GRIMES: Catches suffer as west winds return
West winds returned this week, pushing dry, blistering air off the Mexican desert and giving us stifling, arid days; and, the westerly flow sucked water out of the bays, draining tides from the shorelines and steaming what was left.
With tides low and water temperatures feeling like bath water, a change in fishing tactics is in order.
Though winds do not traditionally blow hard this time of year, weak tides associated with west winds often do not allow bays to clear, especially bays without a significant exchange of daily currents like East Matagorda Bay, Lavaca Bay and Trinity Bay. As hot as the water is, it takes the bay a little longer to clear.
Guides contend that trout continue to eat in off-colored water, you just have to throw live shrimp, croakers, finger mullet or piggy perch. Sometimes it is not the fastest fishing in the world, but many captains do manage to catch some nice boxes of fish early in the morning or late evening. However, never discount midday, especially on a new or full moon.
"The fish start 'slicking' about the time every is going home because it is too hot," said guide Charlie Paradoski. "We keep pounding the reefs and usually come back to the dock with solid boxes."
Again, live shrimp is the ticket, but Gulps and other scented baits are a close second in Matagorda.
The key is to find some streaky water with bait and you will probably find fish. Most of the fish caught this time of year while drifting come in less than eight inches of visibility.
Port O'Connor guides hangout somewhere around Pass Cavallo in West Matagorda Bay, especially when the tidal forecasts call for the weakest tides of the month, usually on the backside of the new and full moon. That pattern works around jetties and other inlets as well like Sabine Pass and Rollover Pass.
"Somewhere around the pass is the place to be, especially with the weak tides we usually see this time of yearoften see," said guide Lynn Smith.
West winds have hurt Galveston Bay as well, yet many have fished through the off-colored water by keying on deep structure, sometimes as much as 13-15 feet of water. Incoming tides have been best.
"Normally it will blow during the night then calm down as the sun comes up," said veteran guide Mickey Eastman. "But, this week the wind never let up and it was tough fishing the wells and all the open-water structure."
Offshore anglers haven't seemed to care, with seas less than three feet for most of the week. Solid catches of kingfish, dorado, ling and tuna have been found on the big pond. And, tarpon are beginning to show more often in about 40 feet of water.
"There are a lot of sharks, bull reds, kings, jacks (crevalle) and bigger tarpon in what I call Tarpon Alley," said guide Mike Williams of Tarpon Express.
Whoever said "wind from the west, fish bite best -wind from the east, fish bite least" never fished on the Texas coast. The saying is directly opposite in these parts.
That's just part of July. Better days are on the horizon.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed fishing guide (firstname.lastname@example.org).