Above all, fish are going to be where the bait is residing. You can have clean, moving water, but if there’s no bait there, there’s no reason for the fish to stay there.
The middle of a wide-open lake might not sound like the textbook place to look for fish, but there’s one this month that holds a lot of redfish, according to Lafitte’s Capt. Lane Zimmer.
“We’re fishing big schools of redfish out in the middle of (Lake Salvador,)” he said. “On a really calm day, you can drive around, and either you’ll see them busting pogies in the water, or you’ll see the wakes.”
The key to catching up with the fish, Zimmer said, is to see which way the redfish are traveling.
“I try to figure out which direction they’re headed and get ahead of them,” Zimmer said. “I let them swim to me.”
Redfish that are fired up feeding on bait aren’t exactly picky eaters. Zimmer and his clients throw spoons and black/chartreuse plastics.
Zimmer noted the size of the fish can range from rat reds all the way up to the bulls.
Schooling fish are extremely hard to predict. Everything has to line up perfectly. Add wind as one of the contingencies, and the numbers of days it’s right is spotty on the calendar.
“(Lake Salvador) can get rough pretty quickly, but usually in July, the winds are slacked down a little bit,” Zimmer said.
When the winds are too strong, or the fickle schooling fish just don’t show up that day, Zimmer said there’s still plenty of fish to be caught in a different area.
“There’s still going to be redfish in the ponds and the grass,” he said.
Locating the grass is an extremely important factor, according to Zimmer.
“The grass filters the water and keeps it really clean,” he said. “The grass is also holding the minnows and crabs that the redfish eat.”
Finding the correct kind of grass is crucial.
“I hate that slime grass,” he said. “I’m looking for hydrilla.”
Once he gets back in the ponds, Zimmer sight fishes the reds, and says a good pair of sunglasses will help out a lot.
“If you’ve got the cheap Walmart glasses, you can forget about it,” he said. “You really need a good set of glasses.”
Zimmer uses the Costa 580 glasses.
When a redfish is seen, Zimmer said it’s critical to make an accurate cast on the fish.
“You have to make sure to lead that fish and throw past him to where you drag the bait right in front of his nose,” he said.