Reports & Forecasts: Oct 2011

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
This is the month for catching large numbers of speckled trout. Birds will give away the location of the fish throughout October; the wise will keep their eyes on the horizon. Our school trout are much larger than they have been in recent years. Stopping near a group of birds may produce a box full of three or four pound trout. There will be days when birds will be picking as far as the eye can see. All signs point toward one of the best falls in a long time. Always remember when approaching birds, get on the upwind side and shut the big motor down at least 150 yards away. Approach them slowly with your trolling motor and give them time to let you know which way they are moving. Whichever way they are moving will dictate which way to turn the boat. Remember, 99% of the time, trout move against the tide when feeding. Work the shoreline along the east side of Calcasieu. Birds working there will usually be over trout and reds mixed. The big bull reds should still be schooling in the middle of the lake.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
The tarpon season was in full swing when James made this report, and the high-flying action should continue into the middle of October. I think we caught our last tarpon on the 17th of October last year. It's been good; we've seen a ton of silver kings, jumped a bunch and caught our share too. Trout fishing has been steady, with the same old summer patterns producing as of right now. Were still targeting deep structures along the channel for the most part, using Bass Assassin Sea Shads in LSU and white/chartreuse. As we get some cooler weather, Trinity Bay should go off real good. There should be birds working over there in good numbers. Keying on slicks should be pretty easy when the birds aren't picking. And fishing East Bay should be similar, with more fish moving up a little shallower than they are right now in this heat. If it stays this dry, the end of West Bay near San Luis Pass will probably be better than the other end around Greens Cut. In drought years in the past, that's normally been the case.

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Jim is splitting time between the field and the pond right now, as he always is in the autumn of the year. I'll be dove hunting quite a bit. We had a good opener, and then got some rain associated with the tropical storm and the action slowed a bit. But it will pick back up. I'm anticipating good shooting on most days. We've got plenty of birds. The fishing is in a transition phase right now, and a good one at that. Normally, in October, the potential to catch fish by wading becomes better. There are more fish up shallow to work with. We've had a good topwater bite lately on some of the calmer days, and this should continue on into the cooler weather. October is usually good for fishing with floating plugs. Of course, like in any other month, the weather is the key to the best fishing. If it's calmer, we'll have more options. On many days this month, we can catch 'em how we want, out in the middle around birds and slicks or by wading. If it gets too windy to work the open water, we will be forced to wade the shorelines.

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall was steering his JH Performance Craft in the near shore waters when we talked, trying to position it in front of a group of rolling tarpon. We might have a chance at some more good tarpon and light offshore fishing well into October this year if it's calmer than normal. As far as the bay fishing goes, I'm seeing signs of improvement already and looking forward to a strong fall run. This little cool snap has really dropped the water temperatures in a hurry, and I'm seeing lots of shrimp and bait on the move. Bait migrations mean working birds. We should have plenty of birds to key on in October. I like to take advantage of that whenever I can. When the birds aren't working, I tend to stay in depths about four or five feet and key on slicks and rafted bait. This is usually a good month to catch fish on top. We'll give the Skitterwalks and other floaters a try on most days. If they are working, catching the fish is a real hoot; if they aren't, we'll try some Paul Browns Original Lures too, and of course, we always keep the Sand Eels on standby!

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service |
979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
With cooling weather, Tommy expects improved action with all three of the primary species in the Matagorda area in October. Normally, October is the kick-off month for steady bird activity. Mostly, we catch trout under the birds in East Bay. The action can happen anywhere, so mobile anglers who maintain a sharp lookout will do best. We do catch some reds under the flocks in East Bay too. When I'm fishing East Bay and no birds are working, I like to stay over deep shell. In West Bay, it's kind of opposite in a way. Much of the action moves shallower this month. I like to throw at the grass beds close to the bank, using topwaters early, then switching over to dark soft plastics on eighth ounce heads once the sun gets up and/or the bite slows. We do find some birds working really over the shallows at times in West Bay and catch some nice trout under those. Another great option this month is bottom-bumping soft plastics around small shoreline reefs for flounder. Seems the new regs have brought the flatfish numbers up nicely.

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Fishing in September was as good as it gets! The surf, wells and flats were producing, drifting scattered shell was paying off, and birds were working in our bay system. The last month has pretty much been the best I can remember in recent years. Redfish schooled up earlier than usual, and were abundant in big numbers. We have been consistently finding pods of 40-60 fish and hope to stay with them through most of this month. I hate to say you could throw anything to catch them, but truly it doesn't matter much. Small topwaters, gold spoons or paddletails all work about equally well. The surf has been on fire also, with lots of solid trout up to 22 inches, caught mostly on SheDogs with any chrome on them and chartreuse Paul Browns Original Lures. The bird activity was steady as well and should remain that way through October, with lots of keeper trout mixed in with a few more small ones. Best bet is to use heavier jigheads to get below the dinks to the bigger fish. Old reliable pearl/chartreuse has been the best color for soft plastics.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn hopes to scratch out a few more trips in the surf in October, as well as explore some other more-established options. This has been a weird weather year all along, and it's been extra hot now for a long time, so I think the surf might stay productive a little later than in some years. I plan on trying it if the wind stays light. Of course, I'll also be wading close to area shorelines and targeting grass and sandy pockets along the bank. It's not quite as important to stay close to deep water once we start having cooler weather and water temperatures. October is a great month for topwaters in most years, so I'll be giving those a good look most every time out. In fact, here lately, the bite on them has been good. We've been drifting the back lake areas and staying in the boat, catching plenty of both trout and redfish. That plan is normally a good one in October too, since we generally have high tides and moderate water temperatures. Those are two things that usually make fishing the back lake areas productive.

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894

Like many outdoor enthusiasts and experts, Blake will be splitting time between the dove fields and the coastal marshes this month. Right now, I've got several fields full of doves. The hunting is off to a good start and should remain that way. There's enough grain growing in the areas I'm hunting to keep the birds interested. The fishing has been good this summer, and should improve with the cooler weather. I'll be wading shorelines in area bays like St. Charles, San Antonio, Aransas and Mesquite, fishing shallow, in depths from about knee to crotch-deep. I like to throw topwaters a lot this time of year; they normally work well on both the trout and redfish. It's not uncommon to find schools of both along the shorelines in the fall. Mostly, I key on sand and grass, but I also fish the shell some too. And I've always got my eye out for birds working up shallow. Usually, they will lead us to pods of reds cruising the shallows, but every now and then, we find some quality trout under them too. It's a great time to be outdoors!

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The weather might be cooling off but the fishing and catching should not. The water temperatures will be cooling a bit, but not enough to send the fish into deep water. In fact, the fish will probably move shallower as the water cools. There will be an aggressive trout spawn, which translates into heavier weights and more aggressive feeding. Many of the trout are already showing signs of preparing for the spawn, as many are carrying loaded egg sacks. I'll be using topwaters like bone colored MirrOlure SheDogs, as well as Bass Assassin Die Dappers in colors like plum/chartreuse and pumpkinseed/chartreuse, or live piggy perch. The redfish will continue to run in schools, and these should be easy to find on calm mornings while running slow in water less than three feet deep, looking for them to wake up when they hear the outboard getting close to them. Casting half-ounce gold weedless spoons or quarter-ounce jigheads rigged with bright colored Bass Assassins will be the best way to catch the schooled reds.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
Most of the summer, Joe was having luck finding schooling reds on the flats of the Upper Laguna Madre, but he's seen a change already happening in response to rising tides associated with tropical weather systems and the coming of the equinox. Once the tide moved in real high, I stopped seeing the reds on the flats as much. Lots of people think a high tide will move fish shallow, but I run around up there a lot and have for years, and I don't agree. I think this time of year the reds prefer deeper water. Seems like they use the ICW to begin their yearly migrations. I'll be fishing along the ditch quite a bit in October, throwing soft plastics at the edge some and also looking for small schools, singles and tailing fish along the shallow sand bars next to the channel. If the tide stays high, the schools will often show up shallow again, especially in the flats around the bridge. The schools that are heading out to the Gulf will congregate in this area, and lots of times its possible to find some big herds before they leave.

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
Wonderful fishing should be available throughout the month of October. There are two enemies to an October trip the fall equinox tide and passage of cold fronts. Check your tide schedules before going on a trip; if the weather forecast says a cold front is arriving during the time frame of your trip you should reschedule rather than spend the entire trip being sandblasted while sitting in your truck. Cut bait, dead shrimp, and Fishbites will produce oversized and slot reds. Large schools of jack crevalle will be running at the waters edge on reasonably calm mornings and will hit almost any topwater or spoon. Brown pelicans diving and swirling will let you know where the jack crevalle are even before you reach them. Sharks are often in good supply and will come into very shallow water. Pompano fishing will start but get better later in November and December. Large Spanish mackerel will be common as will stray king mackerel. It varies from year to year but good numbers of adult tarpon may be migrating through the area.

Port Mansfield | Terry Neal | 956.944.2559
We had a 99 norther blow in over the Labor Day weekend and it seemed very strange indeed for north wind to blow so warm. The good part was the humidity went down making the weather more pleasant and as the front passed we found exceptional topwater action. Large schools of big redfish have been roaming around Duncans and Three Islands and the conditions continue to be favorable for some classic fall fishing. The flounder fishing has been unbelievable. Everybody is amazed at the numbers being caught from nearly anywhere you care to fish in the Lower Laguna Madre. Picking up several per wade is not uncommon at this time. The secret to putting a flounder on the stringer is to work your bait on or near the bottom and slowly. Offshore fishing should continue to produce some good tarpon around the Mansfield Jetties. October and November always bring us great weather and excellent fishing. Watch the forecast so you do not get caught out in a fast-arriving norther. Keep only what you will eat fresh and release the rest.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
It seems like every September we remember why we love living in the Rio Grande Valley... limits of redfish and whitewing doves on the same day! With summer ending, were beginning to see a drop in boat traffic on weekends. We've also had higher tides, probably helped by a tropical storm in the Gulf. Although were limiting on reds easily, with at least a flounder a day, north winds have scattered the trout, and the ones were catching are skinny and underfed. Freddy says, We're trying out some new jigheads from a tackle company called Logic Lures. We rigged one of the quarter ounce Wiggly Jigglys with a Berkley Gulp! three inch glow shrimp under a Cajun Thunder round cork, inserted the Google Eyez clip and tossed it into a herd. The cork came back totally mangled with teeth punctures, and the bait was being fought over by four reds, never to be seen again! We're definitely calling Jim for another sample; check with us next month for more info. It looks like another excellent fall for fishing and for dove hunting as well!