South Padre: August 2015

South Padre: August 2015
Ryan and David had a blast; limits of trout and redfish.
Perhaps the greatest reason I enjoy guiding is sharing my passion with clients and teaching them the how-where-when of locating and catching fish. I have never played chess but I understand it to be a game of strategy, each game is different, and strategy often changes as the game develops. Fishing is quite the same, especially during these past two busy months. Many variables – boat traffic, direction and strength of wind, tide level and movement of water, water color and also weather all play key roles, and strategy must therefore be adjusted as each day progresses.

Patience will always be a virtue and this is never more true than when fishing spots you know to be holding fish. There have been times I left such a spot, only to experience the same pattern in another. Had I been thinking like a smart and seasoned chess player, I would have stayed put and waited for them to feed. This most recent full moon period was a prime example. It always amazes me how they can suddenly turn on, almost precisely on cue with predicted solunar feeding periods. Like I said, patience will always be a virtue.

For some time now we have been experiencing very low water levels and many days with little or no water movement except when the incoming or outgoing flow briefly hits peak strength. Some of the back bays have been bone dry or too shallow to fish for several weeks. Slow grinding through late morning and early afternoon has been common but thankfully the late afternoon and evening hours have been very good to us, best bites we have seen in quite some time.

Trout action continues to be steadier and more reliable than redfish. Most of our trout are being caught on semi-soft bottom with shell and also hard sand along the ICW. Areas with numerous potholes on grassy bottom are also holding good numbers. Slowly working a KWiggler through the potholes has been the trick in getting them to bite. Slow presentations have been the best tactic everywhere and the bite is usually more of a nibble or slight bump than a solid thump.

It has been a totally different story when we have found trout under birds. The feeding is very aggressive here; they will hit just about any soft plastic of any color, worked at any speed. Even when the water has been churned to a "coffee with cream" color they still seem to find our KWigglers.

At the present time we are catching lots of solid trout but no trophies, although I have seen quite a few on the flats. It doesn't surprise me that (this time of the year) with low water levels and weaker tide movement the live-bait fishermen seem able to produce larger trout from the flats areas.

Redfish continue to be hit and miss. I mentioned in an earlier article that our reds have not staged in any one place for very long, and this remains true. Boat traffic, I believe, keeps them moving and searching for quieter locales. Large schools like we used to find in past years are nowhere lately and our best catches are made on weekdays when traffic is lightest. With low tides moving them from back bays to deeper regions it has been a hard game of chess. The only sure redfish bite of late has been under birds hovering above tailing and waking fish.

Quite noteworthy is the fact that flounder have appeared in surprising numbers. We are finding a few even without targeting them and this tells me they are quite abundant. If your desire is flounder, concentrate on the drop-offs of old oil well channels, along the ICW when there is good tidal flow, and on flats that contain a slight drop-off with a sand and shell bottom.

In August we should notice an increase in tide strength and see water returning to our back lakes. I say this in anticipation of tropical weather developments being likely in addition to the fact that July is typically a lower-tide month in general. August is also the beginning of our fall rainy season. Starting in August and into the fall months I tend to find bigger concentrations of fish in the middle part of the Lower Laguna or near the Arroyo Colorado. With all the shallow back lakes found in this area and an increase in tide level, these areas should become full of life.

In closing I would like to thank Capt. Wayne Davis for producing what I find to be the most durable and fish-attracting soft plastic baits on the market today. I rely on his KWiggler Ball Tail Shads; plum-chartreuse, Flo-Mingo and the new bone diamond, every day.