July bream action is heating up. The Daily Review Outdoor Writer John K. Flores' wife, Christine, holds their July 4th weekend catch. (Submitted Photo/Courtesy of John K. Flores)
With the Dog Days of Summer comes some hot action
Ahh, July! It’s normally a brutally hot month, with periodic p.m. showers and sticky humidity. But, oh how the fish like to bite – both fresh and saltwater fish.
This past weekend, with the Atchafalaya River starting to fall precipitously from where it was a few weeks back, some great freshwater action has turned on. Basically, with the water now at around 4.2’, the fish have to come out of the woods.
Mrs. Flores and I made two trips up into the basin over the long 4th of July weekend and mopped up on bream, predominately chinquapins. For those Yankees out there, that’s Cajun vernacular for redear sunfish.
Plus, they’re not hard to catch. All it takes is a few crickets and worms. OK, that’s not totally true. Plan on bringing lots of crickets and worms, because the fish are hungry.
Rigging for bream is not complicated. My personal gear includes a Thill premium balsa float, No. 4 Mustad, with a split shot attached 10 to 12 inches above the hook. I prefer the balsa float because of its sensitivity.
Bream don’t always strike hard, particularly bluegills, who sort of suck in their food and hold it in their mouth.
I’ve caught palm-size bluegills without seeing so much as doppler ring only to find out they swallowed my bait when I checked my line.
Someone else who decided to get in on some of the hot action this past weekend was Hunter Andras. Andras is owner/operator of Duk Nutz Decoy Anchors and also president of ABL Fabricators in Amelia.
After not having a weekend off in a month, he was ready to get on the water in a big way. Andras called up one of his buddies with an invitation to catch every species of gamefish south of U.S. 90.
After spending the night at his camp below Bayou Black, Andras and Lindley decided to fish bass first. Andras said, “With the river falling quickly, the bass are schooling up right now, especially on points and cuts. I’m
still finding crawfish in their stomach content, so my go-to plastics that I’ve been using must have red in them. We caught our limits early and after doing some catch and release for about 30 minutes, throwing swim baits, we headed south to the coast.
Like most successful anglers, Andras is someone who watches and follows the tidal charts. In the marsh, the two fishermen found the water extremely muddy from all of the recent storms the region has experienced during much of the month of June.
While fishing over an oyster bed, they found the redfish finicky and not wanting to bite artificial baits. Not to be denied, Andras had a few finger mullets in his live well. “It was some live water action,” Andras said laughing. “I free-lined those mullets and the schooled-up redfish absolutely destroyed them on that oyster bed. My buddy used some Berkley Gulp under a popping cork and was able to pull a couple reds off of the oyster bed too, along with some puppy drum.”
Along the coast, Andras also saw sea gulls chasing shrimp at the mouth of a bayou he was fishing. The speckled trout ran small and Andras estimated they threw back somewhere between 60 and 70. What’s more, they were only able to keep maybe one out of every eight trout they caught because they didn’t make the legal 12-inch minimum length. Andras and Lindley caught largemouth bass, redfish, blue catfish, speckled trout and a sheephead on their south of U.S. 90 coastal excursion – a testament of what can be caught during the month of July and throughout the summer.
As July gets underway, it looks as though locally, we will be in the normal summer pattern with temperatures pushing into the high 80s and low 90s, with scattered afternoon thundershowers. But, that shouldn’t dissuade anglers from getting on the water.
Instead, they should pay close attention to the tides. Coastal fishing can be stellar on a falling tide. Additionally, with the Atchafalaya River falling to normal levels, saltwater pushes up into the bays and estuaries locally, moving saltwater game fish into the surrounding marshes.
Also, don’t underestimate freshwater fishing during the summer months. Coastal bass school up like wolf packs and are aggressive eaters. Bream and sac-alait action can be really good as well, particularly the morning and late evening bite.
With the dog days of summer comes some hot fishing opportunities. All you have to do is get out of the air conditioning…
EDITOR’S NOTE: Flores is The Daily Review’s Outdoor Writer. If you wish to make a comment or have an anecdote, recipe or story you wish to share, you can contact Flores at 985-3955586 or at gowiththeflo@ cox.net. or visit his F a c e b o o k p a g e , Gowiththeflo Outdoors.