Hooked Up: July 2017

Hooked Up: July 2017
Big flounder, like this 5-1/2 pounder, have been caught on the majority of our wades this year. Never seen anything like it in Baffin. Great example of how conservative limits improve a fishery.

With July approaching, we are finally seeing some relief from the blasting winds we experienced through most of spring. You could tell the bay waters wanted to be green to clear, but the constant blow was keeping it stirred up. That has changed. Light winds have prevailed of late and the waters of Baffin and the Laguna look like something out of a travel magazine advertising a tropical destination. 

These conditions get me excited as the gorgeous days provide excellent sight-casting opportunity, once the sun is well up. Honestly, I have been doing just that since late-April when the conditions allowed, but it is now becoming the daily norm for my groups as the summer rolls along.

I know most of you have experienced the thrill of seeing your game just a few yards away and making a cast to it. If you have not, I promise you, it is about the most exciting and gratifying way in the world to catch a trout or redfish. A methodical slow wade, using your eyes rather than blind-casting, seeing a glint of a tail or a dark shadow quartering away. Sometimes it’s a burnt orange torpedo lying in short grass that incites the fishing version of buck fever. I have been doing this fishing thing for a very long time and I still get the fever when I see them.

Before the sun gets up enough to partake in sight-casting, we begin the day in our best trout-producing spots. Given the summertime heat, your best trout bite is typically earlier in the day and my top choices for selecting where to begin usually involves some kind of flat that has a deep dropoff. There are miles of this kind of structure in the Baffin and Laguna complex, so you need to look for something that makes a particular area stand out. 

As I am running the boat, I am constantly looking for slicks in areas that have the right structure. Spotting slicks can be done from a quarter of a mile away and should be your first clue of an area to check out. So, now that a slick gave you a starting point, ride the trolling on in and find the bait.
I know we sound like a bunch of broken records, mentioning the presence of bait over and over, but it truly is the single-most important factor that qualifies whether predators might be present. Hey, if I’m hungry I do not go outside and wait for a cheeseburger to fall from the sky – I get my butt to Whataburger. Same thing applies to trout. The ones that can be caught will be lying very near a ready and steady food supply.

Lure selection is pretty simple during summer. Everyone wants to throw a topwater, and I get that. It's fun and provides great visual gratification, and makes for great stories about the big one that blew up on your lure but didn’t eat it. Some guys will throw them all day, but I'm not that guy. I can usually determine if they are going to do it on top in the first twenty casts. If they are not teeing off on the MirrOlure Top Dog or She Dog, I am quick to get on my favorite plastic and force feed them. The Bass Assassin is my go-to lure when I have to grind them out and find them. A few solid fish on the worm and the whole group will be snipping off topwaters faster than Kathy Griffin just did her career. 

Unlike any other year in the past, there is an abundance of debris floating around the bay from derelict floating cabins that have sunk, flipped over, and now broken apart.  Many of us run our boats in the dark, so this is just a friendly warning to be extra careful right now. Being on the water daily, I get to observe how far pieces of these structures move from one place to the other, depending on the wind. I have already made TPWD aware of the issue, but I would encourage y'all to contact them and report problems as they arise. A GPS waypoint would also be helpful. TPWD Floating Cabin Program Manager (361) 289-5566.

In closing, I hope everyone is enjoying what Mother Nature has blessed us with. Be respectful of her, keep her clean, and only take what we need. There are too many folks using the resources nowadays to think… "My beer can in the water or this box of dead fish cannot possibly make a difference." 

Remember the buffalo!
-Capt David Rowsey