«

»

Jun 10 2017

Summer is prime time for Texas sunfish

The two teenage boys had one of the best parts of summer fishing in Texas figured out last Friday morning.

They could have been using the trolling motor on their johnboat to ease parallel to the shoreline of the 60-acre private lake in eastern Montgomery County, chunking topwaters or jigs or plastic worms, or even working crankbaits on the deep-water side of the line of aquatic vegetation and almost certainly connecting now and again with some of the reservoir’s robust largemouth bass.

But they weren’t. They chose to take advantage of one of the most productive, consistent, predictable and just down-right enjoyable opportunities available to freshwater anglers during the early weeks of a Texas summer. They were targeting sunfish. And they had hit the bull’s eye.

Anchored in the middle of a sand/gravel-bottomed flat, they were fast to fish almost as quickly as they could bait their hook with a wriggling piece of night crawler and cast the rig onto the flat where the little orange cork that suspended the bait maybe 3 feet deep would almost immediately bobble and disappear. They had set the hook, and the light spinning rods each used bowed as they reeled in another flapping, hand-size bluegill.

More than a dozen species

Lakes Raven, Fayette County, Purtis Creek, Tyler and Lady Bird can provide outstanding fishing for redear sunfish as the fish, sometimes called "shellcrackers" because of their affinity for aquatic snails, concentrate for their annual spawn. Photo: Shannon Tompkins