Mid-Coast Bays: July 2016

Mid-Coast Bays: July 2016
Connie Sims lured in this big redfish in about a foot of water.

Over the last month, the old saying "when it rains it pours" could not be truer. All the runoff from local rain along with the swollen rivers dumping into the bay has many anglers questioning whether the abundance of fresh water will affect our fishing.

Now I don't have any experience with what is happening elsewhere but, for us here in the Port O'Connor-Seadrift area, the fishing remains strong and I don't look for that to change.

Looking back on this time last year, we had pretty much the same issues with fresh water inflow. What can you expect? Well, unless you enjoy fishing for catfish, pretty much all of the bay waters near the Guadalupe River will be void of trout and redfish for a while. However, not all of San Antonio Bay is fresh. The reefs closer to the ICW and towards the south side of San Antonio Bay are still producing good numbers of trout and our back lakes still have strong numbers of redfish milling around.

As of this writing, in the Port O'Connor area where the Colorado River empties into West Matagorda Bay, fresh water runoff could be seen down as far as Air Port Flats and will continue to make its way towards the jetties and Pass Cavallo. These two passes to the Gulf will help flush fresh water out into the Gulf quicker, helping the salinity levels to return to more normal levels.

Trout fishing has been very good as of late. Fishing over oyster shell next to drop-offs has been working well for us when the wind lays enough to allow us to get to the open bay. Sandy shorelines have been holding good fish as well. Look for shorelines that have prominent guts with some grassy areas mixed in. Since the waters have warmed considerably, wading waist to chest deep is becoming the norm once again.

We have had a lot of birds working the open bay waters lately. It's hard to look the other way when you see scores of birds hitting the water gobbling up whatever bait the hungry fish below are pushing to the surface. However, save yourself the hassle of fishing this tempting sight. Unfortunately, in our neck of the woods, most of the time the only hungry fish you will find under those birds are pesky gafftop, skipjacks and undersized trout. The exception to what I mentioned above is if you happen to find birds working over a shallow reef or in shallow water. This scenario usually produces better sized trout with fewer undesirable species in the mix.

Redfish have been holding up tight to the shorelines due to the higher water levels. When you are in search of redfish, you can't go wrong using a Texas-rigged soft plastic. The grass in our back lakes is so thick right now that it has made it difficult to work a plastic by any means other than the Texas rig. I like to assemble my rig using a Spro #8 barrel swivel attached to about 8 inches of 20lb Trilene Big Game. Slide a 1/16 ounce bullet weight onto the leader before tying on a Mustad Ultra Point #4 Worm Hook. If all of what I just said is clear as mud then you might get a better picture by searching the internet for more information and photos.

My preferred plastic for Texas-rigging is the 3-1/2 inch Die Dapper from Bass Assassin's freshwater assortment and I really like the Houdini color. The Die Dapper has a split belly that makes it easy to rig on the worm hook. It also is impregnated with a scent attractant that makes it harder for a redfish to pass up. Flounder fall prey to this setup very quickly as well.

The surf action will be heating up soon when the winds begin to calm down. I always look forward to the winds lying down after having been battered steadily through the spring months. Calmer days allow for boaters to hit more of the open waters in our bay system and this greatly relieves congestion in the more protected zones.