Reports & Forecasts: October 2017

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268

October is a fantastic month to fill your coolers with fish. Birds will be picking over large schools of both trout and redfish. If salinities are high, trout will move northward in the estuary into their fall pattern. Commissary Point north to Turner’s Bay will be our main area of focus. West Cove will also produce good numbers of fish throughout the month. Shrimp imitations, like MirrOlure Lil' Johns, will be our go to lures. Most of the time, we rig them on quarter-ounce jigheads, but if fish are finicky we scale down to eighth-ounce. Topwater fishing is highly underrated this time of year.  Opportunities are plentiful, and trout bites on topwaters are very aggressive in the cooling water.  Look for bigger trout to be in three to five-foot depths, over reefs. Redfish will start to show up on banks adjacent to deeper cuts and bayous, but mostwill be mixed with trout under the birds.  This is what makes the months of October and November so special. Redfish one cast and a trout the next make for an excellent trip and plenty of fish at the end of the day.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242

James makes a basic prediction about fishing in the Galveston area after Hurricane Harvey. He predicts the fishing will be good wherever the water remains most salty. “Anybody who tells you they know exactly how this will play out is wrong. Nobody really knows where the water will remain the saltiest and where the fish will stack up. Certainly, if history serves us well, and it might not, since we’ve never had an event like this, West Bay and Chocolate Bay might hold plenty of trout and redfish. I’ll be checking areas like that soon, to make an assessment. In some cases, the fish in upper parts of Galveston Bay get pushed around the corner, using the ICW to head west. If that happens, we should have plenty of fish in middle stretches of West Bay. If the flow’s not too strong in Chocolate Bayou, the west end of the bay may be even better. If those areas don’t work, I’d say we might have the jetties left, and not much else. I may wind up in Venice, chasing Silver Kings for a while. October is a great month to catch tarpon.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
According to Jim, fishing prospects in the Galveston area in the aftermath of Harvey will likely be best in West Bay. “With more freshwater flowing into upper parts of the bays, we probably won’t have any fish in Trinity, Galveston or East Bays. Even the last two major flood events, which stacked the fish up in East Bay, were less severe than this. People trying to get out and fish after the situation settles down some would be best advised to try areas around Green’s Cut in West Bay. The saltiest water in the system should be over that way. And, of course, in areas adjacent to and including the jetties. The situation might linger for more than a month, given the ridiculous amount of runoff we will be dealing with. I will probably focus more on the duck and dove hunting than on the fishing. Not sure how the standing water will affect dove hunting, but we know we’ll have plenty of flooded fields to set up for duck hunts. I expect the shooting action to be steady over the coming months, and I have plenty of openings for people who want to participate.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323

When the time came to give this report, Randall had been “shaken by the boots, hung up to dry and disoriented” by Hurricane Harvey. He said he felt thankful to have survived the storm and wanted to extend condolences to anyone whose life was really disrupted by the epic event. He also wished to make reference to the heroic efforts of many volunteers and others, who went into harm's way to try and help others less fortunate than them during the time when the rising waters left many people in trouble. In terms of a fishing forecast, he said, “I'm not really sure exactly what to expect, but I will predict the fishing for reds should be off the charts. Most likely, we'll be dealing with a higher than normal tide for quite a while. This normally pulls plenty of reds into the shallow areas adjacent to the shorelines and reefs in the shallow parts of the back bays and lakes around here. We'll target them with topwaters, spoons and soft plastics in places like that. The trout fishing will depend on how much freshwater we have. It might be good in the surf.”

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401

“October is one of the best months for fishing everywhere on the Texas coast. This is especially true in the Matagorda area,” Charlie says. “All the freshwater runoff left in the aftermath of Harvey will serve our efforts around here well. So much water coming down the rivers and creeks tends to concentrate fish and their prey in the same small spaces. East Bay tends to fill up with fish while the water runs fresh on both ends. So do areas around Green’s in West Bay, where water flowing through the Port O’Connor jetties keeps the water salty. Once the flood diminishes, we should also see potential develop again in the river. Of course, until that happens, fishing in the surf and areas adjacent to the jetties at the mouth of the Colorado River can be excellent. This time of year is ripe with potential for finding lots of hungry trout under birds in the opens bays and back lakes. The back lakes and coves often hold lots of redfish too. So, as usual, we have numerous productive options available to us in the coming weeks.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204

I’d like to send prayers out to everyone on the coast who may have been affected by Harvey.God spared us here in Palacios; we were lucky to have experienced minimal damages. We wish everyone had been so lucky along the coast north and south of us as. We know we can recover from this historic storm. I hope by October we will get somewhat back to normal, with our bays getting a good flushing and giving a chance to fish again. October is one of the best months to chase schooling reds down the shorelines and follow speckled trout chasing shrimp under the birds. When after the reds, look for big wakes and egrets, then position yourself in front of the school and cast a shrimp imitation in the fray and hold on! Birds should be working regularly in South Bay, East Bay, and Turtle Bay. I like to toss three-eighths ounce jigheads under the flocks, since the bigger fish seem to hold down deep. Again, praying for recovery efforts for everyone involved in this storm, we hope everyone is safe and with their families!

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service - 361.983.4434
Hurricane Harvey literally changed the landscape in the fishing areas around Port O’Connor, according to Lynn. “We’ll be out scouting as soon as we can. Normally, a storm cuts new drains in the shorelines and carves guts into the sand bars. We will have to do some work to get a good grasp of the new features on the bottom of our local bays, especially in places like the big bars near Pass Cavallo, and on the shorelines of the islands in the same area. In a regular situation, October is generally a good month for finding trout and redfish in the back lakes, which are typically full of water, with a bull tide standing high most of the time. That pattern may well produce this year too. So, I expect to be fishing along shoal grass shorelines, and around patch reefs and drains in the lakes on the island side of Espiritu Santo and San Antonio Bays. I’ll also be prepping for deer season, scouting the leases and stocking the feeders. I hope both the hunting and the fishing turn out great, to offer some relief from the mess.”

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

Blake mentions the area around Cedar Bayou as a potential hot spot in the aftermath of Harvey.“It will be interesting to see how the currents altered the area where the bayou dumps into the Gulf. I'm thinking the strong winds and wave action have likely opened the pass more, so it might create really good potential for a while. Strong current flowing through the pass generally enhances the fishing in Mesquite Bay. We'll probably have birds working in there on a regular basis, and we should also have plenty of bigger trout and redfish in the shallow areas along the shorelines adjacent to the bayou and around some of the reefs separating Mesquite Bay from the bodies of water close to it. I've always heard the fishing is great after a hurricane, and I guess we're about to find out for ourselves. I'm also about to crank up the cast and blast season. We'll be hunting doves and ducks before starting our day of fishing. It's a great time to be a survivor of Harvey in the Coastal Bend.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata - [email protected] - 361.563.1160

The month of October is a great month to fish for trout. Since they are usually spawning during October, they will be putting on some weight and loaded with eggs. They will also be feeding regularly and aggressively. Early in the mornings, I'll look for them in less than two feet of water, along grass lines. The Bass Assassin Die Dappers in natural colors will work on sunny days in really clear water. If the fish are in shallower water, use the Bass Assassin Elite Shiners on sixteenth-ounce jigheads. Free-lined piggy perch will also catch the trout and flounder in areas with sandy potholes. Spotting schools of bull reds will be easy on calm mornings. While running slowly in less than three feet of water, look for big wakes as you get close to them. Once you see them, get upwind from the school and drift or troll within casting distance and use a half-ounce weedless gold spoon or a light colored soft plastic lure rigged on an eighth-ounce jighead and cast to the outside edge of the school closest to the boat.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez - 361.937.5961
“Here in the Corpus Christi area, we dodged a big Harvey bullet,” Joe says. “We hate to see what happened in places just north of us, but we didn’t have much damage south of the JFK Causeway. Typically, we see a bull tide roll in during the month of October. When this happens, our fishing usually improves in shallow areas adjacent to grass mats tight to area shorelines, and on the shallow spines of sand bars in Baffin Bay, the Laguna Madre and in the satellite bays off Baffin. Especially during late-night and early-morning hours, when water temperatures reach their lowest points, trout and redfish tend to appear in the really shallow water, looking for a bite to eat.They will often linger in these places later into the daylight hours this time of year, as compared to the hotter months like July, August and September. Since the water is exceptionally clear over much of the area right now, we should have plenty of sight-casting opportunities on a regular basis over the coming weeks and months.”

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
Many factors will figure into the beach fishing scene. It is uncertain how Hurricane Harvey will affect the mullet migration. Some speculate there may be a premature movement as they ride the crest of flood water flowing to the Gulf. If this is the case, we may see only the tail end of the traditional run in October. Red drum of all sizes should be thick along every stretch of beach from now until November. Chunks of cut mullet work best to catch them. Jack crevalle will become abundant following the first strong cold fronts. Water clarity will determine jackfish success – they prefer better clarity. Sharks of several species will also be abundant. Expect many blacktips and plentiful mid-sized bulls. We might see better than average speckled trout fishing in the surf in Harvey's wake. Red tide is always a fall possibility – hopefully we can avoid a bloom this year. Beach drivers on PINS should exercise extreme caution when storm debris is evident. Much of the lumber scattered on the beach is holding nails and other hazards which threaten tires.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge 956.944.4000

Trout fishing continues good at Port Mansfield. Topwater action has been exciting and usually lasts to mid-morning – some days until noon. ICW spoils will hold lots of solid specks, along with occasional slot and oversized redfish. Plenty of keeper trout can also be found wading thigh to belly-deep flats marked with potholes. Expect to encounter plenty of small fish, with a sprinkling of nice keepers in the mix. Redfish have begun making their way toward the Gulf.All areas near East Cut, north or south, can be great places to try. As the migration continues, the reds will be cruising the edges of the East Cut drop-off. The Northeast Pocket will be another spot you can find schooling redfish. Topwaters can be very effective during early morning. When the bite slows down on top, it’s time to break out the trusty quarter-ounce gold weedless spoons. Redfish love 'em. October can be a very favorable month for Port Mansfield sportsmen. Whether fishing or gunning for doves in area grain fields, the weather is some of the finest we see all year.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty 956.943.2747

As I type, my thoughts and prayers are with the displaced people of Texas and other Gulf Coast states, who are struggling to survive Hurricane Harvey! Many boat owners across this country have converged on the Houston area to put their skills to use in a different way than they ever would have expected. From humble fishermen to trained responders. Way to step up, people! Probably due in part to very little boat traffic, and with a nice outgoing tide in the mornings, we have been limiting on reds pretty much every trip and even releasing quite a few, and flounder fishing remains very strong. Freddy says, “Now that there is so much freshwater in the bay, the FP3 and smelly Gulp! Alive three-inch shrimp is the go-to for attracting fish when the water is brackish. More than ever, the noisy cork will draw in all species with vibrations and splashing; FP3 works as well in fresh as in salt water, and the principal is the same.” If unsure how to rig the FP3, go to on Facebook for a demo. Stop open bay dredge disposal!