Hooked Up: June 2016

Hooked Up: June 2016
Allen Williams with a big early-summer trout. CPR!

Unofficially, summer is here. The waders have been hung up for another cool season and my charter books have lightened some as many fisherman start using live bait instead of plugging with lures. You probably already know, I wade with lures with great success year round. I would encourage any of y'all with the same mindset to contact me ASAP to get on the books for summer wade fishing in Baffin and the Upper Laguna.

June on Baffin provides some of the best action you will see all year. Most of the big trout are spawned out, but they are still long and awe inspiring. The water temperature is now stabilized in the high-70s and all species will be crushing the buffet line of new baitfish. The bait continues to roll in from the south and the surface is just alive with mullet, shad, and fleeing shrimp. Every cast brings the potential of catching trout, reds, and flounder. If you are looking for lots of bites, June is a great time to be on the water.

As I sit here and write this article on a day off, I can't help but notice how light the winds are outside. The past week just blasted us with 30 mph winds and made fishing for trout pretty dang tough. Definitely one of those weeks when the old redfish saved the day(s). The winds will certainly be more stable in June and the ability to fish where and when you want will become a regular occurrence.

Patterns for June are pretty straight forward. With all the clean water and large supply of bait, you can almost fish any structure you prefer. Hard sand and grass bottoms, countless rock formations and windward sandbars will all be holding fish. After winter and spring fishing in the mud, I'm looking forward to standing on some firm ground to chase the big trout of Baffin and the Upper Laguna.

Steady topwater action began in April and will continue throughout summer. As the day warms up, the surface bite will slow down, but that morning action is well worth the trip. Switching to plastics and suspending lures as the sun gets higher will bring you continued success in the same areas, although the fish usually pull out to deeper water.

An observant eye will notice where the bait is headed and you can rest assured that the trout are right there with them. Follow the bait, fish a Bass Assassin closer to the bottom, and you should have continued success. My regular clients know this routine well and understand that trout are just like us when it comes to feeding. Once we have a big meal we are not inclined to keep gorging, but if we are sitting in our easy chair resting after supper, and the good wife brings by a tray of warm cookies, we will still grab one regardless of how full we may already be.

The point is, fish the water levels where the fish are held up after their morning feed but slow everything down. Get the lure right in front of their face. Trout like cookies too and you can make them eat again with a proper presentation.

Top lure choices are the 5" Bass Assassin (BA) on a 1/16 ounce jig head and a must-have at all times for trout. The 4" Sea Shad by BA is my go-to for shallow redfish. I'm going to let a secret out of the bag when it comes to topwaters. I have been going old school with the original Top Dog by MirrOlure. I rarely see folks use them much anymore, but I have been keeping my box stocked with them. They have a unique "thud" of rattle that has really been getting the trout's attention.

In closing I would like to remind everyone that summer boat traffic and fishing participation will be at its peak starting this month. With so many users (tournaments, guides, and recreational anglers) on the bay and its resources, practicing some catch and release is never a bad idea. In fact, more of it needs to be done on a much wider scale to preserve this treasure of a bay system we all enjoy down here.

The CCA STAR tournament trout division has an eight pound minimum weight to qualify. Over the past fifteen years only two trout have won that weighed less than nine pounds, and they were both bumping it. Don't be looking at that Boga Grip through beer goggles. Make sure you have a contender if you must kill it.

Remember the buffalo! -Capt David Rowsey