Reports & Forecasts: October 2008

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
October is one of our favorite times of the year to fish. With all the rain we've had in the area lately, look for fish to be farther south in the lake where the water stays saltier for longer due to the influence of the Gulf. Despite the rain, we expect the fish to be very plentiful in Big Lake throughout the fall months. The first few fronts of the year should cool us down enough to make the birds start picking over schooling trout. As everyone knows, when the birds start picking, the fishing gets pretty easy. Hurricane season is now in full swing, though it will be winding down at the time of this report. We had to hold our breath for Gustav, but we thankfully didn't have an impact here. Now Ike is entering the Gulf, and the fishing is amazing. The last week has rendered
easy limits of trout. If we can dodge this storm, the fishing does not look like it will slow down anytime soon.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
"Tarpon fishing is great when we can get at 'em," James reports. "We've had a pretty good sized fleet out for the last eight or ten days and have jumped over one hundred and fifty fish. It's been a blast. That will be winding down as we get into October. Trout fishing has been inconsistent, though it's good when winds are light. We are still targeting shell in East Bay primarily, fishing deep well pads a little too. As we get into October, there will be more and more options available. There should be birds working in East and Trinity Bays, especially the east shore of Trinity and around Smith Point. Popping slicks will lead us to the fish too. Best lures will be dark Assassins like red shad and small topwaters like bone Spook Jrs. We'll also throw She Dogs in chrome/chartreuse when it's windier. When wading, I love the Flutter Jig by H&H. It's a great tool for working soft plastics over shallow shell."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
"We have had some really easy days fishing out in the middle. Especially before the last hurricane, it was on fire. Drifting shell reefs and keying on slicks and birds has still been the drill out there. The trout haven't been that big, with most fish running in the pound and a half to three pound range. We are seeing the occasional four or five pounder too. The whole of East Bay has been good, with a concentration of birds and fish around Smith Point." It's almost time for wadefishing to improve, Jim says. "In October, we should see some better trout on the shorelines. The exact location of the action will depend on where Ike makes landfall. If we get a bunch more rain in Chambers County, it might wipe out the east end of East Bay. If that happens, the best fishing will be along the south shoreline, close to the ICW." Currently, Jim is also running a lot of dove hunting trips, in both the south and north zones, and reports fair to good luck.

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
"Fishing has been steady in this part of the world, lately," Randall says. "I love my job. I'm one of the only people I know who doesn't need an alarm clock." Despite marginal water conditions, the catching is good. "Water's a little murky in most areas most of the time, but the bite is fine. The chartreuse Skitterwalk has been the best topwater, and when the wind gets up and the fish stop hitting that, we have been switching over the the large salt and pepper Sand Eels to keep them biting. The surf is good early if you are willing to take a boat ride. The Brazos river has it messed up for miles, but where it's green the fishing is stupid easy. Redfish are available really shallow for those willing to work a little and wade for them. This should stay true throughout the fall. I expect the fall to be great around here. We have tons of little shrimp in the bays right now. Eventually, the migrations and cool fronts will kick in some fantastic action."

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service | 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
Tommy mentions numerous options for October fishing in the Matagorda area. "We should have some bird action in both bays. The fish are usually bigger in East Bay under the birds. Those looking to cull a better box under West Bay flocks should try topwaters primarily, and stick to the periphery of the schools. The bigger trout are often at the edges of the action. Slicks over shell in open water will give away the presence of fish this time of year. On calm mornings, wading mid-bay reefs in East Bay with topwaters is productive. Of course, October is a great month to wade West Bay shorelines too. We'll have lots of shallow reds smacking topwaters. The shallow lakes of the intracoastal can be a blast too. Lots of reds on top in there, with the occasional big trout as a bonus. You just can't beat October," he says. "What could be better than catching shallow schooling fish on topwaters with ducks whizzing overhead?"

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Unbelievable is a good word to describe this past month's fishing. Tarpon, kingfish, jacks, bull reds and ling have been nearshore around the POC jetties. Inshore trout and reds have been very plentiful. Trout have been stacked up on the wells in about twelve to fourteen feet of water, hitting anything with glow on it. Quarter ounce leadheads jigged over the deep shell has been the ticket. Redfish are starting to school up on area shorelines chasing brown shrimp and have been easy pickings. Pumpkinseed/chartreuse tails and small chrome topwaters have been the go to lures. The best part of this past month has been the action around the POC jetties (about a twenty mile run from Palacios). I have never seen the water so pretty and have never seen so many offshore species; it's neat stuff. I expect next month the bird activity to really take off. South and East bays should have some quality trout under the birds.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn was preparing to run from Ike when we spoke. "If we don't get slammed too hard by the storm, the fishing sets up good for October. We have been catching decent fish on most recent outings, both trout and reds. Of course, they've been coming mostly off the edges of flats adjacent to deep water, but as the weather cools in October, there should be more and more fish up shallow. I'll be looking to target shallow sandy and grassy flats on area shorelines, throwing mostly topwaters early, then switching to soft plastics by mid-morning. If water temperatures moderate, I'll bring out the Corkies a lot too. If the tides are high, I'll venture to shorelines down south, like those in Mesquite and Ayers Bays. If the tides are lower, I'll focus more on deep guts in and around reefs, like those in San Antonio Bay, with an emphasis on guts in which there is an abundance of scattered shell."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
"I'll be sticking with pretty much the same plan in October as I have been in September. I'll be fishing with a combination of bait and lures in September, almost exclusively lures in October. Shallow sand and grass shorelines in bays like Mesquite, San Antonio and Aransas will be key areas. I like to use topwaters more and more of the time as the water cools down. Of course, the Norton Sand Eels will always be at the ready, in the purple/chartreuse and pearl/chartreuse color patterns." He mentions that bait migration patterns affect fish location in the fall. "I'll be fishing in the vicinity of the drains leading into the marsh lakes a lot. There will be plenty of shrimp and small baitfish in the marshes while the equinox tides are high. Once the tides start falling, the bait will start moving out and the predators will stack up around the passages from the bays to the back lakes. Then the fishing typically gets easy."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
October is indeed the time of harvest in the surf of Padre Island. The finger mullet migration will be in full swing and typically mullet will be present in a non-ending line from one end of the beach to the other. Dusky anchovies may also be present. Target diving birds and the areas with the most baitfish resting in inside guts for tarpon, schools of 15 to 25 lb. jack crevalle, slot and oversized redfish, Spanish mackerel, Atlantic bluefish, untold numbers of large ladyfish (skipjacks) and blacktipped and bull sharks. Live and cut mullet will produce lots of bites as will a variety of artificials; including topwaters. Sharks can be taken as readily on baits cast from shore as on kayaked baits. Florida pompano and large whiting will be present in good numbers and available to bottom fishermen using peeled, fresh-dead shrimp and Fishbites. Green or pink Fishbites seem to be the favorite. The first part of the month often brings some of the highest tides of the year; it is therefore wise to travel during low tide periods.

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The Laguna Madre received some needed rain in the last few weeks. All the rain was responsible for a loss in water clarity in much of the Laguna, but there is still plenty of fishable water. The speckled trout have been in shallow water early in the mornings and then dropping into deeper water. The redfish have been schooling all over, and the trick to finding the schools is to run slowly, just keeping the boat on plane, along shorelines and the edges of the spoil islands by the Intracoastal Waterway. The southern end of the Laguna has been producing good numbers of trout between 20 and 25 inches, with a few reaching 28 and 29 inches. This month, I will be using Bass Assassins in bone diamond, plum/chartreuse and pumpkinseed/chartreuse rigged on eighth ounce spring lock jig heads when trying for trout. I'll still be working along dropoffs, grass lines and potholes. For the reds, I prefer half ounce weedless spoons.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | | 361.937.5961
Joe was excited to talk about the prospects for fishing in October. "I love the combination of a reduced crowd and dropping temperatures. It makes for some really nice days on the water. The fishing usually improves a notch too, especially the lure fishing. Bait doesn't seem to help as much in October as it does throughout the summer." He plans to fish mostly in the northern part of the waterways in the Corpus area this month. "I'll be spending some time on both sides of the JFK Causeway. There are usually schooling reds all over those flats this time of year. The water's crystal clear in there right now, so spotting the schools and sightcasting the singles and small groups is pretty easy. Also, I like to go into Corpus Christi Bay some in the fall. Shamrock Cove and East Flats are great places for reds, trout and flounder with the moderate water temperatures and high tides typical for this time of year."

Port Mansfield | Bruce & Brandon Shuler
GetAway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000
"We're back in business over here, finally done cleaning up after Hurricane Dolly. Fishing is good right now. There are areas of murky water due to runoff, but there are also streaks of clear water. Good numbers of trout and reds are biting topwaters and soft plastics. As we get into October, the reds will continue to be really shallow and the trout should move off the outside edge of the grass line and into shallower potholes with them. The drill for this month will mainly be to throw topwaters. I'll be committed to them almost exclusively. The cooling air and water temperatures stir up one of the best topwater bites of the year this month." Bruce predicts a banner fall in Port Mansfield. "This bay has gotten so much help from the freshwater runoff. We're also set to get some dredging done at the jetties, and the fishing pressure has been down this summer. All that adds up to give fantastic potential to our fall and winter."

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
We still have huge amounts of freshwater flowing through the LLM causing our clear flats to be off color, leaving us limited choices for fishing artificial lures. At some point each day, the tide is moving enough to stimulate a bite, but you might have to stay later or work harder to be in the right place at the right time to take full advantage of it. The traffic has been way down since Dolly, allowing us to work areas that historically produce excellent action. We've been limiting on reds in shallow water throwing gold weedless spoons early or Maulers and Cajun Thunder corks trailing a Gulp three inch shrimp in glow, new penny, or nuclear chicken later. When targeting trout, we move to deeper dropoffs or potholes, but lately they've been hanging shallow with the reds and the occasional baby barracuda. Freddy says, "It's time to hit the end of the jetties for tarpon, and fall is the season for large schools of reds to swarm into the bay system."