Hooked Up: June 2010

Hooked Up: June 2010
Bill Senglemen with a pair of really great flounder caught with Bass Assassins.
Sitting here watching the wind blow high-20s I am very happy to have a day off to rest my shoulders and enjoy more than one cup of coffee; extra sleep is nice too. I'm not getting soft on fishing but it has been nonstop pluggin' around here. Although a little tired at times, great catches have helped roll me out of bed every morning.

Springtime tides have made a great impact on the Upper Laguna Madre and far into Baffin Bay. Although the water still looks brown in Yarbrough and the Land Cut, Baffin has had unbelievable water clarity over the past month. The Upper Laguna and Corpus Christi Bay are the same.

The normal push of springtime tide caused our water level to rise sharply for several weeks but are now starting to get back to traditional levels overall. This flushing brings all kinds of new life to our bays and really gets summer kicked off in high-fashion. The dredging of Packery Channel has been a big help and has allowed an array of fish into the Upper Laguna that many locals are not accustomed to catching on a routine basis. Jack crevalle, mangrove snapper and skipjack are showing up in places I have never seen them before. Menhaden are quite abundant in June, and where you find them you will also find the gamefish.

May and June are the months when the trout start "slicking" down here. Fishing slicks is one of my favorite ways to get a jump on the catching part of fishing. The trout will be on just about all types of structure. My preference will be for combinations of slicks on sand and grass, and shallow rocks and sand. Combine those with an active food supply, some deeper water to rest in, and you will be on your way to some successful days on the water in these bays.

Water temperatures are very comfortable for wet wading, but not so hot that the fish are seeking out really deep structure. Early mornings will find us starting the day in knee to thigh depths with good baitfish presence and, unfortunately, stingrays too. Speaking of stingrays, Simms Fishing has come out with a new flats boot that will add protection and comfort to our days in the water. I just picked up a pair and am excited to give them their first run in the thick grass that hides those little swimming land mines. As the day heats up we will head into a little deeper water and allow our lures to run deeper in the water column.

Lure choices for this time of year do not differ much from the rest of the year for me. However, the order in which I choose them does. If it is calm, I generally start with a Super Spook Jr. in a color that is appropriate for the water clarity. My next favorite small topwater lure is the She Dog or She Pup. A good chop on the surface will dictate when I switch to the larger He Dogs, Top Dogs, and full-sized Spooks. I will fish topwaters as long as they let me, but when the bait goes down, you need to follow their lead. If I am in water that is thigh-deep or less, my fist choice is going to be the straight-tailed five inch Bass Assassin on a 1/16 oz jighead. I'll stay with the same jig head even in five foot depths if the winds allow me to do so. When the wind affects lure control switching to the 1/8 oz jighead is suggested. Of course, the Paul Brown Original (Corky) is a staple in my wading box and is always at the top of the list when I am seeking a monster in the crowd or sight-casting a big trout.

Finfish (as bait) season is now in turbo mode. For me, the method is just another way to catch fish and I have gotten to the point where I have no problem with the method itself. Irresponsible harvest is another issue however, and one that all of us (guides and recs) need to consider. TPWD's seatrout regulations lend a sense of entitlement to kill way too many fish on a daily basis to sustain a vibrant fishery. I not only encourage, but plead to all, please take what you will eat fresh and let the rest go to reproduce.

Driving off the beach one afternoon with Capt. Billy Sandifer, I commented, "Sandy, I'm tired and ready to get home."

He looked at me out of the corner of his eye rolling the stump of an old cigar in his mouth. "Kid," he said, "Someday you will realize that you have been home all day... all you are doing now is going back to the house."

His words made a lot of sense to me then and still do.

"Set 'em loose." - Capt. David Rowsey