There is a definite difference between 95 and 100 degrees. The century mark has been the norm lately, but we have taken a “get on the water early and get off early” approach so not to fall victim to heat-related illnesses.
The topwater bite has been outstanding just about anywhere for those wading during the first two hours of the day. That’s not to say a speckled trout will not crush a topwater when the sun gets up. Most anglers believe the myth, probably from a bass-fishing background, and exchange plugs for a soft plastic when the sun gets bright enough to wear polarized shades.
Lots of big trout were caught and released last week in East Matagorda Bay while wading and drifting. We have had light winds for the past 10 days, and that has allowed deep shell and wadeable mid-bay reefs to remain green; and, when there is water clarity in East Bay, there is always a chance at a monster trout.
The early topwater bite has a lot to do with strong incoming tides from the Port O jetty and Pass Cavallo that generates bait and floods West Matagorda Bay and Espiritu Santo Bay with tiderunners from the surf.
Guide Lynn Smith said he caught limits of fish in Espiritu Santo Bay (Holy Spirit Bay) on grass flats on the incoming tide. All of his fish were over two pounds, and many were in the 4-5 pound range and pushing 24 inches. He said Chicken on a Chain Bass Assassins, Hogies and Down South Lures offered the best bite along with Super Spook Jrs.
Around Palacios, deep reefs around the sunken shrimp boat and Coon Island has produced trout on live shrimp under a popping cork. Half Moon Reef has been solid as well. Don’t forget about Turtle Bay and Carancahua Bay when tides swell as they did this week. Waders have scored there on live croakers and topwaters on the edges of shallow reefs.
The surf continues to produce with light winds and green tides. The bite along the beach has been tougher on artificials, but those tossing live croakers have enjoyed nice trout in the first gut. Many anglers this week reported lots of sharks along the beach wreaking havoc on tackle.
Rockport anglers continue to target sand and grass humps and flats with small topwaters and soft plastics on the incoming tide. The nearby Port Aransas jetty has been holding trout on live shrimp.
Light winds have allowed the deep reaches of West Matagorda Bay to remain green for most of August, and that has afforded perfect weather to chase tripletail.
The buoys and channel markers along the ICW near Palacios and running all the way to Port O’Connor are a potential hotspot for these pelagics that ease in through the Port O’Connor jetty every summer. The preferred method is rigging a live shrimp under a cork and varying the depth of the leader from 2 to 4 feet.
A good boat driver is a must to help pull the fish away from structure. As soon as a fish feels pressure, it runs for the shade of the structure and is very capable of wrapping line around a pole like a good tetherball player.
Lots of tripletails remain on the weedlines offshore; any floating debris is a potential tripletail haunt as well.
Capt. Michael Kubecka said kingfish are all over the place from the jetty out to the shrimp boats in 200 feet of water. He said his boat has been trolling blue runners and Rapala X-raps around shrimp boats. With water temps in the upper 80s and tides emerald green, many smaller kings have been just off the beach. Some pluggers along the jetties in Port O’Connor and Surfside have been surprised at first light by kings pushing 20 pounds.
In Freeport, Guide Mike Segall of Reel Threel Charters said his kingfish bite has been good in state waters on sardines. Larger kings have been found in deeper water around Gulf shrimp boats while trolling. He said plenty of Spanish mackerel are hanging with kings as well.
It’s hot, ladies and gentlemen, but there’s no other place I’d rather be in August than along the Texas middle coast.