Summer Shallow Water Fishing Tactics

Summer Shallow Water Fishing Tactics

When and where to go, plus what to throw are questions coastal anglers answer on every outing. 

Story and photography by Danno Wise

As summer heat climbs, most people begin looking to mid-depth and deep water areas in search of fish in Texas bays. While it is true there will be plenty of fish in these areas during the heat of summer, particularly trout, there will still be plenty of fish in the shallows – far more than most anglers realize. Redfish, black drum, flounder and, yes, even speckled trout will be found in less than two feet of water even during the dog days of summer.

However, fishermen wanting to consistently find shallow water success during late summer need to approach things a bit differently than at other times of the year.  For starters, fish behave differently on shallow flats in the summer. Heat makes them lethargic, so retrieves have to be different – slower and more precise. In this instance, it is not all that much different than winter flats fishing. The fish will move to attack a bait, but they won’t go nearly as far as they will during spring or fall. As a result, anglers working in an area that is holding fish need to make repeated casts to thoroughly cover the area and ensure they drug a bait within striking distance of any nearby fish.  

Secondly, the water will be clearer and calmer during late summer. This means smaller, quieter baits in natural or translucent colors will work best in shallow water. Junior-size topwater plugs work well and can be retrieved a pedestrian pace.

As for soft-plastics, downsizing both the body and jig head is key. The smaller body will usually attract more strikes with fish wanting a subtle presentation. Conversely, a lighter head or even unweighted hook will allow the bait to be retrieved much slower without fouling in grass or burying on the bottom.

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