Drifters have found good fish on live shrimp or plastics under a popping cork.
Originally published on Sunday, June 24, 2012
Newcomers to saltwater fishing always say the same thing: "We love to fish the salt because you never know what you might see or catch."
That statement was never truer this week.
We awoke Monday to a bullish tide - one to two feet above normal - probably due to the low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico. What had been a solid bite over sand and grass turned to scattered catches. With more water, fish have more real estate to use, so a change in tactics were in order.
"I left the grass beds and worked tight to the shorelines," said guide Ray Sexton. "It has been my experience that fish move to mud and shell when tides are above normal."
You never want to gripe when winds are too calm, but that was the case Monday as drifters had a tough time covering ground. Some might say, "buy a trolling motor," but that fad hasn't hit the middle coast like it has the upper coast.
"We had to ease up to a spot with the big motor and shut it down and hope we drifted over the reef without spooking the fish," said guide Ken Marshall. "We ended up catching our limit of trout, but it took all day to do it."
Meanwhile, boaters on Galveston Bay used their trolling motors in the placid waters to work over deep shell. Those working the legs of gas wells in Trinity Bay took easy limits of trout on plastics, while live baiters did the same.
Then Tuesday and Wednesday beckoned and brought with it Small Craft Advisories and 15-20 knot southeast winds. The cool thing about a southeasterly flow is there is always somewhere to fish, no matter how hard the wind blows; and, with higher tides than normal, the back lakes and leeward shorelines were a player for redfish, black drum and trout on live shrimp.
Then, as quickly as winds turned blustery, it subsided again, and gave anglers green water and a light north wind, perfect for the surf.
"We got in the Gulf and it was good," said guide Lynn Smith. "We haven't been able to get out there in a month, but the fish were still there."
Smooth bays allow a keener sight of baitfish on the surface for both humans and avians. Birds were able to find a bounding shrimp or two and work over the pod, and anglers found the birds who found the fish.
"Birds worked up consistently in the middle of the lake," said guide Randy Foreman of Sabine Lake. "Specks to four pounds were caught on plastics."
The same reports came from Hackberry Rod and Gun on the banks of Calcasieu Lake.
"There are plenty of trout to be caught under birds, but the better fish have come on topwaters while drifting reefs and slicks," said guide Kirk Stansel. "Our jetty bite is heating up with better tides and greener water."
That's why the coast is the coast, and so many people's hearts pump brine.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain (firstname.lastname@example.org).