The View: July 2019

The View: July 2019

It gets hot in July, but we beat the heat by leaving well before sunrise and returning to the shade of the cleaning table before the sun begins to melt.

July is a great month for topwaters. We look forward to calm days and when that happens we love wading mid-bay reefs in East Matagorda Bay. Spots like Drull's Lump, Three Beacon Reef, Long Reef, Barefoot Reef and Halfmoon Reef are all players with topwaters, Bass Assassins, Down South Lures and MirrOlure Lil' Johns.

We like to get waist to chest-deep and fire plugs off the drop-offs of the reefs. It is a patient game, but then a slick pops here and a slick pops there, and before long 5- to 7-pound trout with the occasional 8- to 9-pound sow shows on those glorious days.

Halfmoon Reef in West Matagorda Bay has been on fire when the wind allows fishing there. The 54-acre restoration project built by Nature Conservancy is a trout magnet. It's like fishing a 6- to 7-foot underwater jetty. I can't tell you how many days I have caught limits in less than an hour. The key is fishing it on a day with 5-10 knot winds.

For redfish in July, fish incoming high tides in spots like Cut Off Flats, Zipperian Bayou, Oyster Lake and Crab Lake. Work the mouths of these lakes and bayous as the tide begin to fall.

Tides seem to always fall well below normal levels this month after a westerly wind. East Matagorda Bay loses almost two feet of water. When this happens, most all of the redfish pull off the shorelines and congregate in the middle of the bay. The reds give themselves away by producing big slicks and we drift right through them.

The reds are not small ones either – mostly upper-slot fish with lots of attitude. When the reds start slicking, you can literally make one drift and have all the fish you need.

When tides get really low due to nagging southwesterly winds, the middle of East Matagorda Bay is a player. Look for slicks and make long drifts.

Trout will always be the most targeted species in Texas. We have good incoming tides in morning hours that usher fish over sand and grass flats in West Matagorda Bay. We run a distance off the shorelines to avoid burning potential wading areas, looking for slicks, and then slide in behind them and wade through the fish.

For those who choose to stay in the boat, the same deep reefs we drift every month out of the year will hold fish in July. The bait of choice is live shrimp under a Mid-Coast popping cork. In fact, live shrimp while drifting generally out-fishes all other baits 10:1.

As always, the surf is a player in July. Lots of hearty 3- to 5-pound trout are caught on topwaters and MirrOlures. As of this writing, the Gulf has not given us a calm enough day to work the beach. However, July has a reputation as a reliable month for surf opportunity. We enjoyed about 10 days in the surf during July 2018.

Stay cool and well-hydrated, be conservation-minded, and be nice to your neighbor.

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