We like to get a little earlier start in the morning in July and try to be back at the dock before the mercury hits the century mark. It’s Texas. It’s hot. Always has been, always will be.
We catch fish both in the boat and out. Most of our drifting trips will be in East Bay. This bay continues to produce solid trout throughout the hottest days of summer.
July is notorious for slicking off flat, allowing equal opportunity in the bay, jetty and surf. With great weather and endless possibilities, it is a tough early-morning choice to decide which direction to head.
There is always a fighting chance of catching your largest trout of a lifetime while drifting the deep shell in East Matagorda Bay. Of course, you need light winds in July because low tides and boiling water in the upper 80s is a recipe for roux-like water clarity. Some days we have no choice but to fish dirty water; and, many days we still can coax up enough bites to warrant the effort.
I get lots of questions about sharks this time of year. West Matagorda Bay has grown famous as a shark-magnet. But remember, when the gray linebackers are absent, so are the fish. Sharks are a trustworthy barometer of how many fish are on a sand and grass flat.
Most seasoned waders know that using the traditional 15-25 feet of nylon cord with a float attached is asking for trouble in West Bay. We use them fall, winter and spring, or until the first signs of sharks appear, then break out the five-gallon buckets.
Buckets are cumbersome, take up extra room in a boat and actually pull and tug on waders when fishing the surf or around a pass. Cord-like stringers are much lighter, easier and maneuverable; nevertheless, if you wade West Bay from now until October and plan on catching fish and putting them on a stringer, plan to shake hands with a shark.
We throw small Super Spooks and She Pups on the incoming tide and expect explosive strikes. Later in the morning, we ease to deeper water and toss Chicken on a Chain Bass Assassin Sea Shad, Down South Lures, and Lil Johns.
Speckled trout are there because gobs of mullet, shad and small minnows infest the shorelines. Sharks are there because speckled trout are there. Most recorded shark bites are mistakes, so take precautions. Keep your catch in a bucket, or if you must use a stringer, make sure it is at least 25 feet away from you.
Though I will not admit it to my wife, I have been brushed by sharks a couple of times – it’s an eerie feeling to put it mildly. Still, I have a better chance of being in an automobile accident or catching Coronavirus on the way to the boat ramp than a shark attack.
That's not to discourage wading – I will be doing plenty of it this month. I hope you will too and continue to buy my Wadefish Texas book. I need the royalties - my daughter is a freshman at Texas A&M.Follow Grimes’ reports on Facebook and Instagram and weekly on the Texas Insider Fishing Report on Fox Sports Southwest (@matagordasunriselodge).