South Padre: August 2010

South Padre: August 2010
Jim Tinken experienced Texas snook fishing at its best. His group caught and released twenty-five snook.
Fishing-wise, the past two months have been outstanding for the many anglers that have made the trek deep to South Texas. The Lower Laguna Madre has been gracious to provide many anglers I have guided with personal bests in the form of Texas snook. The smiles, experiences, and stories that come with these adventures have made it all worth while, even when we had to endure the intense Texas sun. During June and July, fishing shallow early in the morning, then going deep in the middle of the day has been consistently producing good catches of redfish and trout. For the most part, this pattern should continue in August.

In the long run, the benefits of large amounts of rain on the Lower Laguna Madre watershed are being reaped in tight lines and screaming drags. Already, we can see that the recent rain certainly helped this year's phenomenal shrimp crop. I've seen flocking gulls, tailing redfish, and keeper specks feasting on shrimp buffets on both sides of the ICW all the way up the Brownsville Ship Channel. The easiest trout catching, currently, is in the evenings, especially when the wind has been blowing over 15 mph on an outgoing tide. Bird action is also great in the early morning if the wind is blowing, and it repeats late in the afternoon all the way into the darkness. Overall, the late afternoons and evenings, especially around the full moon, have been very productive. This year, unlike the past two, we have experienced many windless early morning conditions. These calm mornings have allowed us to sight-cast to redfish with their tails and backs out of the eight-inch-deep water. Getting out on a calm morning is also beneficial when trying to pattern fish because the number of fish wakes will tell you what depth and location these fish prefer early in the day. If the same conditions persist, you can probably find them there again the next day and the next until something causes them to move on. When you find a fish pattern such as that, learn to carefully observe all the conditions such as water level and temperature, bait availability, time of day and month, and direction of tide flow. I say this because, when conditions are similar, I've found fish in the same exact spot for the past two years.

The tides have generally been in their normal summer lows, except during Hurricane Alex when we received a significant surge, but I expect all that will change during August as more tropical systems reach our shores. We will see tides rise with each system, and there will be plenty of water for fish to roam. Our approach will certainly change from fishing out in the middle of the bay to fishing back lakes and shorelines. All the water will cause bait and fish to inhabit remote flats and shorelines, making them temporarily more difficult to pattern, but once you find the pattern, stick to it and remember, it's sometimes more important to find concentrations of bait than it is actually seeing the reds and trout in the shallows.

I have found that two major influences create bait patterns: tidal movement and water temperature. Find where the bait is thickest at dawn, during the hottest part of the day, and then again as darkness approaches. You can bet the fish will be there with the bait and daily movement can then be pinpointed. The local bait population looks very healthy and will continue to thrive with all the freshwater that we are getting. Our top baits for August will continue to be topwaters and Kelly Wiggler Ball Tail Shads in plum/chart and olive/chart rigged on 1/8 oz jig heads. Never rule out a gold weedless spoon when chasing shallow water redfish. In closing, a product worthy of mentioning is the new Simms Flats Boot. I was lucky enough to field test them last year and loved their durability, support, and comfort. I put over 400 hours on the pair I field tested and they held up very well showing little wear. If you're in the market for comfort, good ankle support, and durability, take a look at the Simms Flats Boot. You might want to try them on before buying because they tend to have a slightly tight fit. You can find them at Fishing Tackle Unlimited; or visit their online store