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NICE CATCH

Summer Breeze

Too hot for fishing in Texas? Never!

By Corey Clouse with Art Morris and Randy Brudnicki


No question, summer gets hot, but the fish are biting somewhere. Discomfort and increased boat traffic can ruin a great fishing trip. Beat the heat by fishing early in the morning or at night, fishing on the beach to feel the cool offshore breeze or finding some shade to fish. Here are our picks for this summer.

LAKE TEXOMA: NIGHTTIME SMALLMOUTH BASS

Smallmouth bass fishing can slow down as the water temperatures get higher during late summer. With the spawn long since over, the fish have moved offshore to deeper structure to escape the heat and sunshine; they can be tough to find and persuade to bite.

An option for a pretty solid smallmouth trip is night fishing at Texoma. The fish will move shallow at night to feed on crayfish and shad. Smallmouth bass (like most fish) can locate their prey in low light conditions by sensing vibrations in the water using specialized cells within their lateral line.

Even though Texoma is big (74,686 acres), you can narrow your search to a few key areas of the lake that contain rocky banks and points. Fishing from the dam to Grandpappy Point is a favorite area; some good rocky sections can be found above the railroad bridge in the Washita arm.

Keep in mind that Lake Texoma is a border lake with Oklahoma and some areas will require an Oklahoma fishing license or a Lake Texoma license.

Techniques are pretty straightforward and don’t require a tool chest of tackle. A few spinner baits and crankbaits are all you really need, but you should keep a top-water lure handy for a little variety. Spinner baits should be simple — just a single Colorado blade with dark-colored skirt — or use shallow-diving (4–6 feet), shad-colored crankbaits. Fish these baits close to large rocks near the main lake and secondary points, and in marinas around docks with lights. The fish’s bite can be very aggressive, and fish often destroy spinner baits, so have plenty of extras. CC

Photo by Chase Fountain / TPWD

PADRE ISLAND NATIONAL SEASHORE • SHARKS

Hit the beach during the hot Texas summer. Include a little shark fishing in the Padre Island surf and you’ll have the Texas version of the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. Catch-and-release is encouraged with sharks. You can find big adventure visiting the land of giants — numerous species of sharks are caught and released from Padre Island every year. Hiring a guide is the best way to target sharks here, but for anglers who want to test their own abilities there are more than 65 miles of primeval surf ripe for the taking. AM

Photo by Earl Nottingham / TPWD

CADDO LAKE • BASS

Spanish moss-draped cypress trees shade the water and the fishermen. It’s still hot, but fishing in the shade feels so much better. Tossing a variety of lures around the trees can be very productive. So, too, is pitching soft plastics down into the trees’ “knees” that extend away from the trunk. It is a great place for scenery and fishing. However, even though fishing under bigger clumps of trees is more comfortable, you may find bigger fish around the isolated trees. RB

Photo by Larry D. Hodge / TPWD

RICHLAND CHAMBERS • CRAPPIE, WHITE BASS & HYBRIDS

Richland Chambers provides a variety of key species (if you can’t find one, change tactics and go for another). Try crappie fishing early in the morning around deep timber and bridges. The usual crappie fare of minnows and crappie jigs works here. Another option is early morning white bass action using top-water lures. Follow the birds to find schooling activity. Once the crappie and white bass fishing slows, move to deeper water. Using your boat’s electronic mapping features, find humps and dropoffs and graph for schools of bait and hybrid stripers. Try a type of jigging spoon called a slab. Concentrate on areas from the U.S. Highway 287 bridge to the dam for big, hard-fighting hybrid stripers. RB

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