S ummer has arrived in full force here on Texas’s uppermost coast and the heat is definitely on.
The arrival of one of our hottest months here on Sabine means that if you haven’t already been fishing the short rigs, you should probably put that on your “to do” list for the very near future. The already good fishing there is only going to get better as we go through this month and the temperature continues to rise.
If speckled trout is on the menu tonight, you owe it to yourself to make the green water run to either the six- or twelve-mile rigs located just off the coast of Johnson Bayou, in southwest Louisiana. Within minutes of the boat cut at Sabine’s East Jetty lies some of the best summertime trout fishing worldwide.
The cost of a Louisiana fishing license, which is required, is a minimal investment when compared to the payoff that can come with fishing these rigs in July. To say that the fish can really stack up there in the summer months is truly an understatement.
Fishing the rigs, or “rig-hopping” begins to gain momentum in late spring/early summer and seems to peak around the end of July for specks, reds and an assortment of other species. It’s not uncommon to tangle with big ling, triple tail, Spanish mackerel and other types of serious line strippers, but it’s the speckled tout that keeps most folks coming back.
Once July rolls around, you can rest assured I will be either at, or in the very near vicinity of, the short rigs, weather permitting. The only thing that can stand in my way, and only briefly, is if I happen to stumble upon a nice weed line on the way.
Several other local anglers share that same mentality, and for good reason. As good as the fishing can be at various points in the Sabine ecosystem, there’s just something about fishing the rigs on a hot July day. It’s as if this is where we’re meant to be.
One of the best things is that it’s relatively easy to fish the rigs sucessfully if the fish are present. Just like anywhere else, they’re either going to be deep, suspended, or near the surface. If you can’t find them at one rig, move on to the next one.
On good, calm days, your trolling motor will be all you need to stay on the fish. There are times, however when a rig hook or anchor will be your best bet, depending on the wind and current. Any soft plastics or other artficials that work for you at your favorite spots will work just fine here too, as will live baits like finger mullet, shad, croaker and live shrimp.
Most of the action is close to the legs of the rig, but it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on your sonar for pods of bait or any unseen structure that may be just off the rig itself. When the heat is on in July, give the short rigs a try if speckled trout is on the menu.
Location: Surf, McFaddin Beach
Species: Speckled trout, redfish, and jacks
Baits/Lures: Spoons, soft plastics, live shrimp, and finger mullet
Best Times: Mornings and evenings especially with moving tides
Email Eddie Hernandez at [email protected]