Mid-Coast Bays: July 2013

Mid-Coast Bays: July 2013
Jason Wheatley with his personal best trout at 26 inches. Kudos for releasing this beauty to fight another day!
The wind kept us tattered and ragged most days this spring and many of our days were spent seeking protection in our shallowest back lakes chasing redfish. Now you will never hear me complain of catching redfish because they will always be my #1 favorite species to fight, but I am so ready to see some new real estate and get into fishing some deeper water.

It can be tough catching in the middle of summer with the extremely hot weather and little to no wind most days. Fish seem to get lazy in the heat and picky in their feeding. It is a good idea to get an extremely early start or maybe decide to fish later into the evening when the sun is gone and the coming darkness promises relief from the heat of the day.

Now that it is so much warmer I will be spending most my days fishing dropoffs and guts on the sandy shorelines of Matagorda, Ayers and Espiritu Santo Bays. San Antonio Bay will also offer up some awesome fishing on the numerous oyster reefs. As I mentioned, targeting the dropoffs in any of these waters will be key. I usually start my day very early fishing knee deep water and slowly working my way out to the drop offs till I am about chest deep.

On days when there isn't a breath of breeze to be felt, my boat will be heading to the surf to take advantage of some of the best trout action to be found. When fishing the surf you must still fish smart. Look for bait, slicks and birds. Redfish generally are in the first gut right at beach. The trout start in the first gut early in the morning and move out deeper to the second and third guts later in the day.

Besides fishing the cooler waters of the surf or dropoffs, there are some other important factors to keep in mind. Paying attention to your surroundings can pay off big time. Watch for baitfish leaping out of the water. If you see any mullet, shad, shrimp or glass minnows running and jumping like someone just lit a fire under them, make sure to cast in the direction from where they are fleeing. This may be your only clue to a feeding fish nearby so make sure to fish that area thoroughly. Sometimes as redfish feed close to the grass lines you may also notice the grass blades moving as they rummage around for small crabs and shrimp. Their tails may even break the surface for a second, but if you are not scanning carefully you may miss it.

Using your sense of hearing can also benefit you greatly when the fishing is slow. While fishing in an area you should make yourself feel at one with nature. Listen for smacks on the water's surface or thrashing as fish try to catch their prey. Even if you think it is only mullet making all that racket, make sure to fish it thoroughly before you move on.

As of late, Bass Assassin's 4 inch Sea Shad in the Slammin Chicken, Hot Chicken or the Sugar & Spice have been our go to baits. Remember to work your lure slower allowing it to sink close to the bottom before retrieving it back up to the surface, almost like the yo-yo effect. Scented baits are also a good choice and can be most beneficial when fish start to get hesitant as the water heats up during the middle of the day.

If you are an angler that prefers to use natural bait then shrimp and croakers can be used in these areas as well. But as everyone knows fish that are less desirable like gafftop and hardheads can become a real nuisance with live bait. Always carry a good pair of pliers or hook-outs to aid in removing the hooks from these fish since it is very easy to get impaled by their bony fins.

Another nuisance that is out in full force is the stinging jellyfish. I have seen more jellies this year than I care to mention. More than a few anglers not wearing long wading pants have been coming to the dock with painful welts. Shorts may be fashionable but long pants are definitely better protection from these painful critters.