Last month I mentioned how staying on fish requires work and creativity. This is especially true as we head into the hottest months of the year. I want to begin this piece with some examples of creativity that have helped me in interpreting patterns and catching consistently.
I recently took an adventurous plunge and ventured into waters I had never fished before. The first point I want to make is that I just didn't jump on the boat and go fishing. I studied Google maps, searching for structure such as depth changes, potholes, grass lines, spoil islands, and old access channels. Then, I used my prior fishing knowledge and related it to the structure available in this new place. I couldn’t say I had had no clue as to the tide currents in the area, but I was only able to guess how they might relate to the structure I was exploring. That requires getting on the water.
Pulling into a new place, I made a point to observe the water level on a nearby piling and continued to keep track through the day, especially noting the change in water level from the time I arrived until I left in the afternoon. Which brings up a good point – if you want to take your fishing to the next level, keep track of everything you can observe, including where you found fish, and make notes. Reflect on these later, comparing what you learned on the water with the Google maps. Tides, currents and weather patterns, and the way that fish react to them, are the most important clues when unraveling patterns.
Trout fishing continues to be pretty phenomenal. Spring and summer are definitely giving back what we missed this past winter. Lots of small fish, but trophies are numerous with impressive numbers of lower- to mid-twenties coming to hand. KWiggler Willow Tail in Red Shad Pro and the proven Ball Tail Shad in plum-chartreuse have been steady producers. I like the Willow Tail in thigh to shallower water because of its slow sink. With its faster descent, the Ball Tail works best in waist and deeper water and also when fish are hanging near bottom.
With rising water temperatures we are seeing the trout relocating deeper. The action we enjoyed through the spring in the extremely shallow water now seems to have shifted toward thigh and even belly-deep structure. Areas off the ICW that can be waded have been giving steady action and will continue to produce through summer when the tide is moving. Spoil areas with deep access will be gold in July. Potholes on grassy thigh-deep flats are always summertime favorites.
Redfish remain scattered on the flats. Though still not steady, a more consistent bite can now be found four- to five-feet deep. I would say the best technique for the past month has probably been finding birds working over small pods of reds on the flats, but the wind has to be blowing at least 20-mph to make it happen. Sand pockets on the edges of spoils have been holding fair numbers of redfish, especially when boat traffic is busy on the ICW. Some of these sand pockets can be as wide as a basketball court or as small as a trash can. I suggest you get on Google maps and locate these honey holes. July is going to be hot so expect the reds to retreat deeper in afternoon.
Gold spoons are a summertime favorite for lots of anglers, and redfish, too. When the wind turns the water sandy I like to throw a KWiggler Flo-Mingo Ball Tail. The plum-chartreuse is another trusted color. Don’t forget small topwaters on calm mornings but you will need to switch to single hooks due to the floating grass.
Wrapping up, I would like to thank and support Costa del Mar for providing the high-quality eyewear that protects my eyes and allows me to see what is in the water with incredible sharpness. I have been using their new Sunrise Silver Mirror lens for a while and I am extremely satisfied with their performance.
Another much-appreciated product I use daily is AFTCO's sun mask. It provides maximum sun protection for your face and its ventilation feature is second to none.While shopping at Fishing Tackle Unlimited or on AFTCO's website, check out their new fishing pants that will be introduced this month. Stay safe and protect yourself from the sun as we enter the hottest months, wishing for even a slight breeze.