Hooked Up: August 2017

Hooked Up: August 2017
Robert Ramsey releasing another redfish on a "work hard for the reward" kind of day.

Here we go into the final full month of summer. South Texas is still a couple of months away from seeing any kind of break in the heat, but that just gives us something to look forward to as we grind through the dog days.

It has been very warm this summer, more than normal, in my opinion. How the bait fishing folks can sit on the deck of a boat and cook all day is beyond me. There is much coolness found in waist-deep water while wade fishing. Yeah, it's still warm, but at least you can take a dip down to get the whole body wet and let the southeast breeze give you an instant cool-off when you rise back up.

The older I get the more precautions I take to stay cool at all costs, and hydrated. I devour water and sports drinks all day, and ride my client's butts to do the same. A clean hand towel resting in the drink box does wonders for the face and neck between wades. Y'all be smart and take care of yourselves out there this August.

There are two upsides to fishing during August. The first being that the trout are putting on eggs again to spawn; therefore, fat trout will be more common towards the end of the month versus the long, skinny ones we have been catching the past sixty days. I like catching them all - big, short, fat, long and small, but prefer the long ones with big bellies. There will be many more opportunities to achieve this in weeks ahead. 

I used to encourage STAR tournament hopefuls to charter this month for a legit shot at a possible winner for the southern zone. Although I would still love any of you to book a trip now for a big summer trout, the current Lower Coast leader of the STAR trout is a huge 10 lb-14 oz specimen. The chances of anyone topping that fish are slim to none. With that said, there is zero reason to kill any large trout for the Lower Coast STAR at this point. 

Joining social media this year for the first time, it is mind-blowing how many folks I see killing great fish, thinking they have a chance to win something as trivial as a gift card, when in reality they are two to three pounds out of the running. I would encourage all to be more responsible outdoorsmen and stewards of the bay by knowing what the leading weight is, using a Boga Grip to weigh the fish when landed, snap a photo, and let it go if it has no chance to win you a boat.

Trout action is early for the most part. I'm typically departing Bluff's Landing Marina around 5:00 a.m.  this time of year to catch the best trout of the day in the first two hours of sunlight. I am, almost always, starting my days in Baffin for the initial flurry of action. Slicks remain to be the key indicator on where I will fish and, no surprise, these areas will also be where I find the most bait.

After the sun gets high and the bite slows down, you have a few options: For trout, you can go out deep and grind it out or, what I prefer, go skinny to seek out the largest fish (but you do run the risk of far less action). The next option is to go chase redfish. I prefer to go for them skinny as well, because I love to sight-cast. To me, sight-casting is the perfect combination of hunting and fishing. I get so into it at times that I have to remind myself that I have clients with me.

Easy to get lost in it when you are sliding quietly through the water looking for a shadow of a big trout or that faded orange glow of an unsuspecting redfish. The whole site-casting and slick pattern has been a mainstay for me all summer, and will continue on through September. 

I have become a minimalist over the years when comes to lure selection. Early in the morning, with good wave action, I will start with a MirrOlure He-Dog or Top-Dog. If it’s calm it will be something on the smaller side, like a Spook Jr. Depending on the water conditions and clarity, I will have a variety of 5" Bass Assassins (straight tail) rigged on 1/16-ounce screw-lock jigheads. I will be quick to go to the plastic if the bite on top is not aggressive enough for my tastes.

Remember the buffalo! -Capt. David Rowsey