Light north winds means one thing in July — the surf is right.
When green tides creep along the beach, most anglers take a sick day and head to the sand where large trout were waiting in the first gut.
Most waders threw She Dogs early on the incoming tide, 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 boat traffic often is light because everyone is in the Gulf. Several captains reported multiple 7- to 8-pound trout this week while wading reefs in East Matagorda Bay.
West Matagorda Bay continues to produce. 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.
Port O’Connor anglers have been enjoying consistent catches over mid-bay reefs in San Antonio Bay. Guide Lynn Smith said he 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, Bass Assassins and Lil’ Johns.
Rockport anglers have been working sand and grass potholes with topwaters early in the day. The surf around Port Aransas has been hot on She Pups and MirrOlures and on Lil’ Johns under a popping cork.
Our redfish guides in Matagorda know things get tough when water temps reach the upper 80s and tides fall 1 to 2 feet below normal in July. It makes for tough fishing in locales normally holding 2 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 reopenes Monday 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 to 30 feet of water. Don’t be surprised if you run into a tarpon out there. Silver Kings are beginning to show regularly a few miles off the beach.
Guide Michael Kubecka said wahoo and dorado are all over weed lines from 200 feet of water and deeper out of Matagorda. Wahoo are eating rigged ballyhoo and deep-diving Rapala X-Raps in purple and black.
Weed lines over the hilltops are holding billfish. Nighttime swordfish action has been productive about 80 miles out. All the wrecks and rigs are covered in red snapper.
Out of Freeport, guide Mike Segall said kingfish are excellent around rigs and structure on slow-trolled sardines. Red snapper are everywhere, he said, and there are bonus mangrove snapper mixed with red snapper on sardines.