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With the enormous amounts of rainfall incurred in June and July in the Texas Hill Country and the coastal plains areas, we are still not completely rid of the resultant freshwater runoff, as significant amounts of freshwater continue to hinder any area that is lacking direct Gulf water fluctuation. But saltwater migration has progressed a bit over this past week, and the area back lakes are no longer the only source of saltwater. Saltwater can now be found directly up against the immediate shorelines. Now there may be many explanations as to why the shorelines are maintaining better salt right now, but here is my own opinion. And that is, when one body of water is forced to empty into a second, and different, body of water through a narrow passage, the water from the first body is driven to a central point along tapered pathways to the second body. As a result, a ventilation effect is formed somewhat like that of an hourglass condition. Examples of this effect in some of our more major bay systems can be found in places where the bays have immediate discharge access to the expanses of larger bodies of water - Espiritu Santo Bay emptying into West Matagorda Bay via Saluria Bayou, West Matagorda Bay emptying into the Gulf via Pass Cavallo and the Matagorda Ship Channel jetties, and even in some minor instances like Mesquite Bay emptying into the Gulf via Cedar Bayou whenever the tides rise to the occasion.

How does this all work? Well, if you turn an hourglass upside-down, you'll note that the centralized portion of the sand mass experiences the majority of the movement, whereas the sand along the outer walls of the glass experience a minimal amount of movement - the sand particles evacuate the upper section of the hourglass into the lower section from the inside-out. This same type of movement is currently occurring at exit points throughout our major bay systems, and is the primary reason behind the immediate shorelines holding the bay's supply of saltier water. I have come to the conclusion that this small stretch of water that runs parallel to the shoreline is protected enough from the winds and fresh water. Let's say these undulating grassy sand bars hold better salinity, and more food to attract big trout. Unlike the skinny water shorelines, the secondary shorelines are subjected to more changes because of their proximity.

With all the rain runoff, the bay system water temperatures have lowered and I have located limits of trout over muddy bottoms in three foot of water. Trout seem to be congregating directly against the shoreline water during the warmer part of the day. Every day is an education out on our area bays, and figuring out the effects of the local weather and winds, the tides, and the recent rainfall accumulations can sometimes make it very difficult to recognize any distinct fishing pattern whatsoever. As of late, I've made special note of the fact that the bay waters continue to hold extreme amounts of fresh water as close as 50-100 yards off of the shorelines, but that the shorelines themselves are holding the salty solution we're normally used to seeing in our bay systems.

The best salinity levels that we've recently happened upon have been in areas near Saluria Bayou located in Espirtu Santo Bay near Port O' Connor. The saltwater is quite obvious on an incoming tide, and you can tell by the difference in the color of the water where the freshwater is located. Large schools of reds are starting to race down the shorelines as well, busting at everything that might get in their way. I look for hard sandy shorelines with grass island patches, and my favorite way to catch these reds is with a small top water lure. And, if you're one who prefers to practice catch and release on these nice fish then replace your lure's treble hooks with straight hooks. This will make pulling the hooks out of the fish's mouth much easier for you, and will lessen the possibility for permanent damage to the fish.

Another fine, but sometimes dismissed, salty water resource can be found on the outer shores along the lengths of Matagorda Island in the surf. We just experienced epic surf fishing with top waters and Corky lures on Monday, July 23rd. Bay Flats Lodge guides Dean Peffer, John Rachunek, and Jason Wagenfehr said "…it was on like no body's business". Again on Tuesday, July 24 several boats from the lodge got limits in the surf and also out on oyster shell in San Antonio Bay, that's right, San Atonio Bay is holding trout on a few area reefs. With the development of the recent hourglass effect, top water action has also heated up near area cuts and drains that lead from the back marsh areas and out into the major bay system. If top waters aren't your style, then stick with your plastics. My parties and I have experienced trout catches to four pounds while throwing the tequila-gold Norton Bull Minnow rigged with an 18-ounce Norton Laser Lock jighead.

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PS-We sure enjoyed having Aubrey from Baffin come visit the lodge and fish with us. If you're looking for a stand up guy, good person and great angler in Baffin Bay, give Aubrey Black a call. http://captblack.homestead.com/


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