great for the bay system and I am watching Mother Nature change things for the better, right before my eyes, daily.

In the past, small showers to me meant that there would most likely be an outbreak of brown tide in the bay. I have always believed that runoff from the mainland (Ag chemicals, old septic systems, wastewater discharge, manure, etc.) and poor water circulation from the gulf were the main culprits to spawn the nasty algal blooms. It's impossible to forecast what the long term affects will be, but the seasonal tides and recent deluge of rainwater has worked some miracles.

Large portions of the bay have become trout-green again. In many areas the water is air clear. It happened almost overnight!

Throughout the entire Baffin Bay system and south into the Land Cut the water is very green and pretty. Potholes, shoreline grass beds, and rock formations are clearly visible. Predominant southeast winds have pushed the brown water north into the Upper Laguna Madre where it is dissipating slowly as the JFK Causeway acts as an unintentional dam preventing much water movement towards the gulf. The design of the JFK Causeway and its engineering, regarding water flow, is another story within itself.

To say I am overjoyed with the current water conditions would be an understatement of epic proportions. Your mind instantly clears of any fogginess created by brown tide, your focus becomes sharp as a razor and, you wish there were ten of you so that you could be fishing in as many areas at one time. It's a good state of mind to be in.

With the bay looking as good as it has in the last four years, places to fish successfully have become numerous. I have fished or ran my boat through the entire system over past ten days. There are countless options to set your anchor down and start a confident wade. Baitfish or shrimp have been plentiful in all of them, and catching is the norm in most places we choose to Power-Pole down.

For me, the south shoreline of Baffin has not been very rewarding this year. That has all changed now. The clear water has exposed miles of potholes and structure virtually the whole distance from east to west. Besides great trout fishing in the area, it has been one of the more consistent areas to hold redfish also. I generally start my wades shallow here. Keep your eyes peeled for active mullet. If you are not getting bites up skinny, do not hesitate to adjust your position so that you are on the drop-off of the flat, where the bait is most likely to have staged.

Baffin is famous for its rocks but fishing them during poor water conditions can be tough. Now is the perfect time to sight-cast the edges of all visible rocks you can muster up the nerve to get close to. Not every rock is going to produce monster trout, or small ones for that matter. You have to locate the rock piles that are holding mullet consistently to catch trout. Save time and your lower unit by utilizing your trolling motor to search large areas of scattered rock piles on both the north and south shorelines of Baffin, and south into Rocky Slough. Fishing the edge of the rocks is always the most productive in this scenario.

No reason to overthink lure selection. Whether in the rocks or shallow grass, my preferred jighead is the Bass Assassin Pro Elite Series 1/16 oz - 1/0 hook. This hook is tiny, with as much backbone as you will ever need in the bay. Rigged with any favorite 5" Bass Assassin, it's just a lethal combo down here. MirrOlure topwaters are always in play throughout the day for us. The rougher the chop becomes, the louder pitched lure is my first choice. Most any color will work, but I am putting lots of confidence in the chromed-sided plugs.

Remember the buffalo! -Capt. David Rowsey