Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   




Survive the Swelter

Hot summer fishing trips and tips


Red snapper are the most sought-after offshore fish. Find them on reefs, rigs and rocks along the entire Texas coast.

Adult red snapper prefer deep-water habitat (30 to 40 feet or deeper), where they feed on crab, squid, shrimp and small fish. Squid is one of the most popular bait choices.

On the upper coast near the Louisiana border, you’ll have to go out 30 miles or more to find water deep enough for red snapper. It’s a different story from the mid-coast southward. In many areas, you can be in 40 feet of water just a few miles from shore.

The rocks north and east of the Port Mansfield jetties in both state and federal waters are good places to try. Although popularity means they’re busy at times, the fishing is good year-round. Of course, that is only one area to go.

What if you don’t have the right boat or equipment for snapper fishing? The best option is to hire charter captains. You’ll think it’s worth the money when you sit down to that meal of fresh-caught red snapper.

The private recreational angler red snapper season opened June 1 — for a projected 63-day season in federal waters. Red snapper fishing is open year-round in state waters.

Note: Bag limits are two fish per person daily with a 16-inch minimum size limit in federal waters, and four fish per person daily with a 15-inch minimum in state waters.

 JPhotographer29 | dreamstime.com


Largemouth bass are dispersed throughout this 15,500-acre lake, about 75 miles west of Fort Worth.

Nearly all the common bass lures work. Possum Kingdom water is clear in some areas, especially around the lower end’s rocky cliffs and bluffs. You may need light line; try fishing 25-plus feet deep there.

Of course, fishing near wooded cover may necessitate heavier line… if you are fortunate enough to hook a big fish.

Numerous docks provide cover for fish. Standing timber and laydowns are more common on the upper reaches; however, brush piles and artificial fish attractors have been placed all around the reservoir. Sometimes, there’s aquatic vegetation as well.

“Possum Kingdom is a good year-round bass fishery, with night fishing best during the hot summer months,” TPWD biologist Robert Mauk says.

Effective night fishing may require some advance daytime scouting to assure safe navigation after dark. Often, docks have lights at night that attract bait fish, which then bring in the predatory bass.

 Earl Nottingham / TPWD


This 2,000-acre reservoir east of Waco is a decent bass fishery, but it’s now becoming a well-developed channel catfish hot spot. Summer is prime catfish catching season.

“This reservoir does not have any blue catfish, and the channels get quite large,” TPWD biologist John Tibbs says. “There are several main lake points that reach far out into the reservoir as well as lots of access along the south shore for bank anglers. Fish with the bait of your choosing, either stationary on shore, in a boat or drifting across the flats and points.”

 Courtesy of Elm Creek Marina


It’s amazing what a little water can do. O.H. Ivie lake’s water level is about 30 feet higher than two years ago, and fishing has really improved. Anglers have caught some big bass during a resurgence that began late last summer.

The tributaries of the Concho and Colorado rivers feed this 19,000-acre reservoir. Generally, you’ll find the Concho water is clearer than the Colorado’s, if you venture up-lake.

In the summer, as the water warms, the fish move toward the main lake and dam areas. However, you can catch largemouth bass some early mornings in shallow water because they’re chasing shad — watch for spawning shad around shallow cover (but near deep water).

During the heat of the day, target humps and channels in deep water. A Carolina rig’s a very effective method to fish deep. Don’t forget to try deep-diving crank baits over the humps and near the dam. (Elm Creek Marina is a good launch point for access to the dam area.)

White bass are schooling around shad, too, in the flats over 10 to 30 feet of water.

“You’ll notice the shad and whites on a calm morning when the lake is slick,” says Ivie guide Wes Lowe. “When you see this, you can take a rattle trap, or just about any kind of lure, and throw it in the middle of the schooling fish to catch them.”

Trolling is another method anglers use to target white bass.

“In the heat of the summer the lake really comes alive after dark — O.H. Ivie is a wonderful lake for night fishing,” Lowe says. “White bass can be targeted on flats out on the main lake fishing under lights [anglers carry green LED lights to hang overboard]. If you see bait on your depth finder, you will catch fish by getting the shad to come up to the lights.”

Use fresh-caught shad as bait.

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