Hooked Up: August 2019

Hooked Up: August 2019
Catching moments like this between a father and daughter is better than all the fish we hooked that day - Bill and Gretchen Sengelmann.

Well, the dog days have arrived in full force. Slack winds and 100° temperatures are sucking the wind out of the "dream job" of guiding right about now. I'm often asked how I do it most every day, and I sometimes wonder that myself. The truth is I still love to fish and am as excited as any client when I feel that thump at the end of the line. The real story, though, for me to run so many days in the heat, is being stubborn and a strong dose of mind over matter. No matter how any of us make a living we all have to get up and put our feet on the ground.

The good news is that we are catching…steadily. Trout mornings have been really solid on most days, unless the winds are just dead flat. With little tidal movement in Baffin, a good breeze to create current in the water is a must. Personally, I prefer wind in the range of 12- to 20-miles per hour. The water stays generally “trout green” with our typical SE wind and the currents generated are ideal for keeping baitfish pinned to structure. The wind is your friend this time of the year. Embrace it!

My focus from August through the first cold fronts will be trout for the first three hours of daylight and then switching to reds when the heat and the sun gets up good. Redfish schools are showing up pretty steady now, but it doesn't take much boat traffic to bust them up. "Back in the day" you could find countless schools of reds throughout the Laguna and Baffin and they were easy pickins. 

It is a much different story than even just a short ten years ago. I cannot exaggerate how my clients and I could be on a wade with 200 reds in front of us, catching practically every cast, only to watch them break up and vanish when a boat runs by within a couple hundred yards. This used to not be the case, but with so much more boat traffic, people running shorelines, and "rodeos" in the open bay, reds have learned new survival strategies. Mainly, the school splinters off in many directions and fish bury in the grass. Come sunset they gather up again.   

With so many more people and boats on the water, I've learned to take opportunities as they present themselves. Most of you know me as a diehard trout guy, and that is true.  Many years ago I was trolling up on what I thought was a big school of reds on some deep rocks in Baffin. The school turned out to be black drum. We did not catch any on our lures but, lo and behold, about one in twenty amongst the school were redfish. We managed to catch 15 or 20 of them over the next couple of hours, along with some very solid trout. I have learned many lessons on the water by accident and that is one I still use every time the opportunity presents itself. My point to all my fellow trout and red snobs is to try new things to accomplish the same goal. Thinking outside of the box can sometimes make you look pretty damn smart.

I do not foresee any big change in lure selection over the next few months. At least half of the boat will start with MirrOlure She Dogs in the morning and the other half will try finessing Bass Assassins around whatever structure we are on. Even on days when we are blessed with a good topwater bite, it usually ends pretty early. From that point on, it's all about the 5" Bass Assassin. A fast sinking MirrOdine is also a must-have in the wade box. It will cast a mile and has a lot of flash that trout love when the sun gets high and pushes them to deeper water.

There is a big to-do about the state of our coastal fisheries right now. TPWD has created a Facebook poll seeking opinions and comments on a mix of things that have to do with saltwater fishing and boating. I’ve had many opinions about what needs to be done on the coast for many years and I'm pleased to see many salty sportsmen looking at the bigger picture and encouraging others to be more conservative. This poll is an opportunity to speak directly to TPWD. Get involved and let your voice be heard. 

Remember the buffalo!  -Capt David Rowsey