South Padre: July 2016

South Padre: July 2016
Kristian Faulk landed three snook on this charter with Capt. Ernest recently.

The middle of the summer has sneaked up on us again. School is out and the bays are getting very busy. Weekdays are looking more like weekends, but that's just the way it is this time of year. Up until just recently the wind played a major role in our fishing plans, forcing us many days to fish where we could rather than where we wanted. Strong wind stirred up bottom sediments and ripped lots of shallow grass loose. The clarity diminished to "barely fishable with lures" for days at a time except in protected areas, and floating grass became a major issue. Topwaters were simply not an option, even with single hooks.

Good news is that July is usually a lot calmer. It won't be long until we will be praying for a breeze. But as crazy as the weather has been, with all the thunderstorms and rain, it really is anybody's guess what July might bring. The upside though, with all the rain across South Texas, will be generally reduced salinity in the Lower Laguna through the summer and that's a good thing for our fishery.

July usually means a considerable drop in tide levels and we have to adjust fishing plans accordingly. Some of the back country we are currently fishing will become almost dry. Dealing with floating grass is just another part of fishing in summer rigging topwaters with single hooks often helps, unless it gets real bad. About all you can do then is pray for a strike before the lure clogs up or stick with your soft plastics.

You probably think by now that I must close my eyes and throw a dart when I make my redfish predictions. I tell you it's been good and improving one month and then way inconsistent the next. Lately, they're back to tough to locate and finding them is no guarantee they will be there for long. I blame increased boat traffic on the flats but there's nothing we can do except fish hard and rejoice when we find them. Paying attention to depth and structure types the schools are frequenting gives you something to go on. Hopefully with calmer July mornings we will be able to pinpoint their whereabouts more easily.

Trout, on the other hand, have been the exact opposite. I can confirm that catches are up significantly and steady action can be found in many places. The single best key to getting on a good bite has been tidal current. I have been following the current strength, meaning that as the current declines I will move to similar depth and structure a couple of miles closer to the pass. Keeping up with the flow throughout the day often keeps us on continuous action. At present, areas near the ICW have been the best producers, not many big fish but plenty of keepers.

This month as the water warms up, especially in the middle of the day, trout will tend to move to deeper water and their bite will be a slight tap on your bait. The topwater bite should be a bit more consistent, so don't rule out throwing one in all hours of the day.

Flounder continue to get some press as their catch numbers continue to grow. I can honestly say that at the present time you can actually target them specifically and be quite successful at it just like it was 10 or 12 years ago. Working the shacks along the ICW, oil field channels, shoreline drains, and even potholes on some of our flats have been producing good numbers.

I would like to thank Fishing Tackle Unlimited for supplying me with their excellent Green Rods. The sensitivity allows you to detect the slightest of bites and a strong backbone to properly land your fish. A great added feature are the markings of our gamefish legal lengths on the rod itself.

Another product I would like to boast about is my Costa del Mar eyewear. Many brands brag about comfort I get a good laugh every time I start looking around the boat for my glasses and I'm wearing them. The Costa comfort factor and the 580 lens technology combine to provide everything I need to protect my eyes and spot fish in the water.

I will be attending ICAST this month and hope to report back on some new products that will make it better and easier for us out on the water. I will be spending most of my time between the Simms and Power Pole booths. Please stop by and visit if you attend the show. Stay cool and safe in the summer heat!