Reports & Forecasts: October 2019

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service – 337.598.3268
October is usually an all-around fantastic fishing month for us. We find quality trout, hordes of slot reds and piles of flounder. This month kicks off our favorite time of year, when we look forward to falling tides and temperatures, and north winds. These conditions cause the marshes, which are full of shrimp and baitfish, to drain into the bays, creating a buffet for the predators.  All this makes catching the sport-fish much easier than at other times. Lower tides and strong outgoing flow make things simpler, much of the time. Redfish will school in numbers around the mouths of all cuts and drains leading from the marshes into the lake. Trout will ferociously feed on shrimp, and birds will hover directly over the action, farther away from the cuts and bayous. Flounder tend to hang in the same places as the reds, but they hug the bottom, of course, so getting a lure through the reds to them can be a challenge. Shrimp-imitating lures work best to catch all three of the favored species. For bigger trout, the flats adjacent to the mouths of the bayous produce best. Topwaters and slow-sinking twitch baits get their attention better than the shrimp-tails most of the time.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - – 409.935.7242
According to James, not much had changed on the trout fishing scene in Galveston as of the time he gave this report. “We've still got fish hanging close to shallow structures, close to much deeper water. Catching them on topwaters a little bit, but the bite on soft plastics like Bass Assassin Sea Shads is better most of the time. We did find some quality trout out in the middle of East Bay one day recently, but that area hasn't been as good as it is in some summers. As the weather cools off, the fishing around slicks and under birds in open areas of the bays should get better. We should see shrimp and other species the predators like to feed on moving out of the marshes and back bays by then. Flounder fishing has been exceptional. In some places, close to the channels, we've been catching numbers like never before. Had a total of twenty-six one day. Found 'em by accident mostly, after trying the area for trout with topwaters, then shifting over to soft plastics and dragging them close to the bottom. We were able to repeat similar action several times. This does bode well for a good fall run.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service – 409.996.3054
Jim was dealing with tractor mishaps, in the middle of working the fields in preparation for the imminent dove, teal and duck seasons when we talked. “I've got ducks all around me, so it's gonna be good. Teal season starts next week, dove season soon after. I expect fast shooting. Fishing has been decent lately. We're catching lots of fish most every day we go, though the number of dinks has been high sometimes. Average size of the trout usually improves as the weather cools. If it stays dry, we will see improved catching in the upper reaches of the bays. We've got no run-off going right now, so places like Jack's Pocket, Tabbs and Upper Galveston Bay and the back parts of East Bay should be good in the near future. Normally, we see the bait start falling out of the marshes and backwater areas once a few strong fronts push through. When that happens, wading for the bigger trout will get better, and we'll have birds working too, so catching limits of smaller keepers should get easier. Drifting around the mid-bay areas and focusing on slicks and mud-boils should also produce nice results for those in the boat.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service  979.849.7019 – 979.864.9323
With water temperatures continuing to sizzle at the time he gave this report, Randall's fishing patterns hadn't changed much since the middle of summer. “We are seeing water temps at around 90 degrees on a consistent basis, so we're still fishing fairly deep water most of the time. I'm doing best in water about four or five feet deep, with at least some scattered shell on the bottom. We're throwing mostly Norton Bull Minnows in chicken on a chain color, working them close to the bottom. At times, the topwater bite has been good, mostly early in the mornings. Pink ones have been working best, by far, especially the tried and true Skitterwalk. Out in the middle, we're catching mostly trout, with an occasional red mixed in. In shallower water, we're having good luck throwing an old classic, the weedless gold spoon, catching mostly reds with it. I expect the trout action to continue best in fairly deep water over shell next month, since the heat wave seems to have a tight grip on things. If it cools off more than I expect, the wading in shallower water might kick off with a vengeance.”

Matagorda | Bay Guide Service
Tommy Countz- 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
With cooler days coming in October, Tommy expects several options to perk up for anglers headed to the Matagorda area. “Some big trout have been coming out of East Bay recently, a couple thirty-one inchers, weighing up to about nine and a half pounds. We should see continued chances at those kinds of trout along the south shoreline of East Bay in October. Redfish action on topwaters is usually hot down that way, in the back-lakes, with the higher tides. And, we've got lots of shrimp in the bays right now, so birds should be working. In West Bay, it's a great time to start off targeting reds around the drains and shell humps tight to the shoreline, then move out to the grass beds farther from shore to key on trout. Down there, we often find birds working over shrimp in the shallows, where we can wade right into 'em. And, if the north wind is blowing pretty good, fishing in the Colorado River can offer some relief. We've had reds in there lately; more trout should show up as the weather cools off some. November is normally a great month to catch trout in there.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam – 979.240.8204
We are already fishing patterns that feel like fall, and the catching is really good most of the time. We have lots of redfish schooling on shorelines, herding shrimp, shad and mullet, eating most anything we throw in front of them.  We've found these fish mostly in pods of five to about twenty members, and catching has been easy. Bite has been excellent on a new lure for us, the Matrix Craw, in either white or pumpkin, with white working a bit better. Trout have been biting steadily under birds in East and South bays, but the percentage of keepers has been poor most days. Over there, pearl/chartreuse and pumpkinseed/chartreuse paddletails rigged on three-eighths ounce heads are working best to cull the larger fish from the lower portions of the schools. Flounder have been plentiful on area shorelines, and gigging is good with the right winds. The size of the flatfish is impressive lately, about sixteen to twenty inches, and limits are pretty easy most nights. October should be even better as more bait starts migrating out of the bayous, rivers and marshes, kicking off more bird activity and a steadier bite on the shorelines.

Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service – 361.983.4434
Lynn does plan to continue doing some of the same things he's been doing all summer in October, with a few notable changes. “We will still fish some mornings close to the pass, on incoming tides especially, and we'll head out to the surf if conditions are right, just like we have all summer. If we're doing these things, we'll key on large rafts of mullet, and try to stay right in 'em. This can mean moving with them during a day, certainly moving short distances from day to day. But we'll also start focusing more on fishing the back-lakes in October. We've got plenty of redfish in some of them right now, and the action on the trout usually improves in those kinds of areas once the stronger fronts get here in the fall. We normally like to wade in there and throw topwaters, keying on areas with lots of grass and a mix of sand and mud on the bottom. Even in the lakes, we want to stay around plenty of bait, but it's not necessary to find a big raft of mullet. The bait is more mixed, with mullet, some shad, minnows, shrimp and other species in the lakes.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
With the arrival of October, Blake expects to be fully into the cast and blast mode. “We're seeing a bunch of teal flying around over the marshes and fields, plenty of doves too. I expect the hunting to be fast and furious from the get go. Most days, we'll try to shoot our limits and fish our way out of the backwater areas. Redfish have been numerous in most of the back-lakes lately, I'm seeing plenty while running around in there in the air boat. Normally, we find them around the cuts and drains, and catch best when the current is moving somewhat. The weather has been really hot, so some of the deeper holes in the drains seem to hold the most fish. As it cools off this fall, the fishing for trout in the shallows along sandy, grassy main-bay shorelines should perk up. Lately, with such hot weather, we're catching more trout out over the deeper grass edges, and on reefs out in the middle which have deeper water close by. Topwaters have worked okay at times, but dark Sand Eels with bright tails produce better on a consistent basis.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – [email protected] – 361.563.1160
I expect the weather to cool off some in October, but the fishing should remain red hot. Hunting seasons start up in earnest this month, and this means more people are heading into the fields and woods, so fewer of them find their way to the coastal waters. Conditions are usually right for some fairly intense spawning activity among the trout this month, and they usually feed aggressively. For the first three to four hours of daylight, I find most of my trout along shallow, grassy shorelines which have some sandy potholes scattered along them. As the sun warms the shallows, the fish tend to move into depths of three to four feet. This is a great time of year to throw MirrOlure Top Dog Juniors, if the floating grass isn't too bad. If the grass is a problem, Bass Assassin Elite Shiners in colors like mama's 14K, Houdini or meat hook work better, rigged on sixteenth-ounce SpringLok jigheads. In deeper waters, I favor the Die Dappers over the Elite Shiners. The sight-casting game in a foot of water or less with shrimp-flavored Fish-Bites and Elite Shiners rigged on the light jigheads is another proven winner tactic this time of year.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez – – 361.877.1230
In October, tides generally run high in the Upper Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay, due to the influence of the fall equinox. “With the high tides comes clear water,” Joe says. “Clear water makes it easier to see the fish in the water, so it's a great thing for those of us who like to fish by sight-casting. We normally find our reds and a few big trout by seeing them pushing wakes early in the mornings, in response to the boats moving around. Later in the day, it's easier to find them by poling, drifting, or trolling along and watching for them to cross the bright, sandy parts of the bottom. They like to stay shallower in the cooler waters of fall than they did during the summer months. Once we see them, we like to throw paddletails in natural and dark colors to try and make them bite. When they're hungry, the fish will swim a pretty long distance to attack a lure placed anywhere near them. More often, the best way to earn strikes is to place the lure a ways from the fish, then bring it close in front of their nose, using a straight, steady retrieve.”

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
361-877-3583 |
With the arrival of fall come the bait migrations in the surf zone. The mullet migration hits full stride as the number of dusky anchovies begins to diminish. Jack crevalle come crashing into the surf on cue, making mullet a great bait for them. They'll hit large spoons, topwaters and a variety of swim-baits too. Many consider the jacks “pound for pound, the hardest fighting fish in saltwater.” This month, we also expect bluefish and both Spanish and king mackerel to be blasting holes in the schools of mullet. The mullet run also attracts lots of slot-sized reds; bull reds typically show up in greater numbers toward the end of the month. Tarpon will be present too, often hooked as by-catch by anglers pursuing other species. Serious tarpon anglers spend more time around the passes and jetties. Large swim-baits work great on the tarpon. Numerous black-tip and bull sharks will be cruising the shallows during the morning hours, so waders should be aware. Toward the end of the month, the big tiger sharks usually show up, provided we have no red tide. Tropical weather often remains a threat, so plan trips with an eye on the weather forecasts.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza – 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge – 956.944.4000
The spawning migration of the redfish toward the Gulf is underway and should remain active through the rest of the month. Flats to the north and south of the East Cut are prime areas to intercept the migrants. Steady action can also be found along the edge of the East Cut and along the edges of the ICW close to this area. Topwaters tossed into the midst of the schools provides exciting action. It's hard to beat weedless gold spoons for producing the most bites, though. Schooling reds can also be found at the jetties and in the surf, at times. If lots of pelicans and gulls are spotted working bait-balls along the beach, lots of possibilities will present themselves. Both king and Spanish mackerel, jacks, sharks and occasionally tarpon show up in the breakers this month. Trout action should pick up as we get into October and improve through the month. On most days, lots of undersized fish bite, so patience and careful handling of these fish is important. Best bite will usually be in mid-thigh to belly deep water. Topwaters will work great, as long as floating grass isn't too bad. KWiggler Ball-tails on eighth-ounce heads work better at other times.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Aaron Cisneros | – 956-639-1941
Cooler temperatures have become more common, and the fish are feeding more frequently and for longer periods of time. Trout fishing has been exceptional, with great numbers of keepers biting along the ICW and in guts along and between spoil islands. Plum-chartreuse KWiggler Ball-tails on sixteenth-ounce screwlock jigheads have been working best to catch them, when presented slowly in water about waist deep. Topwater action has been fair to good. Spook Juniors bearing single hooks are working best to produce the biggest trout lately. The redfish bite has been steady, and we look forward to improvement in it throughout the rest of the month. Best bite has been in back-bay areas, on weedless spoons and small topwaters. The reds seem to prefer slower retrieves, and long pauses after blow-ups do encourage them to make a second pass at the plug. The key to finding and catching both trout and reds has been tracking the movements of the schools of bait. They are rarely staying in one place for very long, so staying mobile and within their midst is critical. This aspect of the fishing will remain true in October, one of the best months to fish the Lower Coast of Texas.