Go to Blue Bayou Water Park on a scorching hot Saturday and you’ll likely be waiting more than an hour to ride the water slide.
That’s because everyone in America has the same idea: Water parks are an ideal way to cool off during the hottest part of summer.
Speckled trout don’t necessarily have a water park to go to, but they do have a thermocline in deep water that allows them to cool off.
And knowing that is key to catching fish this month, Hopedale guide Capt. Britt Ordes said.
“In July, the fish go deep,” Ordes said. “You want to fish oil wells, structures and wrecks on the bottom.”
Over those structures, Ordes uses ½-ounce Carolina-rigs and drop-shots. Attached to his kahle hook, he throws small shrimp rather than the popular end-of-summer baitfish.
“I used to catch a lot of fish on croakers in July, but for some reason, I haven’t caught them on croakers in the past few years,” Ordes said.
The key is the time of day you leave the dock.
“I’m out on the water in the dark and to my spot by daybreak,” Ordes said. “You’re going to catch your fish from daylight to about 10 a.m. After that, it’s going to be to be tough to get on a really good trout bite.”
Water movement also is crucial this time of year.
“Tide is very important during the summer with the heat,” Ordes explained. “Whether it’s tide or wind movement, you want the water to be moving.”
It seems like every summer, live shrimp get more and more expensive. With the delicate crustaceans costing more than 50 cents each at some marinas, a summertime fishing trip can make for a light wallet in a hurry.
Although Ordes never leaves the dock without live shrimp in the summer, he does his best to conserve them when he gets on a good trout bite.
“Once we get them in a feeding frenzy, I’ll switch people over slowly to plastic,” he said. “You still want some guys to fish live bait at first; you don’t want to switch everyone over to plastic at once.”
Another rig Ordes uses is a sliding cork. Many people shy away from them because they take so much time to build, but Ordes said they can be deadly effective — particularly if you hate grabbing the catfish flipper.
“If you fish dead on the bottom, you catch catfish and a lot of trash,” Oredes said. “If you move 2 or 3 feet up in the water column, you’ll catch (mostly) trout.”