South Padre: July 2009

South Padre: July 2009
FTU's Green Rod (APXL1) performance delivered this huge Jack after an hour and ten mintue fight.
Fishing on this end of the Laguna Madre is thriving. As I write, calm mornings have become the norm which can be a good thing when trying to locate concentrations of fish, but slick-calm conditions can also cause fish to become rather spooky. Small, single-hooked topwaters have been working well in the calm conditions for trout and redfish. This does not mean they crush the bait every day; we sometimes have to experiment with our retrieves to get them to take it. When the retrieval trick doesn't work, the old reliable 1/2-oz gold spoon usually will. A spoon is easy to work, even in grassy conditions, and the hookup to landing ratio is always very high.

It seems that we have been encountering an unusual number of stingrays. On a recent trip as I was dropping off my fishermen to start a wade when one asked, "Are there stingrays, here?" Naturally I replied that stingrays could be anywhere. Well let me tell you, about three minutes later I felt the ground shake. I literally felt the wings of a stingray flapping right at my feet and it shot out leaving a big mud boil between my legs. After catching my breath, I shouted to my fishermen, "Make sure you shuffle your feet and keep an eye open for what is in front of you." We have seen the stingrays so thick in some areas that they have caused us to leave a good bite. Use extreme caution. Remember to shuffle your feet and wear some kind of stingray protection.

At the present time I would say the fishing is as good as it gets. The flats on the east side from South Padre all the way up to the Port Mansfield cut have been very productive for redfish. If you like sight casting, this is the place to be. Trout have been easy to find hanging around potholes in the grassier regions and the best bite often comes as the wind increases. We may walk through an area and experience a great bite and then suddenly it's like someone turned off the light. When this occurs, we usually go back around and walk through the area again, and behold, the "light turns back on." It's basically the same method fishermen use when drifting and one that wading fishermen would do well to employ more often.

As the water temperatures continue to rise we will be targeting the shallows in the early morning on a rising tide and then dropping back into deeper water later in the day. The tides have been pretty high on average but come the month of July we should see them drop to winter lows. As the tide level drops, look for deeper holes or even slight drops in depth to hold plenty of fish. The evening low tides will stack the bait along these drop-offs. If you can find these areas, you will more than likely experience an awesome morning bite. Low tide levels will also help us find schools of tailing redfish. Always remember that sneaking up on them requires stealth and a low profile. Regardless if you like fishing shallow or deep, the opportunities will be there. If drifting is what you like to do, you might want to wait until the midday wind starts to blow or anchor along the ICW where flounder and trout can be found in the heat of the summer.

Anything can happen when you are fishing and I have seen and experienced my fair share of unusual occurrences. On a recent outing Capt. Tricia and I were working with a group of fishermen in an area that was holding some nice trout and everyone was having a great time landing solid trout. I cast to a pothole and saw a silvery flash. The fish grabbed it and took off like a mid-night freight train, peeling line so fast I had to chase it to avoid being spooled. After about twenty minutes and running through our anglers twice I was making no headway. Capt. Tricia got in my boat and idled toward me and told me to jump on. The noise of the outboard seemed to push the fish deeper and further away from the other anglers. It dragged us approximately two miles and the fight made my arms burn. Finally, an hour and ten minutes later I landed a huge jack crevalle, the biggest I have ever seen or landed.

July should bring a continuation of the excellent fishing we have been enjoying. You just have to get out there and experience it for yourself. Remember, keep yourself cool and protected under the summer's scorching sun and be ready for the unexpected.