Boiling brine sends fish deeper

Aug. 7, 2011 at 3:07 a.m.


Can it get any hotter?

West winds - normally a July thing - push dry, blistering air off the Mexican desert and give us the stifling, arid days we have endured the past two summers.

Additionally, these west winds suck water out of the bays, draining tides from the shorelines and boiling what is left.

With tides low and water temperatures feeling like bath water, a change in fishing tactics is in order.

"The water is hot and most of the trout leave the shorelines in East Bay," said Matagorda pro Bill Pustejovsky. "Best fish in East Bay right now are in the middle, but you have to have the right winds to wade the reefs."

Though winds do dip below 10 knots during August, 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.

"That's how it goes in the summer," said Pustejovsky. "As hot as the water is, it takes the bay a little longer to clear. [The bay] will get green again, and, when it does, the fish turn on."

Guide Ken Marshall said 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 [people] 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 Assassins' Chicken on a Chain, TTF East Beast Flats Minnows and Norton's Black Magic 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."

Port O'Connor guide Lynn Smith said his August 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," said Smith. "Tides are going to be strongest around the pass."

West winds have not hurt Galveston Bay one bit. Some seasoned captains said they enjoyed the best fishing of the summer this week. Deep water has been the key, sometimes as much as 13 feet of water, according to guide James Plaag.

"The tide has been moving too much at times," said Plaag. "When it slows down, the fish have bit pretty good."

Croakers, a traditional summertime staple for live-baiters, have been rivaled by live shrimp as the hot bait lately.

"I don't know why, but live shrimp has been the ticket this summer," said Johnny Valentino of Eagle Point Bait Camp in San Leon. "Live shrimp have worked on the channel and around the wells really good."

Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed fishing guide ( or



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