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WOODS, WINGS & WATER: Fish early to beat the heat

July 1, 2013 at 2:01 a.m.

Large-brimmed hats keep damaging rays off the face and provide shade for anglers during a scorching Texas summer.

Mercury readings reached the century mark this week, a rare occurrence for June.

Many charter captains, including myself, have switched to hot weather mode - on the water before sunrise and back at the dock before the sun really begins to bake.

As is often the case with summer fishing, the bite is early, then tapers as the day progresses.

Concentrate over shallow reefs at sunrise, then work deeper water as the mercury rises. The same pattern can be applied to all bay systems.

Work close to deep water, like the edge of the ship channel, the jetties or wading chest-deep water. The water is a few degrees cooler in channel - think of it as the difference in running your air conditioner at 70 degrees instead of 75.

Deep wells and shell have held fish lately, especially in Trinity and West Matagorda bays. Most fish have come while working soft plastics over shell pads, while live-baiters have used slip corks rigged with live shrimp.

In Matagorda, don't be surprised to run into a tripletail when working platforms and navigation buoys. The weather has protected most of the fish since summer began, but light wind days when gusts are less than 10 knots are conducive to large "saltwater perch" hitting the table.

Anglers in East Galveston, East Matagorda and San Antonio bays have beat the heat while drifting deep shell. Live shrimp under a popping cork has been the popular offering, but jiggers working scented plastics have scored solid fish around slicks.

If you are going to fish in the heat, be smart. Wear light-colored clothing, drink lots of water and wear sun protection.

Fish early, fish late and use your head.

Teal hunters get 6

Don't look now, but the special September teal season is just more than two months away. Though official dates will not be finalized until late July, proposed dates for Central Flyway hunters are Sept. 14-29.

The big news is the daily bag limit has been increased to 6 birds per man per day, up from four birds per man per day. Blue-winged teal numbers are second only to northern mallards, so it made sense to mimic the same bag limit waterfowlers see during regular duck season.

Of course, water remains the key to a successful teal season, and with Texas experiencing drought and water rationing, it remains to be seen if all those teal will hang around if dry conditions persist.

Be aware of boaters

July Fourth falls on a Thursday, which should limit some of the boat traffic that would have been on the water had the holiday been observed on a weekend.

Nevertheless, be alert of the young, dumb and intoxicated boaters that holidays are so famous for producing.

Also, be aware of increased patrols by game wardens and area law enforcement who have authority to arrest and confiscate reckless boaters.

Holidays are made to be celebrated and enjoyed.

Nobody likes a pain in the boat.

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

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