Winning 3rd Quarter Strategies!
Winning 3rd Quarter Strategies
July through September will find us working with the weather as we approach the “Tropical” season. Various tropical events including waves, depressions, storms and of course hurricanes frequent the Gulf waters at this time. Along with them comes a higher than normal tide which can open up previously slow or lack luster areas with explosive fishing. The key will be to get shallower in an environment of higher water. The bait and fish will quickly make a move tighter to the crest of reefs, closer to shorelines, and farther into shallow water bays. Big pushes of Gulf water can bring unfamiliar water clarity along with an abundance of Gulf species including Sharks and Jacks. Sticking with the rule that the bait and the fish will be in off color water will narrow the focus and areas looked at first.
Fishing around these weather events requires a different approach to the fishing schedule. The Dawn Patrol mentality takes a back seat to the “Window of Opportunity Patrol”. Access to real-time local radar is critical. If you don’t have radar on your phone, a land based “eye on the sky” will keep everyone safe. Wendi monitors radar around such events while we are on the water constantly updating us in the event that we may need to run for cover.
Feeder bands associated with Tropical Depressions and some Tropical Storms are often rain events with light winds and no lightning and offer excellent opportunities at close fish. Adjust the schedule to leave the ramp as a feeder band is passing over and fish the afforded window of opportunity. Exercise caution and good judgment with solid weather information, lightning is a “deal breaker”.
One particular Tropical Storm that hovered over Seadrift for a week lent itself to exactly this strategy. The fish were on a ferocious feeding pattern during this Storm and all I needed was a window of opportunity. I seldom left the ramp at the same time day after day. One day we would get out at break light, the next day it might be 10:00am or whenever the bands passed. On one of these days, we never could get the rain to completely stop. With a client in all the way from Russia, I felt like pushing it on the uncomfortable side was the only option. We left the ramp in a light rain and fished close-in catching around 7 Trout on a slow grind. . . in the rain. I looked up and saw a wall of rain coming across the bay and there was no outrunning it. It drenched us, but passed fairly quickly. I fired the boat up and ran to another reef right smack dab in the middle of the rains that just passed us. The only difference was these fish were on fire and limits came to hand quickly.
What Goes Up, Must Come Down
As water levels begin to diminish, the fish will slowly slide back to a normal water level pattern. You can almost follow them as they adjust to falling water levels. In an event like this, colonies of fish can make a move centering themselves on familiar structure while holding for days on end. One thing is for certain, when you find them, you find them.
August, Big Winds & Big Trout
Year after year, our second shot at big fish comes around some type of storm event with higher than normal tides in August. Trout are coming around for another spawn and both numbers and size will be located over mud/grass. The key factor here is wind and a lot of it. Fishing the shallower grass bays and lakes are seldom an option with little wind during this time period. Wind is the camouflage needed to allow closer approach in these shallower environs and off color water is a needed ingredient. Redfish will be a natural by product in this area while probing for Trout concentrations. That will definitely keep things interesting while searching for Trout. With lighter winds, shell reefs will find Redfish mixing more readily with Trout as they begin to stage up for a Fall push.
September, Transitions On The Horizon
As cool fronts deliver migrating Teal and Dove, waters begin to cool off a little and you can feel a change in the air. Shrimp along with other bait fish begin to leave estuaries and back marsh environments for a move into the bays. Working birds are an indication that this is occurring. While we haven’t had a strong “bird fishery” since before my career started, we did see a big resurgence last Fall. For the first time, I found myself working diving gulls with solid Trout and Redfish keying on Shrimp and Shad. Fishing with artificial lures proved most effective and this is a time when that approach begins to come out of the Summer doldrums. Redfish will be ever present over a variety of structure with fast action and hard hitting runs. Cool fronts are the key to timing the month with the seasonality. No cool fronts, no transition and a summertime pattern continues. We saw this in 2007 as summer bled into September and October with no real Fall transition. 2008, on the other hand, was just about classic. After the big water surge associated with Ike diminished, fishing broke lose and held consistent into late January.
All in all, the Third Quarter can present some weather challenges, but approaching them is what separates success from failure. Getting a handle on tide levels and adjusting the approach are key. As we push through warmer days, staying hydrated is essential while moderating alcohol consumption. If it gets unbearable, fire up the motor and take a run to cool things down.
Come home when you can!
Castaway Lodge, Inc.
109 W. Austin
Seadrift, TX 77983