July tranquility has surf rocking with fish
July 16, 2017 at 10:15 p.m.
BY BINK GRIMES
Light north winds means one thing in July: The surf is right.
We have been waiting for a while this summer for green tides to creep along the beach. It did this week, and large trout were waiting in the first gut.
Most waders threw topwaters like SkitterWalks, Super Spooks and She Dogs early on the incoming, then switched to 51M MirrOlures, Soft Dines and any soft plastic. Live baiters crushed limits early with live croakers.
Boaters tossed baits in the first gut but really worked on trout around midday as tides fell and trout eased off the beach and staged on the edge of the second gut in about 5 feet of water.
When the surf produces, so does the bay, and often boat traffic is light because everyone is in the Gulf.
Run-N-Gun Adventures reported releasing multiple 7-8 pound trout this week while wading reefs in East Matagorda Bay with croakers. Guide Lee Warmke found trout to 30 inches (released) on topwaters and soft plastics.
West Matagorda Bay continues to produce.
Guide Ray Sexton said he saw what he considers to be the best bite of the year this week. His clients literally stood in one spot and caught trout for three hours straight while wading. Sand and grass flats closer to the Port O'Connor jetty and Pass Cavallo saw similar results on She Pups, Super Spook Jrs. and Down South Lures.
Galveston has caught fire during the past two weeks. Guide James Plaag reported limits of trout for most of the week on pink ghost Bass Assassins and She Pups. He said tarpon action has picked up as well with his boat releasing multiple poons up to 140 pounds.
Port O'Connor anglers have been enjoying consistent catches over mid-bay reefs in San Antonio Bay. Guide Lynn Smith said saw a great topwater bite early in the morning over sand and rafts of mullet. Later in the day, he has been throwing Chicken on a Chain Bass Assassins in about belly to chest deep water.
Freeport and Surfside anglers have been working the surf and jetties with live shrimp for trout. Pluggers have tossed MirrOlures, SkitterWalks, Super Spooks, Down South Lures, Bass Assassins and Lil' Johns.
Redfish guides in Matagorda know things get tough when water temps reach the upper 80s and tides fall 1-2 feet below normal in July. It makes for tough fishing in locales normally holding two feet of water on a high tide.
The best pattern lately has been drifting in the middle of East Matagorda Bay. All those redfish on the south shoreline have no choice but to fall to the deep shell in the middle of the bay. We look for slicks and drift behind the oily sheen with Gulps and live shrimp under a Mid-Coast cork.
The jetty is the other consistent redfish player in July. Most of the fish are near the bottom and best on live baits like finger mullet, croaker and large table shrimp. The Gulf shrimp season reopens July 15 and there are lots of jumbo white shrimp tight to the beach and those same shrimp ride the incoming tide through the jetty, and those redfish wait to gobble them up.
In Freeport and Surfside, lots of bull redfish are just off the beach in 20-30 feet of water. Don't be surprised if you run in to a tarpon out there. Silver Kings are beginning to show regularly a few miles off the beach.
On the offshore scene, guide Michael Kubecka said wahoo and dorado are all over weed lines from 200 feet of water and deeper out of Matagorda, Freeport and Galveston. Wahoo are eating rigged ballyhoo and deep-diving Rapala X-Raps in purple and black.
Weed lines over the hilltops are holding billfish and nighttime swordfish action has been productive about 80 miles out. All the wrecks and rigs are covered in red snapper. Snapper season ends July 19 for commercial boat captains with a federal reef permit, but remains open in state and federal waters Friday through Sunday for recreational anglers through Labor Day.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain. Email Grimes at firstname.lastname@example.org.