Water silent while shooting fields flourish
Winds were light, waters were green, tides were ardent, and the bays were silent. Well, not totally silent - there were a few boats at the ramp.
Nevertheless, since summer began, I cannot remember a week with so few boaters. It was the week after a holiday, and families probably shifted gears to that of school, work, football and all the other things that go on at the beginning of a new school year. Plus, as fantastic as dove hunting has been, many have traded their rod for a shotgun.
"There was no one on the water," said guide Mark Talasek. "I really couldn't believe it, and the fishing was good."
Talasek said his charters were able to take advantage of solid speckled trout over deep shell in East Matagorda Bay while shifting gears on other mornings for redfish in West Matagorda Bay.
"We had big tides last week, but the water dropped out, and the reds began schooling in large groups," he said.
When tides drop, most of the fish that were inhabiting the shorelines fall to deeper water as levels recede. According to guide Ray Sexton, that is exactly what the fish he was targeting did.
"Everything went to the middle of the bay," said Sexton. "All the mid-bay reefs held good trout and redfish. I caught redfish on reefs I have never caught redfish on before."
Sexton said the light boat traffic was nice for a change.
"You have to make calculated moves when you fish during the popular summer months," he said. "There are so many people on the water at times you may not get the spot you want if you move, so sometimes, it is best to stay put and fish harder, especially on weekends. This week, I was able to fish anywhere I pleased."
Results from opening weekend of dove season in the Central Zone were impressive. Guide Robert Trotti reported solid shoots near San Antonio and Hondo.
"Our hunts over corn were quick for whitewings," he said. "We had some pass-shoots near Hondo that did real well. It was a solid opener."
Closer to home, plowed ground and hay fields near Katy coughed up quick limits of both mourners and whitewings. Columbus and Sealy boasted good shoots as well.
The South Zone opens Sept. 20, and prospects look solid in El Campo, Wharton, Winnie and open fields around Galveston. Many birds shifted early in the week with north winds but trickled back to feeding fields by late week.
The light north winds this week ushered more blue-winged teal to the coast. With a limited supply of wet, second-cropped rice on the ground and severe drought persisting, water is a premium.
"We got more birds this week," said guide Bill Sherrill, of Wharton. "It is still early; I look for them (teal) to really show up in the next few days."
Teal season runs Sept. 14-29. The Texas coastal prairies are regarded as the best and most consistent areas to harvest teal in all of Texas, and this year's six-bird bag limit should help extend what is often a quick hunt.
"Water is tough to come by," said Sherrill. "If you have it, you will probably have lots of teal."
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain (firstname.lastname@example.org).