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Woods, Wings & Water: Tides, they are a-changin'

Aug. 11, 2013 at 3:11 a.m.

Muddy water like this had redfish willing to eat a live shrimp under a cork.

If you haven't been in the bay the past 10 days, well, you haven't missed much.

Southwest winds have blown day and night, temperatures have breached the century mark, and water levels have dropped to wintertime levels.

It's been rough, especially for charter captains trying to put clients on a fruitful fishing trip.

Weather and wind like this is nothing new this time of year.

That's why I scheduled my vacation last week.

If there is ever a time to leave town and get away, it is during the southwest wind doldrums.

Surprisingly, this week, the water actually looked better than I expected and decent enough to catch a speckled trout on a live shrimp.

It wasn't emerald green, but it did have a "tint" on top of the muddy haze.

The sweet smell of watermelon and fresh-cut grass appeared in the form of a slick over scattered shell. Neverthless, soon we were reminded that gafftops make the same enticing aroma of slicks just like a large school of hungry speckled trout.

We moved east and found better water over what we guides call the Log.

This locale is a long mud flat of shell humps and toe-heads that consistently attract mullet.

Slicks greeted us as we arrived, along with piles of jumping mullet.

Water clarity wasn't the greatest, but there was streaky, green water mixed with the brown.

We took a live shrimp rigged under a Mid-Coast Nexus cork and made long casts, popping it furiously every five seconds.

Ten minutes into the drift, a slot redfish found the shrimp beneath the commotion. Large sand trout and scattered speckled trout kept things interesting for the next two hours, proving fish still eat in off-colored water.

The Port O'Connor/Seadrift area has endured the same challenging fishing conditions.

"Persistent southwest winds and low tides have caused narrow stretches of suitable fishing grounds," said guide Harold Dworaczyk of Bay Flats Lodge. "Redfish, as of late, have been favorable in the lakes and around some shell beds in San Antonio Bay."

Dworaczyk holds out hope for the return of southeast winds and better tides.

"Once the winds settle, we look for fishing to really pick up over the mid-bay reefs," he said.

Calcasieu and Sabine lake anglers have struggled as well, evidenced by the text I received this week from guide Kirk Stansel.

"Is the southwest wind kicking your butt like it is ours?" asked Stansel. "Been rough over here."

Stansel said with any slight wind direction change to the east, his fishing will see an about-face.

"It doesn't take much," he said. "There are plenty of fish in the lake, because when the water clears just a little, we have been catching limits to near limits of trout, and the redfish are always strong."

The good news is low pressure is forecasted to move into the region, which should drop temperatures, bring a threat of rain and return winds to an easterly flow.

I like that, and I bet the fish will, too.

Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain (binkgrimes@sbcglobal.net).

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