Summer in South Texas
FOR ALL OF US WHO pursue our finned friends in the shallow waters of Baffin Bay and the Upper Laguna Madre, this is our favorite time of year.
Finally, the waders have been retired for another season. It doesn’t take much convincing to get folks on the water these days either. The Big Girls are here.
This has been and will continue to be a banner year for the famous Trophy Trout of Baffin Bay. Even though our year started out slow, it has shown that there is good reason to believe that Baffin will retain her title as the Mecca of Trophy Trout.
Twin ten pounders have already been caught here at Baffin Bay Rod and Gun, not to mention several others by anglers from all over the state who come here to take their shot at a once in a lifetime fish.
Our bay appears to be as healthy as we have seen in many years. Rafts of mullet and baitfish are along most shorelines and drop offs, and the rocks are just teeming with tiny crabs, baitfish and shrimp.
We have seen many black drums and even a few “Ghosts of Baffin,” the giant resident redfish that patrol these waters. But we all know what draws most people here, and that is trophy trout.
Big trout are consistently found in shallow water. Our band of fishing guides here at BBR&G report that most big trout are in knee-deep to hip-deep water. Spawning activity will continue most of the warm months but the peak, which happens in April most years, has passed. This means these Big Girls are shallow for one main purpose—to eat.
Trout are opportunistic predators and will eat most anything that will fit in their mouths and gullet. A trout can consume a meal two-thirds its body length. For example, a 24-inch trout can eat a 16-inch mullet. A 30-inch trout can eat a 20-inch mullet. That’s something to keep in mind when you are thinking that that Super Spook topwater might be too big.
Trout are also ambush feeders. They prefer to conceal themselves and let their natural camouflage hide them from their prey. We have often seen trout near the edges of large potholes and especially in depressions along the bottom. Specifically, we see them lying in old prop scars on shallow flats. Keep this in mind as you are wading. Pay close attention and make multiple casts to these features.
One common occurrence we have all experienced while wade fishing is to get a “bump” or “strike” as we work our lure through an area. We immediately make a cast just past the area of the “bump” and work the lure down the exact same track.
A trout that misses a shot at your lure will very often go right back to the same spot where they were successfully concealed before. Many times, that second or third cast will produce a fish.
One other tactic we use when wading a shallow flat is to cast with purpose. By that we mean to make each cast to a specific target.
With the water in Baffin as clear as it is, you can see many underwater features that can and do hold fish. As mentioned above, prop scars, depressions, potholes and grass lines are all likely areas that might harbor a predator. Instead of randomly “shotgunning” casts all over a flat, methodically work over the primary features you can see. Casting with purpose will increase your success.
Topwaters are about the most thrilling way to catch fish this time of year. The warmer water temps make the fish a little more likely to attack an offering on the surface. YoZuri 3DB, One Knocker Spooks, Skitterwalks, and Spook Jrs are our top producers.
Although that topwater action will definitely get your heart rate up, the more consistent catching will always be with soft plastics. Our go-to lures almost all have some type of paddle tail, which creates a vibration in the water at almost any speed of retrieve. Saltwater Assassin Sea Shad in 4-inch or 5-inch, Die Dappers in 5-inch, Kelly Wiggler Willow Tail, Gambler Paddletail are all in our arsenals.
The ability to keep that lure in the strike zone for the longest possible time is the key to our success. We enhance that by using Black’s Magic jigheads in 1/32 ounce. These ultralight jigheads add more “life” to the lures we use by leaving more plastic behind the hook, which allows more movement over the whole body of the lure. It also allows a slower sink rate, which is important when fishing the super skinny waters we see on a daily basis. Even with the slowest of swimming retrieves you can keep your lure above the grass and anywhere you want it to be in the water column.
Baffin is hot right now and like the upcoming summer, promises to only get hotter. It really doesn’t get any better than this in South Texas.
With our customer’s success in mind, all of the guides here at BBR&G work together closely to make sure we all stay on fish. If you are looking for a first class experience and a legitimate shot at your trophy trout of a lifetime, look no farther than the premier fishing and hunting lodge, Baffin Bay Rod and Gun.
See you on the water.
Email Capt. Sally Black at Sally@captainsally.com