May – June, 2011
Prime-Time for Shallowists
June and July usher in some sweet conditions for shallow water anglers. While enduring the changeable conditions of the Spring, it seemed that just about the time things got really good, the weather got windy and cloudy. Fronts still trying to force their way into Texas brought lots of tiresome winds which keep some shallow water anglers and sight casters off the water, waiting for the prime times of May, June and July.
Besides the weather and winds leveling out a bit, the grass in the shallow water has recuperated and is in full form, being home to an incredible host of bait. The new shrimp migration that arrived in April and May is beginning to mature while feeding the hungry masses of redfish roaming there daily. This now thriving estuary is home to everything that a big pod of redfish is looking for. Glass minnows, pin perch, shrimp, crabs and finger mullet are the foods of choice and most of it is hiding in the grass and along the shorelines.
Fly fishermen and other sightcasters stalk, wade, paddle a kayak or pole a skiff into this knee-deep or shallower smorgasbord, looking for a chance to present a fly or lure to a hungry group of fish. Most won’t be disappointed as predators are now in abundance taking part in this early summertime feeding frenzy.
Wading birds, such as egrets and herons along with diving seagulls and terns, show anglers the way as they work with the hectic pods of redfish mowing through the grass and down the shorelines kicking up lots of tiny morsels. Anglers must pay close attention to all of the signs of feeding fish as in the “prime time”, there are many.
The Rockport area is filled with marshes, estuaries and back lakes offering a variety of water levels, tide conditions and bait. Anglers must watch moon phases and tidal movements to target the right place to fish and when. As conditions stabilize, these factors become more and more important. Major and minor feeding periods, brought on by the solunar movements, give anglers an advantage. Pair this information with moving tides and “right” water levels and the odds of “catching” go up, especially along the mid-coast of Texas. As the summer wears on and water temperatures rise higher, the tides become more and more important in finding feeding fish. Watch sites such as NOAA Tides Online (http://tidesonline.nos.noaa.gov/geographic.html) for real-time reports of predicted and actual tide movements and levels near your fishing area. This can be invaluable, especially when predicting water levels falling to levels too shallow to paddle or float your boat!
Move farther down the coast to Baffin Bay and the Land Cut, and tides virtually become non-existent. Water levels creep ever so slowly in one direction or the other. Wind blown current can help, but stable conditions there create consistent fish feeding activities. Find shallow areas with good grass and other structure and there will be tailing and feeding redfish, trout and black drum. Clear waters are plentiful and offer day-long wading, paddling or poling opportunities. The shallow water in Baffin proper is virtually un-fished, as is a lot of the lower parts of the Upper Laguna Madre. Step out of the comfort zones and find new waters to fish. The rewards are great and so is the adventure!
Fish are feeding on shrimp, crabs and baitfish during this time of the year, so pair your flies or lures to match. Tie flies with natural colors (white, brown), paired with an attractant color such as chartreuse, pink or orange. Spoon flies are also great producers as well as small topwater “popper” flies. Use smaller hooks, such as a #4 to more closely match the size of the food in the system.
Lure casters use small topwaters, such as the Super Spook Jr, or the baby Skitterwalk or baby X-Rap Skitterwalk in a variety of dark and light colors such as white, bone, black, gold chrome with the same attractant colors as the flies, pink or chartreuse. Small soft plastics, such as the Bass Assassin 4” paddletail on a 1/16th ounce jig head and a #1 or #2 hook should be thrown in the same colors as above for the best results. Natural colors with attractant colors are great producers up and down the coast.
The “Prime Time” is much anticipated and should be taken advantage of by all anglers, beginners and seasoned alike!
See you on the water,
Capt. Sally Black
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