WOODS, WINGS & WATER: High pressure, southwest winds stall catches
It is getting hotter.
West winds, normally a July thing, pushed dry, blistering air off the Mexican desert and gave us the stifling, arid days we have endured this week, and these west winds sucked water out of the bays, draining tides from the shorelines and boiling what is left.
The culprit was high pressure sitting on top of us, which also kept the tropical storm along the Yucatan from spiraling northward.
With tides low and water temperatures feeling like bath water, a change in fishing tactics is in order.
"The water gets so hot, and most of those fish leave the shorelines," said guide Charlie Paradoski. "Our best trout in East Bay right now are in the middle, but you have to have the right winds to wade the reefs."
Even with winds less than 10 knots, weak tides often do not allow East Matagorda Bay to clear, especially when water temperatures are in the upper 80s and tides are two feet below normal.
"As hot as the water is, it takes the bay a little longer to clear. It will get green again, and when it does the fish turn on," said Paradoski.
Port O'Connor guide Lynn Smith said his normal hangout this time of year is usually somewhere around Pass Cavallo in West Matagorda Bay.
"Somewhere around the pass is the place to be, especially with the weak tides often seen," said Smith. "Tides are going to be strongest around the pass."
Guide Ken Marshall said though water has been dirty, trout continue to eat in off-colored water - you just have to throw live shrimp at them.
"Sometimes it is not the fastest fishing in the world, but you do manage to catch some nice boxes of fish," said Marshall. "Fish slick late in the morning and we get behind them and drift."
Again, live shrimp is the ticket, but plastics like Bass Assassin, TTF Flats Minnows, Gulps and Tidal Surges take fish as well.
"I think the low tides congregate the fish on the deep shell," said Marshall. "Find some streaky water with bait and you will probably find fish. Most of the fish we catch come in less than eight inches of visibility."
West winds do not have the same effect on Galveston Bay. Some seasoned captains say they enjoy some of the most consistent fishing during low water patterns. Deep water has been the key, sometimes as much as 13 feet of water, according to guide James Plaag.
"The tide moves too much at times," said Plaag. "When it slows down the fish bite pretty good."
Croakers, a traditional summertime staple for live-baiters, have been continued to put fish in the boat despite nagging winds.
"It is good early on the incoming tides, then we grind the rest of the day," said guide Ray Sexton. "Our tides should be better this coming week so the bite will get better."
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain(firstname.lastname@example.org).