WOODS, WINGS & WATER: Diversify your summer plan
It's a summer day, the flags you anticipated being limp are steadily blowing from the southwest.
You had a plan to wade mid-bay reefs, but you know that ain't happening now.
Where are you gonna go?
Of course not.
You find a leeward shore, hope the wind dissipates when the sun comes up and pray for clean water.
Like life, fishing weather is not always perfect. You adjust, overcome and keep fishing.
Now, what about those days when everything looks too perfect? That's a problem, too. You have so many choices: bay, jetty, surf, wells, deep reefs, drifting, wading, live bait, artificials.
For the next three months, if waves are less than two feet, I give the surf a thought.
Say the tides are on the bottom end of the low for the day - I choose another locale until the tide begins to switch because outgoing tides normally dirty waters and push fish to the outer bars, especially if it is late in the tide.
Let's say the tide begins to bail in around 10 a.m.
The reefs in East Matagorda, East Galveston, Trinity or Espiritu Santo bays are solid estuaries to bide time, and you need calm, green waters to fish these pieces of shell during the summer. I choose East Matagorda Bay and start at Long Reef, Drull's Lump or Three Beacon Reef and look for flipping mullet. If I see mullet, I begin wading on the far west end of the reef and work my way to the east. It usually takes at least two hours to wade it right. My bait of choice is a She Dog or Super Spook Jr.
I have caught numerous big trout here on these baits. If there is a chop on the water, the She Dog is my bait; if calm, the subtle Spook Jr. gets the call.
Halfmoon, Barefoot, Red Cone, Chinquapin and Bird Island reefs are solid choices as well. In Port O'Connor, Bill Day's Reef, the J-Hook and shell on the edge of deep channels get the nod.
In Galveston Bay, Redfish Reef and Hannas Reef are most popular, but every reef with a fresh slick is a player.
Finally, I give the surf a look. I arrive and look for hopping shrimp, nervous shad and jumping mullet. Since the incoming tide is flooding the beach, I work the first gut with a topwater. If the tide is falling, I probably remain in the boat and drift within a cast of the outer bars in 5-7 feet of water.
If I want to catch an array of species, I toss natural baits like live shrimp, shad or mullet. If I just want to target tide-running trout, I offer MirrOlures, Bass Assassins, She Dogs, Super Spooks or Gulps.
A light southeast breeze and emerald water is a dream for any Lone Star angler. But, this is the real world, and those days only occur on the days you have to work.
Better have another plan in place.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.