Capt. Tricia here, happily reporting in from the pure waters of the Lower Laguna Madre. Overall, fishing was rather challenging in July, but we still managed to catch our fish and had a great time as always. The conditions weren't exactly angler's choice on many days, but the reality of fishing with lures is that it normally does require some dedicated effort. As in any sport, overcoming odds is what makes the win worthy, so even on the days when landings were poor we landed more knowledge and a greater appreciation for days when nature hands it to you. During August, we can expect nature to give us more opportunity, so we are excited about those good things to come.
Back to a recap of July, typical summer traffic, wind, heat, floating grass, and numerous thunderstorms kept everybody moving and guessing. Reliable patterns were working the shallows early, and then moving out to deeper water as winds increased about mid-day. The early bite was often consistent for redfish between the sand and the first grass line. However, one day they were there and the next day the hunt would begin all over. Various lures were productive depending on water conditions and the moods of the fish. Calm conditions mostly called for long casts with soft plastics or oz. spoons, but we did find some decent topwater action sprinkled here and there. We are still relying on Skitterwalks, Super Spook Jr's, and MirrOlure Top Pups and She Dogs. For us, this arsenal will cover most topwater situations, but each has their own time, place, and presentation. Colors don't seem as important as good presentations and it's always the creative, attentive angler who figures it out. When fish were present but not feeding aggressively, a slow, loping retrieve near the bottom with a swimming plastic tail was the most consistent. We saw very few big trout for the period, but our redfish seem to be in good shape and they provided a lot of high fives and photos. The trophy trout times will come later, but as for now, let's enjoy some fun fishing for the simple sake of fishing.
It's August, it's hot, but what a great time for everybody with a spirit of adventure to get out there in the water. By everybody, we are seeing more and more mixed groups of families, both young and old, getting out of the boat together to stalk their fish on foot. Who really wants to baste in a roasting slab of fiberglass in August? Not me, and not for very long anyway! Try getting in the water this summer if you haven't. Not only is wade fishing a great way to stay cool, but people of all ages and skill levels can walk and enjoy some quality time out there, especially here in the pristine waters near Port Mansfield. We've had a wide range of those from seven years old to over seventy enjoying throwing lures together, and redfish will be a prime shallow water target during August. If one can cast well, even the inexperienced can throw spoons and swimming plastic baits and be successful.
Yes, wade fishing can require some physical work, but most anglers catch fish because they want to and are willing to put in the effort. If the kids shown in the accompanying pictures can do it, most anybody should be able if they are healthy and have enthusiasm. These younger fishermen are excited, energetic, and have obviously been encouraged and coached by their parents or other role model. A guided trip for them can be a long lasting experience and can help to train them in the right way. A spinning reel with braided line will make it easy to feel the bite and set a hook. It doesn't take but a few good pulls to make most of them happy as they are taking in much more than just fish.
In August we should see larger groups of redfish using the shorelines during early daylight hours. With the lower wind early we expect better opportunity for sight-casting. This is what many redfish aficionados live for, and it is my first passion. Casting to fish we can see is one of the most rewarding things we do, no matter what type of fish it is. Weedless spoons and small plastics will be the main tools. Our Laguna Madre redfish make this a world class destination and I am excited about spending another August in the sand.
As far as trout go, deep will be the key during the hot part of the day. However, the shallows cool off quickly overnight and we can often find good trout mixed in with the reds before the sun warms everything up again. Flounder can be a nice bonus during August. Topwater action can be outstanding, and at the risk of being repetitive, using Gamakatsu live bait single hooks helps tremendously in avoiding floating grass. We like the 3/0 for mid-sized baits such as Skitterwalks, and 1/0 for plugs the size of a Super Spook Jr. Be sure and use two split rings so the hooks hang in line with the bait, the front one facing forward and the rear hook facing back. It works and we're not missing any fish when they want it.
Young or old, August is one of the better months to target redfish and have a blast catching them. No matter how experienced we might be, the learning part of fishing is what keeps the sport fresh for all of us. Those redfish can teach us a lot, and we can teach our children well while we're at it. Good Luck and bring your sunscreen!