I T’S SUMMERTIME WHETHER we like it, or not. It’s time for school to be out and time for family vacations, but it’s also time to have a little fun with the fish, as well.
A lot of anglers will be throwing live croakers this month in hope of landing a big trout or beautiful red. A lot of them will be successful, especially if this summer is anything like last summer. Even in the summertime heat, last year’s hotter months continued to produce regular catches of mixed sizes of trout and redfish.
Some days would provide mostly trout, while other days yielded nothing but redfish and black drum. It seems like all the days produced, regardless of the type of fish caught.
It was a fun time for everyone who fished, and we have seen no indication that this year’s summer months will be any different. In fact, if our recent spring months are any sign of what’s in store for us in the months ahead, the summer of 2018 shows potential of being even better that last year, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed just in case.
We mentioned this month’s croaker use earlier, and that’s not only because croakers are widely available at this point in the year, but also because the croaker represents a larger meal to typical game fish such as trout and redfish.
Another large baitfish we’ll begin seeing in mass numbers this month is the mullet. We’ll find June mullet congregated in rafts or pods, often consisting of tens of thousands of mullet in one group. These pods will travel with wind and water conditions, as well as with tidal movement and their food source.
They can commonly be found in the earliest time of the day tight against a skinny-water shoreline where they gather overnight to escape the dangers of the deep. For wade fishing enthusiasts who prefer fishing with artificial baits, these early morning, bait-laden shorelines are a great place to be about an hour prior to sunrise each day in June.
You can either wait in the boat until the sun comes up, or you can bail out into the darkness with a big bone or black top water bait such as a She Dog, Super Spook, or Skitter Walk tied to the end of your line. There’s nothing more exciting than hearing your lure being pounced on and engulfed by a fish you can’t even see.
Regardless of whether you’re wade fishing or fishing from the boat, June is a good time to start practicing early morning assaults along the flats. This will not only put you in the coolest part of the day, but should also help increase your chances at some good fish.
However, keep a watchful eye as the sun rises into the morning sky and begins warming the shallows. Once this happens, you will most likely see the baitfish in the area start to relocate as they search for cooler water.
When the baitfish start their transition, the game fish will go with them, so you will need to make the shift along with the fish. It is also common for the bite on top to shut off as the water warms. So converting to plastic tails or suspending baits will probably prove to be more effective as you look for the bite in deeper water.
As we talked about earlier, these large concentrations of baitfish will attract greater numbers of game fish, especially the redfish. Summertime is the time of year when we start to notice development of large schools of redfish. Sometimes, there may even be several different groups or schools right next to each other in one large area.
They’ll soar to the water’s surface in a fury, revealing their position more and more each day as they prey on the surface-roaming mullet. They’re believed to be creatures of strong habit and routine, so if you’re successful in pinpointing their whereabouts, you may just be able to find those same reds near that location for several days at a time.
These fish can be taken on most any of your live bait choices such as shrimp, croaker, or piggy perch, but they are also well known for their enjoyment of fresh dead baits, as well—cracked crab, cut mullet, dead shrimp, etc. Artificial lure buffs can typically find success with neutral or dark surface walkers until after sunrise, and sub-surface baits later in the day. Use bright colors on bright days or in clean water, and dark colors on dark days or in stained water.
Until next time, have fun out there and be safe!
Email Chris Martin at [email protected]ail.com
or visit bayflatslodge.com