The extreme temperatures of July and August make me think of fishing two different locations when it comes to my speckled friends. I will be looking for structure that has deepwater access and plenty of bait.
First place that comes to my mind is the surf along Matagorda Island. Anytime the wind lays and the conditions are right I will head that way. We had a few good days in June and already in early July when everything came around and the fishing was phenomenal. My groups had trout up to 25-26 inches often with the average being about 20 inches.
When we picked our spots right we could catch them on anything you wanted to throw. There were days a topwater would produce better than any other lure and days when it seemed you couldn't retrieve a Bass Assassin on a 1/8 head without getting bit. The surf is one of the few places where boat anglers can keep up with a stealthy wader. I sometimes find it better to keep my groups in the boat so that we can make a quick change without the delay of gathering and loading them to make a move.
Now this is not to say the surf is a gimme; you will still need to look for clues as to where the fish will be located. Just like looking for fish in any bay system you will also have to use your head and look for the many telltale signs that would point towards a good place to start your hunt. I look for bait activity and bird activity and then based on how strong the wind is, I decide where I can safely anchor the boat to fish the area or where we can jump out and wade without it getting swamped by a rogue wave.
Another good thing to remember when wading the surf is to always use a landing net. I have a fear of reaching for a thrashing trout at the same time as a toothy critter of the deep. Also when wading near any pass make sure you always wear a PFD. The currents here can be very swift and dangerous. I myself stay away from fishing too near the passes for this reason.
The other type of fishing I want to mention here would be the reefs located in San Antonio Bay. On the north side of the bay there are many reefs that you can be standing in knee-deep water and throwing into five to six feet over a shell bottom. Early in the morning the trout and redfish can be found right at the crown of the reef herding finger mullet. As the sun rises they seem to drop off to the edges and they can be found on or near the fingers that jut out off the reefs in the deeper water.
Soft plastics such as Bass Assassins always seem to work best for probing the depths of the shell. I rig them on 1/16 Bass Assassin jigheads. I always tell my guys that if you are not hanging up on shell you are fishing too fast, so if you are not getting bites and also not snagging shell occasionally you might to try slowing your retrieve. I will use more of a twitch than a hop on the reefs to keep the jighead from hanging up too seriously when I am fishing it slowly.
A safety tip I have incorporated into all my wading trips is to always put your anchor out or a stake-out stick along with your Power Pole when leaving your boat on the shell reefs. Too many times I have rescued wade fishermen that put trust in their Power Pole or other mechanical anchor, only to have a boat or barge wake come along and set it loose. This could put a kink in your plans if you had to spend the day waiting for a boat to rescue you. Even worse, I have picked people up in the bay that thought they could swim and catch a windblown boat. Believe me, you are not Mark Spitz so don't even try.
I would like to take this time to thank our editor Everett Johnson for the use of his 25' Majek Redfish Line, it was a worthy fishing platform whether I was in the surf, open bay or the flats. It has been a savior since the middle of March when I sold my last boat.
Fish hard, fish smart!