Reports & Forecasts: October 2007

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
"Fishing is outstanding on Big Lake and in the surf near the Cameron Jetties right now," Jeff says. "We have been limiting out on trout by mid-morning on most trips lately. As we get farther into fall, the toughest part might be finding a way to stay on the water longer! Usually, October is the beginning of the hot bird working action. We don't usually see too many trout over about four pounds while working the birds, but limits of two and three pounders will be easy. Redfish usually join in the fray a little more consistently this month too." Best action in recent days has been on soft plastics, but Jeff predicts a switch to bigger plugs will be in order once the weather cools down. "We haven't really had much topwater action lately. On some days, you have to drag the worm right near the bottom to get the bites," he says. "But after we get two or three decent fronts, we'll see our topwater bite perk up. We'll also throw a lot of Catch 2000s, Catch Vs and Storm jointed Thundersticks. Anything that runs just below the surface and looks like a baitfish will work."

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
James was on the big pond chasing silver kings when I took his report. In fact, he had a hookup while we were talking, but it was a spinner shark, not the sought after tarpon. "Tarpon fishing's been outstanding. Yesterday, the fleet hooked about twenty. There's been plenty of fish and it's not too hard to catch 'em. We're using artificials most of the time. Average size of the fish is good too; yesterday we had one about 100 and one about 160 pounds." He expects the action on the tarpon to last into October, but he will start trout fishing again too. "Did some trout fishing about a week or so ago when the beachfront got dirty and the tarpon fishing was off. Had easy limits on most trips. We were working slicks and birds in East Bay with small Top Dogs. There are also still fish holding on abandoned well pads in Lower Galveston Bay. Jigs work better on those fish, since they are staging in eight to ten feet of water. The water looks good everywhere except Trinity, which is still pretty fresh from the heavy rains."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
"Fishing is wide open in East Bay lately as long as the weather's decent. You can pretty much locate fish however you want to and catch them however you want to if the winds are light. Birds are working most every day, and the trout under them are typical, mostly small keepers to about three pounds. Again, you can catch them on basically any kind of topwater you want, and the color of the worm doesn't matter much either. Keying on slicks popping over open water reefs has led us to some bigger trout, up to about six pounds. The tide's been high, and the reds are pretty thick in the marsh. Nobody's chasing them either. In fact, since school started, the crowds have been very light. Even on Labor Day, there wasn't much of a crowd on the pond." He predicts that action will only get hotter as the weather cools. "We'll see a shift to more quality trout on the shorelines soon. This bay is so full of fish right now that we should be set up for an impressive run on trout as the fronts cool things down. The redfish action will stay steady in the backwater areas too."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall says the fishing has improved with better water conditions in the San Luis Pass area. "Water was beautiful this morning, as clear as I've seen it in a long time. Fishing wasn't great today, but it has been considerably better most days lately. We caught some trout this morning rattling topwaters over shell in about five feet of water. Best bite is still real early. By ten o'clock, the action slows to a crawl in the heat. We did scratch out some reds by tickling soft plastics off the shell later in the day. This is a typical pattern that will last through October, topwaters early over the shell, tickling the shell with the Sand Eels later. I've still been catching them on Red Magic. Salty chicken is a killer too. Birds will be the biggest thing to key on in October. Usually, by the middle of the month, we will have had a couple of good fronts and the water temperature and level will begin to drop. This will bring all kinds of activity to the Pass area." He mentions catching schooling trout that were herding ribbonfish one day recently. To quote Billy Sandifer, "What a hoot!"

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service | 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
"October is usually the start of our bird working action," Tommy says. "With all the shrimp we are seeing in the bays right now, it should be a good year for that. Of course, East Bay is typically where people head for quality fish under birds in the fall, but West Bay can have good trout under the birds too. Last year in particular, we did better in West Bay because of the crowds in East Bay." When not fishing birds in both bays, Tommy expects to drift and wade mid-bay reefs in East Bay for trout. "I'll throw topwaters when wading early, then switch to Corkies and soft plastics as the sun gets up." When drifting, he prefers soft plastics, especially limetreuse, margarita and other bright colors. "Expect to find a few redfish under the birds too. But in order to target the reds, we like to look for them in some really shallow areas along the shorelines. We'll run along until we find a big group, then try to get ahead of them and throw topwaters in front of them. It's some of the most fun fishing of the year when it's right."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
What a difference a month makes. Strong tides from Hurricane Dean brought in beautiful water to the Palacios area and fishing has been on fire. Schools of redfish have been located in several area bays roaming shorelines and feeding heavily on the white shrimp. Pearl/chartreuse Bull Minnows and pearl Berkeley Gulp shrimp have been the most productive lures for those working the herds. Trout have been schooling under birds around Oliver's Point and have been easy pickings on pumpkinseed/chartreuse Bull Minnows and plum/chartreuse Assassins. Flounder have also shown up as of late with some up to four pounds being gigged on area shorelines. The influx of clean water has also brought about good fishing at night on the local piers. First St. pier has been holding keeper trout as have the rock groins on South Bay. Texas Trout Killer spec rigs in glow/pink and glow/chartreuse have been best under the bulbs. For hot fishing throughout the fall, look for working birds and there you should find action on both trout and redfish.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
"Port O'Connor area anglers have seen some hot fishing in recent weeks," reports Lynn. "Redfish are already schooled up on the flats and they aren't too hard to locate. There is action in the surf on trout on calm days, birds working in the bays and other trout coming off the flats near Pass Cavallo, over shell reefs and along shorelines in the back bays." He expects to focus mostly on redfish in October. "We'll be trying to stay with the herds that are roaming the flats. Topwater action on these fish is some of the most exciting of the year. I stick with small plugs like the Spook Jrs., mostly in bone and blue/chrome. The reds have an easier time getting them in their mouths, so you don't miss as many after they blow up. The trout will be a little trickier to locate and catch. We don't do much in the surf in OCtober. A better bet is to work shoreline guts with a little softer bottom and some scattered grass. Soft plastics will catch more of the trout. I like a red flash Bass Assassin, and of course the plum/chartreuse too."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
"I've been focusing on the bays in the southern portion of my area lately," Blake says. "The water over in Aransas and Corpus Bays is saltier and cleaner, and the fish are easier to catch. There are some fish in the brackish water, but they are harder to catch. Best bite lately has been on soft plastics, mostly the old standby purple/chartreuse Sand Eel. I haven't been throwing my topwaters much, but when I have, the bite has been pretty slow. I'm still fishing primarily sand and grass, a little bit of shell. One of the areas I'd like to fish in Mesquite is home to a pesky bull alligator who's been acting too aggressive for my taste. Anyone wading over there needs to keep an eye out for him. He's hard to miss, since he's well over ten feet long!" In October, Blake plans to keep fishing sand and grass, probably in the same bays, with a little more focus on shell and mud later in the month. "Topwater action should heat up a little once we get some fronts to cool the water down. I'll keep tying on my Super Spooks and checking it."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
High tides can be a real issue during October on Padre Island National Seashore, so it is essential to check tide levels when planning trips. The influence of sargassum will be sporadic, but usually will allow for fishing in most locations. Trips should also be planned to avoid incoming cold fronts. Typically, the best conditions on the beach happen the second day behind a frontal passage. Exceptional fishing for a wide variety of species is possible this month, with some tarpon, lots of jumbo jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel, occasional king mackerel, ladyfish and both slot and oversized redfish being available. The annual fall finger mullet migration will be in full swing and they will be the most effective baits, either live or fresh dead. Sharks are readily available and can be found very close to shore, often in the second and third guts out from the sand. To find beach-cruising sharks, watch for the areas which have the highest levels of bird activity and the largest shoals of migrating finger mullet.

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
It seemed like we were done with the rainfall, but mother nature decided that we had not had enough, so we received more rain. I think that eventually the Laguna Madre will see the benefits from all the rain we've had during the last couple of months. In the mean time, the salinity levels are very low, the Brown Tide is in full bloom, and the water clarity is poor in most of Baffin Bay and much of the Laguna Madre. Where the brown tide persists, the fishing is tough! On days when I've fished the southern end of the Upper Laguna, I've had to fish with live bait, due to the poor water clarity, and while the numbers of trout are low, some of the trout have reached twenty eight inches, with a few redfish mixed in. The water clarity in the northern part of the Laguna Madre is in a little better shape. Drifting in two to three feet of water over scattered potholes with half ounce weedless spoons has been working well for redfish and trout. Natural colored Exude RT Slugs and Bass Assassin Blurps rigged on eighth ounce jig heads have also produced fish.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | | 361.937.5961
"Redfish have been pretty easy to find and catch lately, compared with the trout. I had a guy today that hadn't been fishing in twenty years, and we caught a bunch of reds." Main strategy is to locate the herds by watching for them to create a disturbance on the surface when the boat gets near enough to spook them. Then approach quietly with a trolling motor to avoid breaking up the fish or causing them to sound. "We are catching them easily once we find them, throwing a lot of spoons and soft plastics. Spoons work good because you can bring them over the schools and catch one without disrupting the entire school. Sometimes, it seems that topwaters will work, but they cause a bigger disturbance in the school and it will take more time for them to get back into a biting mood. October will be a good month to continue looking for the roaming herds. The water is in decent shape from the King Ranch all the way to Shamrock and East Flats, and all those areas are great for concentrating big schools of reds as they migrate toward the Gulf."

Port Mansfield | Bruce & Brandon Shuler
GetAway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000
Bruce has been offshore as much as possible in recent months and says that the fishing for king mackerel, red snapper, tarpon and dorado is as good as he can remember. "This has been an incredible year offshore around here. We are catching a bunch of our fish on lures too. We'll continue to venture onto the big pond as much as we can in October. The run of pelagic fish can last well into the fall down here if it doesn't get too cold too early." Inshore, brown tide and floating grass are making fishing tough. "With the exception of the area around the East Pass, the water is dingy. We are having our best luck on incoming tides fishing the influx of clear water. As we get into October, we will look to continue hunting the herds of redfish that are already bunched up along the shorelines near the pass. We like to throw small topwaters at 'em, mostly Spook Jrs.. In fact, for all kinds of fish, October is a great topwater month down here. It will be topwaters, topwaters and more topwaters. I like bone and white/chartreuse ones best."

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
That nasty brown tide has cooled the action on the west side, inundating everything, from the shrimp farm at Holly Beach north to Stover's or south all the way to Laguna Vista depending on the wind and tides. We're walking the boats into tailing reds running 18" to 27" when there's no wind, making it easy to limit out, throwing either TTF half ounce gold weedless spoons or small topwaters like Spook Jrs. or Top Pups in chartreuse or red/white. We're also hitting small herds that are holding oversize and tournament winning keepers. Specks and reds both are eating the glow Gulp three inch shrimp under a Mansfield Mauler in deeper holes mid-morning on Gas Well Flats and south of the drum boats. A recent excursion offshore produced loads of tasty chicken dolphin that were schooling under rafts of grass being swept south by the current at the Whistling Buoy. Freddy says, "October is a time of year when expectations increase to a new level we catch more fish in higher water with less boat traffic and, oh yeah, Halloween means flounder."