Last month I wrote of how fishing can be a window of opportunity - the size of the window varies, with the right place and the right time dictating if you get into consistent action or not. During the past few weeks I think that window has shrunk to about the size of a bathroom window on a child's playhouse. It has been nothing short of a grind to pattern fish, especially the reds. Since Tropical Storm Debby hit the eastern Gulf our water levels have increased nearly two feet above normal and remained that way which means they have a lot more room to roam. As a result our redfish action has been scattered and a lot tougher than we expect this time of year.
I have been trying to put it all together and so far I'm blaming higher than normal tides, very warm water temperatures, the usual summer time boat traffic, and last but not least our seagrass is still recovering from the floods of June 2010. It is sad to see areas South of the Arroyo that once held a rich carpet of grass nearly barren and the fish just aren't using them. They remind me of an underwater desert without baitfish and without redfish.
These are some of the obstacles and conditions we are currently facing but that is enough of the doom and gloom. Let's talk about what we are doing to make the best of each trip. I don't want to come across that our fish population has dwindled or that our fishery has diminished. Just this past winter I was writing about how outstanding our trout and redfish fishery was and still is, but currently, as far as redfish goes, they are doing a pretty good job of hiding.
Trout have been easier, holding in their usual summer time haunts; deeper pockets of water along spoil islands and the ICW. I like to concentrate my efforts on flats alongside the ICW as the water moves in or going out. As long as you have water movement it tends to spark the trout to bite, not failing to mention that many undersize trout have been mixed in with keeper fish, you just have to grind them out.
The durable Kelley Wigglers continue to be top trout producers for me rigged on 1/8 ounce jigheads and sometimes we add extra weight by slipping a small piece of solder wire into the plastic to keep it closer to the bottom. I mentioned current and when the water is moving at peak flow this trick comes into its own.
For the limited success we've had on redfish we have been really creative and looking for them in places we typically tend to pass up. Days with less boat traffic have definitely been the best.
Those of you that are familiar with our waters know that tidal movement is everything when it comes to getting on a good bite and for the most part, the best tidal movement has been occurring in the early morning and late evening hours. I can say that we have had some exceptional days when we decided to stick it out and wait for the bite to turn on as the optimal water movement begins to occur. Studying the tide charts has been a big help for predicting water movement.
In August we should see more redfish on our flats and a few schools running around in the deeper water, but the way things have been lining up all we can do is hope this pattern takes place.
August can be a wet month depending weather activity in the tropics that comes our way. We could also see a continuation of high water levels, which will be nothing new as we have been dealing with this right along.
In closing, I recently got a chance to fish with Everett and Pam Johnson (TSFMag) and Joe and Norma Meyer (FTU). As always we had a blast and lots of laughs. We caught a few, but a bit short of our expectations. As we fished for two days I noticed Joe using a new topwater that quickly caught my attention - a pink and chrome Super Spook Jr that is now in stock exclusively at Fishing Tackle Unlimited. My tackle box will certainly carry one and I suggest your box should have one too. If you cannot get to one of their stores you can shop online at fishingtackleunlimited.com.