T alk about a sure thing! Finally, the early summer pattern has emerged and it’s an easy one to follow.
After gambling all spring, bouncing from place to place playing the conditions, June brings high payouts with great early morning top water action along the shorelines for trophy trout.
Then, moving out a little, mid-morning limits of quality trout caught with soft plastics along edges, potholes and sand bars. When the sun hits the right angle (around 10:30 a.m. or so), get set for some super skinny fishing and an all-afternoon adventure of sight casting to redfish and black drum.
As an angler, observe these patterns, and replicate them place after place. It’s surprising sometimes to realize that once a pattern is established, you can use it in Baffin Bay, all along the Upper Laguna and all the way to the Land Cut and the 9-Mile Hole. These locations can really shine all summer long, whether you are a beginner, a trophy trout hunter, or a family looking for a great dinner.
This pattern lives all summer long, with the exception of weather interruptions or drastic changes of conditions which may send fish packing, but they will be back as soon as possible. Soft winds, along with sunny, warm conditions give fish the opportunity they’ve been looking for—to settle in to a regular feeding pattern in a reliable location.
Get an early start and be on the water at the “change,” from dark to light. Fish love to feed on the “change.” They will be found in the very shallow waters and shorelines, ambushing bait that are confused by the flip from dark conditions to the sunrise and bright conditions.
All morning, trout and redfish will stay up shallow eating the easy prey. Watch for trout “slicks” along the shorelines and fish where they originated.
As the morning wears on, drop down along sandbars, grass edges and deep potholes to find a nice limit of good-eating speckled trout. Use Saltwater Assassin four-inch Sea Shad paddle tails or straight tailed SW Shad in dark or light colors, depending on the day.
Cloudy weather, off-colored water might require a Morning Glory, Chicken on a Chain or a Texas Roach color, Plum (SW), or Rootbeer/Red Glitter (SW), all dark colored plastics. Bright, nice weather with beautiful clear watercolor try Mighty White, Sugar and Spice, Fried Chicken, all light-colored plastics.
The most important part about fishing with soft plastics is a “natural presentation.” The lighter the jig head, the easier it will be to fish any plastic with a natural motion. Try using “Black’s Magic Jig Heads” in the 1/32 ounce, #1 hook size. Anglers are astounded at the increase in fish “catching” with this little piece of fishing dynamite. It has revolutionized many angler’s fishing.
Locations that are very reliable for this approach to early summer fishing would include, in Baffin Bay, the Tide Gauge Bar, the North Shoreline of Baffin, any rock pile in Baffin such as Center Reef, White or Black Bluff or any grass flat such as the South Shoreline all the way to Penescal Point.
The Upper Laguna Madre has so much to offer as well, such as the King Ranch Shoreline, Emmord’s Hole, The Meadows, Little Grassy, Yarborough, and the “Ditch”.
The Landcut has a great and complex flat called the “Summerhouse,” which includes interesting rock formations that meander along the shoreline. Even more complex than that would be Rocky Slough.
Big, big rocks infest this area, but are more like a coral reef in that it becomes a system in and of itself. Rocky Slough also is connected to a back lake to wade into.
On the right water levels, anglers can do everything right there. Early morning, top waters up shallow, drop off fishing on the edges of the rocks and grass, and super skinny water, sight casting up in the slough. Fish this area with high caution as the rocks are large and plentiful.
The 9-Mile Hole is perfect for sight casting and fly-fishing. A gigantic, shallow grass flat, the “Hole” takes a little time to crack the code of how to fish it.
The 9-Mile Hole fishes more like a lake than a grass flat. The fish there like to hang out in six to eight regular places. Mark those spots, and the pattern of fishing there will emerge on the GPS. If drifting super shallow with clear and productive water is a goal, all anglers will love this spot.
Early summer fishing is diverse. After the winds and changeable conditions of the spring, it’s almost like taking a deep breath and a sigh.
Fly-fishing is always an option as the sun is high, the winds are low and the fish are shallow. Sight casting is a fun challenge, and walking a long, long shoreline is cathartic and exciting all wrapped into one. Plus, it’s great exercise.
The shoreline provides lots of interest with a cadre of birds, deer, quail, turkeys, coyotes and even nilgai gracing anglers with their presence. The lack of any development from Baffin Bay and south into the Upper Laguna Madre, Land Cut and the 9-Mile Hole provides a glimpse into the natural land of the last 100 years. It’s unchanged and will remain so for a long time. Lucky anglers enjoy a wide variety of nature while fishing, and it’s truly a bonus.
Life along the shores of the King and the Kenedy Ranches is a cornucopia of all things nature. Most of the time, boat traffic is minimal to non-existent, and the fishing is off the charts.
Finding the right combinations for productive fishing in the early summer is easy and fun. Because of the combination of the remoteness of the area and the great year-round fishing, Baffin Bay, the Upper Laguna Madre and places south can truly be called “The Last Best Place on the Texas Coast.”
See you on the water!
Email Capt. Sally Black at [email protected]