Rain, Rain, Go Away, No Stay…No, Go away — July 7, 2008

As always, unless you live in the deluged Mid-west, you hear residents of rainy conditions say, “Man, we needed the rain.”  OK Ma nature you gave us the rain, no please go away.  It has rained for the last four days and my new summer tan is fading away to mid-school year pastiness.  “Why, why oh god of sun have you forsaken me?”  All kidding aside, the rain is good for the bays and the cool temperatures that have accompanied it are a mid-summer Valley relief. 

On the other hand, the cool temperatures cannot cool our fishing.  When we waded through the quagmire of the regionalization change, TPW and their esteemed biologist stated it would take two years to see an effect on the fishery.  Dad and I understand the conditions for the 2008 are a perfect storm if we can continue with the weather and rain analogy.  The cost of fuel prices, very windy June days, rainy weather when the winds subside, and the regulations changes have already affected the fishery.  We already see and feel a change with the combination of drastically reduced pressure and the regulations.  Not only are the regulations seemingly already changing the numbers of trout but the quality as well.

Trout are holding in their historical haunts along grass edges and points.  However, the most notable bright spots are finding fish where they have not been in the last three years but were trophy hangouts.  The fish are returning to those areas and limits, if one is so inclined to keep the little speckled monkeys, are easy if you get away from the sparse traffic that is on the water.

The use of topwaters in 4 to 5 feet of water and producing it was of the returns to old days we were looking hoping to happen.  I threw a black Spook Jr. the other day along a 5 foot grass line and had a limit of keepers from 17 to 22 by ten-thirty.  It is awesome to get finished that early in the day and face my little red friends in ankle deep water.  I am also able to introduce a few trout snobs to a different kind of fishing they would not have explored if they did not have their trout.  We are hitting the trout on YUM Houdini shad in a multitude of colors.  I have my clients working 1/16 heads over the grass fairly rapidly.  On days we are getting hold-ons or short strikes, I cut the plastic in half and go from a 3/0 hook to a 1/0 and that seems to stop the short striking.

Reds are reds as the saying goes.  Dad and Mitch have been hitting them rather hard deep but I gotta go shallow.  I have had my guys throwing Zara Pups in six to ten inches of water.  The shows are quite spectacular and at time funny.  Watching a guys dance with a stringer around his ankles, a red going which ever direction he wants, and trying to maintain balance is a sight to see.  The tango usually ends in a wet angler and some serious ribbing back at the boat.

Offshore has been Port Mansfield offshore.  Good snapper abound and the kings and tarpon are plentiful.  However, so are the sharks this year.  Good friend Wes Walton landed an estimated 200-250 pound bull shark on a light snapper outfit.  He landed the beast in about an hour…he was pretty much done for the day and left fish catching duties to the three boys and brother he brought along.

Well, until you get here, dad and I will be on the water everyday chasing tarpon and trout.  Big fish season is right around the corner…so stay tuned.