Reports & Forecasts: October 2018

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268
October is a month that every speckled trout fisherman on the Louisiana coast looks forward to. The beginning of October is much like the end of September. The trout will still be in transition, constantly moving northward toward their wintering grounds. With every passing north wind, water levels will continually drop. This causes the mouth of every bayou on the northern end of Calcasieu Lake to erupt with fish on falling tides. West Cove, Black Lake, Moss Lake, Prien Lake, and Lake Charles will become exceptionally good fishing. Often, these areas will produce both trout and redfish out of the same schools. Fishing birds will become the norm, so binoculars are useful during October. Usually, by the third week of the month, the trout become more sedentary. Temperatures are not yet cold enough to turn the bite off, however, they are cold enough for the fish to drop their nomadic habits from the summer. This is what we call the “fall pattern”, and my job is about to become very easy.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242
James had been catching a few silver kings on trips in the days prior to giving this report. “We've had some decent days chasing tarpon lately. If the weather holds out, and winds are light a lot of the time, we should be able to catch 'em all the way into the latter parts of October. Trout fishing lately has been much the same as it has all summer. We're keying on structures out in the deeper parts of the bays, fishing fairly close to the bottom to catch our fish. Moving water is a key, of course. In the first part of October, things aren't likely to change much.  We'll stay in the boat and look for fish in open water with some depth to it, keying on slicks and working birds to locate the schools. We should have plenty of fish in Trinity Bay if the river isn't running too high. Once we get into the second half of the month, fishing on the shorelines by wading should pick up significantly. We've got tons of little white shrimp on all the area shorelines and in all the marsh lakes right now. The fish will eventually find them, probably when north winds push the tide out.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
Busy preparing for teal season at the time of this report, Jim says he's hoping recent rains don't flood the back end of East Bay. “We're heading into one of the best times of year around here. If we don't get too much freshwater in the back of East Bay, we should be set up for some excellent fishing. Normally, November is our best month, and October can be great too. With the cooler temperatures, the wading should be better, as more of the bigger trout move into the shallows and stay there. Recently, fishing has been best out in the middle, around the shell reefs. We are catching plenty of redfish on most trips, with a high percentage of those being too big to keep. We're also catching a good number of keeper trout mixed in with sand trout in the same places. As we get into October, the fish will probably move toward the shorelines and make wading more productive. Topwaters and sinking twitch baits will work well for those who get out of the boat, and soft plastics will continue to produce best for people fishing from the boat.”  

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323
Having just picked up his new boat from the guys at Sport Marine, Randall wanted to thank them for the support they give him in his fishing life. “Those guys are fantastic! What a great boat. When fishing during October, I'll likely be targeting redfish most of the time. We usually locate them this month after we find the big migrating herds of menhaden. I like to throw the Norton Sand Eels in glow with chartreuse tail, or a SkitterWalk in white/red head when targeting the reds. We often find the herds in lower portions of West Galveston Bay, sometimes in Chocolate and Christmas Bays. The back lakes are also a great place to target reds this time of year, focusing efforts around the small shell humps in the lakes, and anywhere wading birds are seen walking and running down the shorelines. Trout will also be on the target list this month, of course. We will still try to get 'em in the surf if conditions are right, but will also try areas around slicks and working birds in all of the local bays in four to six feet of water or less.”

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service | 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
When fishing the Matagorda area in early-fall, Tommy mentions several productive options. “We like to wade the south shoreline of West Bay this time of year. If tides are low, we'll focus on the drains leading out of the marsh. Reds usually pile up thick in them in such conditions. More often, the tide will be high, and we'll target trout and reds on grass beds tight to the bank early in the morning, throwing topwaters. As the sun climbs, we usually back off to the deeper grass beds adjacent to the outside sand bars, sometimes circling back to the ones on the bank with a dark soft plastic to pull more fish from those. In East Bay, wading the shallows in the east end or any of the coves can produce monster trout on topwaters and twitch baits this time of year. It does get better after the water cools down to the sixties and below. It's also still possible to catch plenty of trout, with some big ones, fishing the big mud flats in the east end and the areas with scattered shell around Raymond's Shoal out of the boat with soft plastics.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Fishing has been fantastic in the Palacios area. The weather has been great, and the water is in beautiful shape. We've been getting out early and coming in early. Trout fishing has been great around the deep shell pads out in West Matagorda and in the Matagorda Surf.  Fish up to 25 inches have been common, and limits have been coming steadily. DSL lures in magic grass and white ice rigged on eighth-ounce heads have accounted for best bites. The topwater bite for trout has also been great before sunrise on white SkitterWalks and bone Spook Juniors. Redfishing has been off the charts. Schools are hanging along just about every shoreline and drain, crushing shad and shrimp. Paddletails in pearl and pumpkinseed have been the best lures, ShePups in black/gold/orange okay. October is a great month to work birds in South and Turtle Bays for specks. Heavy jigheads help get to the bottom of the schools, where the bigger fish hang out. Redfishing should continue to be good along most area shorelines this month too.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
The typical high tides and cooling water temperatures favor a couple of main patterns in the Port O'Connor area in October, Lynn says. “We like to fish for redfish in the back lakes a lot this time of year, with these high tides and good water movement. The redfish have been pretty thick in these areas already, and fishing for them should only improve as the weather cools down a little. We've had a good run on tarpon out at the jetties and in the surf lately. If weather patterns continue to produce light winds on average, and the water stays pretty, we should be able to catch tarpon along the beach over the next month or so. The trout fishing is also good out there at times. We will mostly be targeting trout around some of the shell reefs this month. High tides allow us to wade and throw topwaters right on top of the shell early in the morning, which works well. In the middle of the day, we often find fishing with live bait to be more productive for the trout. It's a great month to fish the Coastal Bend, with nice weather and lots of options.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
In October, Blake normally finds an aggressive bite on topwaters thrown around shell reefs and along shallow shorelines in bays like San Antonio and Mesquite. “The equinox tides put plenty of water on the shorelines and on top of the numerous reefs in the bays up north, and in Aransas Bay too. Plenty of water on the shorelines allows us to throw at the grass beds right on the bank with topwaters early in the morning and catch easy limits. Same thing applies on the shell reefs. Lots of water puts the fish right on the tops of the shell, in predictable places. When we're not getting blow ups on topwaters, we'll favor the Norton Sand Eels in dark colors with chartreuse tails, and we'll switch to the split-tail Gulp! lures if the bite gets really tough. Usually, these lures work better on the areas close to the reefs with muddy bottoms and on deeper grass edges when the sun is high in the sky. We are also experiencing good dove hunting right now, and the action should continue right through October. We're also gearing up for duck season, to cast and blast.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The air temperatures might be cooling off, but the fishing remains hot. The slightly cooler air temperatures are keeping the water temperatures cooler as well, so the trout will be lingering in the shallows longer in the morning hours as long as boat traffic is light. MirrOlure Top Dog Juniors work great this time of the year if there is not too much floating grass on the surface, otherwise, use the Bass Assassin Elite Minnows in natural colors, rigged on one sixteenth-ounce SpringLock jigheads. Use these along the edges of grass lines and potholes in two feet of water or less. Then switch to Bass Assassin Die Dappers as the sun gets higher in the sky, and the fish move into deeper water. I have already started seeing a few schools of bull redfish moving northward from the Baffin Bay area, so run a little slower on the calm mornings and look for them to wake up as you run close to them and then get upwind from them and drift or use a trolling motor the approach the schools quietly.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | | 361.937.5961
The bull tide rolled in after the tropical depression passed through the Gulf in early September, and tides should remain high throughout October, Joe says. “High tides and warm water in a hypersaline lagoon can make things tough at times. We do have clear water over the area, so we should have ample sight-casting opportunities along the King Ranch Shoreline and in shallow areas of the Laguna Madre associated with spoil humps and similar features. Clear skies, moderate winds and clear water make for the best sight-casting. Soft plastics with paddletails work great when thrown at trout and redfish on the prowl in the shallows. Best bet is to throw the lures out in front of and beyond the fish and work them into their sight lines, using a steady, medium-paced retrieve. If conditions don't favor looking for fish on shallow shorelines and humps, places like Alazan Bay and the grassy flats behind the bars on the south shoreline of Baffin Bay often produce excellent action on both trout and redfish this time of year.”

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins | 361-877-3583
Fall is approaching, and the fish in the surf are in migration mode. Dusky anchovies are peaking and the mullet run is just beginning. Many species of gamefish will be available. Mullet are redfish candy, but the downside is that everything else go nuts for them too. Jackfish especially wreak havoc on lines baited with live and fresh-dead mullet. They also provide fun on topwaters, spoons and flies. Trout will be greatly outnumbered by other species. Spanish mackerel can be found with skipjacks under birds. Blacktip and bull sharks will be abundant for anglers casting and kayaking baits. Be cautious when wading; both species will push bait right to the sand. They will not intentionally attack you but don’t risk “bumping” into one. Expect tarpon to be present during peaks of frenzied feeding. You likely won’t stand a chance on lighter gear, though. Keep an eye open for sudden tropical developments and the arrival of the first northers. Tides rise to the dunes in a short time with both types of weather. Get off the beach at the first sign of rapidly rising water.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza | 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000
The redfish spawning run is still underway, which means fishing the East Cut out to the jetties is a good bet. If conditions allow, running up and down the surf is a great way to find large redfish schools. Try not to cast into the middle of them; pick one on the edge and the school will likely stay together. Another great option in that area is locating baitballs; just follow the birds to find sharks, kings and jack crevalle. But you’ll need wire leaders. Back in the bay, from mid-morning to mid-afternoon, wade waist-deep potholes and grasslines where baitfish are flipping to find lots of trout. Topwaters have been good where floating grass isn’t too thick; soft plastics are necessary to avoid it. KWigglers Ball Tails on eighth-ounce heads should produce plenty of bites. If the wind is light try the spoil humps along the ICW. We usually find trout in deeper water on hotter days. Offshore, red snapper have been plentiful in state waters. Further out, shrimp boats anchored in depths of 150 to 200 feet have been attracting larger kingfish and blackfin tuna.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
The last few weeks have been good. We’ve been limiting on reds daily and catching trout, sometimes big ones, anywhere from twenty-six to twenty-eight inches, as evidenced by our posts on on Facebook. With fewer boats around due to a large school of drum near Mansfield, our redfish catches have improved, but we haven’t seen an oversized red for a while. We're throwing FP3 corks with three-inch Berkley Gulp! for bait and hopping and dropping in sometimes muddy water that would otherwise be hard to get any bites in. Freddy says, “When you use FP3, you’re actually calling fish to the bait, whether plastic or Gulp! As it hops up, then settles below the cork, they strike. Let the cork sit for up to ten seconds after the first three or four pops.” We’re heading into the season of the redfish! Expect to see larger fish in shallow flats as boat traffic returns to what has now become normal. We remain proud Shallow Sport Pro Team members, couldn’t do it without you guys! Let’s stop open day dredge disposal.