THE SUMMER SUN has really heated things up around here.
Anglers are finding that the speckled trout are doing things right now that can only be attributed to the fact that we’re currently entering one of the hotter months of the year. Aside from any unanticipated tropical weather event this month, the fish will be doing things similarly each day while the air and the water remain so warm.
This also means their behavioral and feeding patterns will also be somewhat the same each day for the next few months. Just like people, when certain environmental patterns set in, trout behavior can often become fairly predictable.
Just like humans, the trout prefer to be comfortable (naturally). So, when their surrounding environment becomes too hot, the trout tend to seek cool, just like people do when they happen to be working outside in the heat of the summer.
We’ll often opt to do our summertime outdoor chores during the coolest part of the day, typically being the early morning or late evening hours of the day. We do this because these are the coolest times of the day during the summer season. If there’s an opportunity to work in a shaded area, or if working in the comfort of air conditioning becomes a possibility, we’re going to choose those opportunities.
The same holds true for speckled trout in July—they’ll look for comfort and relief from the heat wherever, and whenever, possible.
When it comes to eating patterns, people in our society have made it an obvious practice of taking the path of least resistance. Anyone who has spent any amount of time studying America’s health statistics knows that to be a fact. We tend eat the fastest, most convenient way possible.
The speckled trout is not much different in this respect. They don’t wish to make their feeding process any harder than it absolutely has to be. Granted, they are natural hunters, but they’re not going to expend energy unnecessarily if they don’t have to – the easier the meal, the better!
It’s these hot summertime months when coastal anglers will notice a definite subsidence in the trout bite each day. This occurs when late morning and early afternoon temperatures rise as a result of the hot daylight hours. This is why we typically try to be in the water at our first wading spot of the day well before sunrise.
Baitfish and trout can often be found in the shallows atop sand and grass flats first thing each morning. They’ll be in places where the water has cooled under the cover of the night’s darkness. As soon as the morning sun hits the flat, however, all of the fish begin a slow retreat back into deeper water, as they once again begin their search for comfort.
As a summer day progresses and gets hotter, look for the bite to become hit or miss later in the day. If you do spend the midday hours fishing for an effective trout bite, look in areas of deeper water that may supply the fish with some kind of shade.
Such a place might be a deep gut running parallel along the bank of the shoreline where tall marsh grass casts a shadow upon the water up tight against the bank. Some of the back lakes out on Matagorda Island offer this scenario, but don’t limit your search to shaded areas located against a shoreline. Also look for any underwater shade situations that may be created by natural structure.
A great example of this is in the form of jetties made of massive pieces of rock, some of which stack atop each other beneath the surface. This offers shade from the sun in deep water.
If you want to become an effective speckled trout angler during these summertime months, start thinking like a trout. If you were a trout, you’d be hanging out in the shallows first thing each morning looking for an easy meal.
After that, you’re going to head for a choice comfort spot that’s much cooler situated in a bit deeper water. Unless the day happens to be extremely overcast, you’ll also be seeking shelter from the afternoon high temperatures in any shade that might be available to you.
Remember, the more you can learn about the particular fish you’re going after, will help you in the end. Good luck this month, wear lots of sunscreen, drink plenty of water—and be careful out there.
Email Chris Martin at [email protected]
or visit bayflatslodge.com