July 14, 2010
After the bizarre twist of weather that occurred recently when two tropical systems approached very near the mid-coast of Texas, “catching” got a little interesting! At first, the fish in the shallow water were really on-board and feeding as the big push of water came in. Then, the sight casting got a little tougher, as more and more fish scattered about.
Now, however, anglers and water levels are both trying to get back to the fantastic pattern being fished before the storms blew in. After these recent rains, fishing should continue to improve all summer and for the rest of the year. It’s amazing what a big fresh water influx can do to a bay system. After Hurricane Dolly last year, Port Mansfield and the Lower Laguna Madre really became alive and the fishing there was off the charts. The size of the fish improved and the numbers went up dramatically. The effects of Dolly are still being realized today in the LLM.
Shrimp and crabs are the main source of food for shallow roaming fish now. Target areas with short, thick grass, flats with potholes close to shore and utilize any and all moving waters to find feeding fish.
In the Rockport/Port Aransas area, July and August fishing really does rely upon real-time water level changes (see http://tidesonline.nos.noaa.gov/geographic.html ). Fishing closer to the source of the tide flow makes targeting these feeding fish a little easier. Some areas of The Lighthouse Lakes, the Brown and Root Flats and South Bay can be flooded with big schools of redfish during this time, especially on heavy falling waters. Watch the tide charts, moon phase charts and feeding periods to put together your “prime time” fishing events. Think of how the bait fish might be “sucked off” the flat or lake by heavy falling tides. Don’t just think of the obvious places where bait fish might be drawn, but look closer at the connections of the marshes and lakes of your fishing place. Remember, fish move into the current to feed and this might occur at more than just the most obvious place, as in the mouth of a lake or marsh, but even further back, where other drains or guts occur.
Fly casters toss white/chartreuse clousers, crab patterns and spoon flies. No magic needed, just good fly placement and stealth, especially when the winds are calm. Light tackle anglers still throw small topwaters like the bone Super Spook, Jr.. Add a 1/8th ounce weedless gold spoon and a weedless/weightless 3” or 4” paddletail soft plastic in natural colors to your arsenal. Floating grass will become a problem, so avoiding it with lighter weight lures will increase your catching ratio.
As the summer wears on, the beautiful blue waters of the Gulf will encroach from time to time into the shallow waters, making it appear almost Caribbean. Keep a watchful eye for the opportunity to cast to Jack Crevelle and big schools of Ladyfish feeding along the edges of the Lydia Ann Channel, Shrimp Boat Channel, Super Flats and Quarantine from now until mid-September. This action can make a slow day of redfishing really come alive!
As in any other time of the year, good baitfish concentrations, baitfish jumping and birds in the area can tell a lot about the prospects of a fishing spot. All of these things mean water flow, bait movement and predators feeding. Target this, as well as good tidal movement for more dynamic “catching” in the summer!
Tropical systems bring much needed flushing to the shallows in the summer. Although the increased water levels make it tough for the angler, it really is a benefit to the fishing in the long run. Look forward to some really dynamic summertime fishing!
See you on the water!
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