WOODS, WINGS & WATER: Think like a fish
It's close to boiling out there.
West winds push dry, blistering air off the Mexican desert and give us the stifling, arid days we have endured in the past week; and, these west winds suck water out of the bays, draining tides from the shorelines and roasting what is left.
With tides low and water temperatures feeling like bath water, a change in fishing tactics is in order.
Though winds do dip below 10 knots this time of year, weak tides often do not allow bays to clear, especially when water temperatures are in the upper 80s and tides are 2 feet below normal.
"When the water gets around 85 degrees, it takes the bay a little longer to clear," guide Charlie Paradoski said. "That's nothing new for this time of the year. We deal with it every year. It (bay) will get green again, and when it does, the fish turn on."
Port O'Connor guide Lynn Smith said his hot, sweltering hangout is usually somewhere around Pass Cavallo in West Matagorda Bay.
"Somewhere around the pass is the place to be, especially with the weak tides we often see," Smith said. "Tides are going to be strongest around the pass."
Last week, high tides pumped new life in the bay, as a result of low pressure in the Gulf. The swollen water levels pushed redfish and trout to the back lakes; however, water quickly receded this week with a southwest wind.
Smith said he worked tight to the shorelines with the high tides but found deeper sand and grass this week as he worked his soft plastic.
Of course, the best days yield light north winds that drop the humidity and flatten the surf. The attractive aspect of Matagorda and Galveston are the miles of beach available to anyone with a 4x4; and, it's just not good fishing - it is great fishing.
"Whenever we can get in the surf, we go," said guide Lee Warmke, of Matagorda. "We have had some incredible days this summer while drifting and wading the surf."
Warmke said pompano showed tight to the beach a few weeks ago, along with schooling bonita chasing large balls of minnows.
There are not many places to hide from a westerly wind, so water clarity becomes an issue this time of year. Guide Ken Marshall said trout continue to eat in off-colored water; you just have to throw live shrimp at them.
Plastics like Bass Assassins' Chicken on a Chain, TTF East Beast Flats Minnows and Hackberry Hustlers, Tidal Surges and Norton Bull Minnows are popular choices.
"I think the low tides congregate the fish on the deep shell. Find some streaky water with bait," Marshall said.
It's definitely an early bite on artificials. Many guides work plastics and topwaters early then switch to live bait.
"We throw big Super Spooks and Top Dogs here over deep reefs early in the morning," guide Kirk Stansel of Hackberry Rod and Gun said. "We try to get a good one early, but this time of year, the fish normally shut off about 8 a.m. and want nothing but live bait when it heats up."
Take a cue from the fish - get on the water before sunrise and get off before it boils.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain (firstname.lastname@example.org).