WOODS, WINGS & WATER: Cooler weather brings out better fishing
This week's light north winds, cooler temperatures and scattered afternoon showers allowed my air conditioner to take a breath, and it was nice to not be wringing with sweat before the sun came up.
A lower thermometer gives us all a better attitude, not to mention the wildlife.
"Those redfish will start to gang up with these cooler temperatures," said guide Michael Rolf, of Matagorda. "We were already beginning to see some schooling action in the back lakes, but this weather should make it even better."
Water temperatures have been in the upper 80s for the past two months, dissipating dissolved oxygen content in the water and sending many fish to deeper, cooler water.
"You know the water is hot when you have to put ice in your live well to keep your shrimp alive," said Rolf.
Speckled trout are beginning to show under slicks and birds while oversized redfish are showing in the marsh as well. The calm conditions have made it easier to find fish.
"There are not a lot of birds working, but with these calm conditions, it makes it easier for the birds to find one jumping shrimp," he said. "And when the birds find them, we find them."
The north winds flattened what had been a bumpy surf. Waders tossing topwaters, plastics and croakers have enjoyed solid catches. Drifters have had best success with live bait but have had to weed through an overabundance of sharks, ladyfish and gafftop to get to the prized spotted sea trout.
"Last weekend, we were able to get in the surf, but the tides were weak," said Rolf. "This week, tides are much better, and the fish bit better."
Don't look now, but teal season is less than 30 days away. The cool front steered more bluewings across the Red River, where the first significant concentrations found coastal flats. Because water is at a premium on the prairies and fewer and fewer fields of second-cropped rice are being produced, more birds have been seen in the bays and marshes.
"We are pumping water daily, but it is also evaporating fast," said outfitter Bill Sherrill, of Wharton. "A little rain sure would be nice and help save some of this water we are pumping."
Sherrill said the region should see more birds daily.
"Every new flat we pumped should have new teal on it in a couple of days, if not the next day," he said.
Central Zone dove hunters get their first crack at mourning doves and whitewings Sept. 1, while South Zone hunters have to wait until Sept. 20. A significant number of new birds showed this week, including large flocks of whitewings in the El Campo, Sealy and Columbus areas.
This year's licenses expire Aug. 31. New licenses for the 2013-14 hunting and fishing season are required beginning Sept. 1 and are on sale now.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain (firstname.lastname@example.org).