Head to the King Ranch Gut or East Corpus Shore
B esides knowing where to fish and what baits to use, the biggest thing to remember when going out in June is be prepared for the heat. June officially starts the summer months, although with the crazy weather we have had this year so far, the hot temperatures associated with summer has started before June.
Start early, get off the water by noon, and maybe, try your luck in the late evening hours. Matching tidal flow with either of these time frames, all the better.
Choosing good locations for June …Since the water temps are also climbing, it’s good to match up locations where you can wade the prime early hours, but then can move off into deeper water to try your luck picking up a few fish on a drift as the sun begins to slow fry your skin. The fish are also looking for a more acceptable water temps.
Guide Paul Braly who fishes the Upper Laguna Madre and Corpus Christi, shares some of his fish-catching wisdom.
In the Upper Laguna Madre a good place to localize your efforts is the natural gut off the King Ranch shoreline. If Braly has clients who prefer fishing with live or cut bait, he sets them up for free-lining live croakers on number six Kahle hooks.
You don’t need a leader in free-lining. “A lot of people don’t use leader, just tie the hook straight to the line, hook a croaker, and throw it out there,” said Braly. “Bounce, pop the croaker about every 30-40 seconds. You can catch trout and redfish using this method.”
Size of croaker doesn’t seem to be that important. Every year it’s different. In April when croaker first start to show up in the bays, Braly may be using a three inch croaker; by June they could be four or five inches in length. “Hook them through the tail so they move around.”
The Natural Cut or Gut
Braly gives a description of the Natural Gut …”When you go down the King Ranch Shoreline, there is a gut that runs probably 150 yards off the shoreline, about 500 yards wide. It runs pretty much from Pita Island all the way to Marker 185; Marker 185 kind of marks the pipeline that runs from the actual seashore back to the King Ranch. This area is marked by a whole bunch of pipelines that run through there.” In total the gut is maybe 12 miles long.
Along the shoreline you have two to three foot deep grass and sand beds; back off from the shoreline and you move into about six feet of water.
If you have made the transition from shallow to deep, anchor up and throw croaker. Keep bumping the live croaker around until you find the fish. “The gut is pretty much where all the trout live in the summer,” said Braly.
“In the gut, the redfish will eat the croaker, but you are not going to catch very many redfish in those places,” explained Braly. “Redfish don’t naturally eat croakers because they aren’t cannibals like trout. They (croaker) look like a redfish, but without the spot. This is not saying they won’t eat a croaker if you catch them feeding, but they don’t typically eat a croaker.
“Croaker feast on trout eggs. A redfish would rather eat a crab or mullet, a piece of cut bait, shrimp. That’s more on their diet.”
Corpus Christi Bay
The east shoreline of Corpus Christi Bay up to about Shamrock Cove is pretty good place to throw croakers for trout. There are a bunch of sand guts that run through there; work those sand guts,” said Braly. “Free-line croaker on a number 7 hook, also live mullet. Use cut bait in the same guts with Carolina rigs and catch redfish…definitely good fishing through there,” said Braly.
“There are a lot of flats you can drift early in the morning or late in the afternoon, throwing gold spoons or any type of soft plastics in various colors, just whatever you have the most confidence in. Color doesn’t really matter.
Besides croakers, gold spoons and soft plastics, don’t forget the most important thing. Take lots of water with you…water, not other beverages. Lather down with the highest rating sunscreen you can find to prevent skin cancer that will surface later on in your life. I can vouch for that.
Email Tom Behrens at ContactUs@fishgame.com