South Padre: June 2013

South Padre: June 2013
Trout like Kelley Wigglers too!
I know I say this every year but it amazes me how quickly summer has arrived. I am happy that spring is just about done because of the relentless wind that was either hard out of the south or gusting abnormally late for the season out of the north. The good news is that the winds traditionally begin to settle and become more stable in June. Air temperatures will soar and there will be tons of boat traffic and these can have a negative effect on fishing, but there is nothing we can do to change either. My plan is to get an early start and possibly also take advantage of evening tides when the air and traffic temperatures will not be quite so hot.

I wish I could give you a really good report by saying our fishing is as hot as our air temperatures, but that has not been the case. Despite the present conditions we are still catching fish, and even experiencing a few exceptional days. Patience and relentless effort have turned what could have been mostly mediocre days into good ones. Never give up!

Redfish continue to be generally scattered. On occasion we find small schools tucked away from heavily traveled areas. However, one day you find them and the next day they are gone. If you want to consistently find redfish this time of the year, a good place to start is on the sand flats on the east side of the ICW. Redfish will tend to cruise the crystal clear sand flats early in the morning. That's until the water warms up past their tolerance, and then they relocate to slightly deeper water. It is not unusual to find redfish trailing stingrays and cownose rays on the sand flats this time of the year. As the rays flap their wings they stir the water and expose critters that redfish love to eat. During midday to afternoon, do not pass up the sand to grass transition, quite often we find them cruising these areas. Redfish will also lay low in potholes until the tide rolls again. Tidal current is very important down here.

Currently, we are catching good numbers of trout in the mid to upper twenties and limits of nice keepers. The most important key to getting on a good trout bite has been the presence of bait. We have done well on grass flats riddled with potholes and lots of active bait. A moving tide is essential for the trout to feed aggressively. At times we have had to leave an area where we know there's fish present but not feeding and then return later with a moving tide.

As I write this our water temperatures are much cooler than normal because of the late-arriving northers. Also, by the time you read this you will find the big trout are not as heavy as they were, spawning has been underway for nearly two months down here. Even so the big ones are always fun to catch.

Our best technique has been rigging the Flomingo Kelley Wigglers Ball Tail Shad weedless with Gamakatsu 5/0 weighted or non-weighted worm hooks. When rigged this way these baits can be dragged right through the grass without getting hung up. The only thing you have to be ready for is making a really solid hookset at the slightest bump. Since the hook point is barely sticking out of the plastic you'll need a firm hookset to stick them. The best depth for trout has varied from waist to knee-deep but don't be shy to try fishing shallow at midday. When the traffic slows toward midday we find the trout more willing to feed and we've made some excellent catches over shallow grass with the weedless Kelley Wigglers worked across small potholes.

In closing, I would like to mention that during June we should start to see more flounder appear along the ICW, small channels and guts leading off the ICW, as well as the flounder rich East Cut up at Port Mansfield. You need lots of patience and a slow retrieve to catch these saddle blankets. Work your bait slowly along a dropoff. Once you feel he's on, don't give the flounder any slack, or you will never see him again. When targeting flounder, a net is a must if you want your landing ratio to be higher than your lost ratio. Wherever you fish and whichever species you pursue this summer, have fun and don't be afraid to try new spots. Good fishing to all!