Reports & Forecasts: Sept 2009

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
September is a month of transition. With the arrival of the first few cold fronts, fish begin to slip into their fall patterns. Trout will begin their trek back north and leave their steamy summertime homes in the southern part of the ship channel, along the beach, and around the close rigs. Because of this movement, they should become more plentiful in the lake. Look for them under birds and over all the named reefs. Monster bull reds will be schooling in the surf and at the jetties. These fish are super strong and willing to eat just about anything in the box. Try your favorite topwater on the beach for some serious action on these giants. Smaller, edible reds will be available in the lake around all the cuts coming out of the marshes. This is your last shot at tripletail. With the onset of cooler weather, they will migrate back to warmer waters, and we won't see them again until next summer. Best bait is a live shrimp under a popping cork. If shrimp aren't available, try a glow H&H Beetle on the lightest jighead you have.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
"Trout fishing has been generally good," James says. "Of course, it's best when the wind isn't cranking out of the south and southwest. We are fishing all deep stuff, eight to fourteen feet of water. Most of the bite has been on Bass Assassin Sea Shads in dark colors like red shad and morning glory. When the currents are running strong, we're using three eighths ounce heads, quarter ounce when the tide is not as strong. There is a good combination of trout and oversized reds out in the middle right now. Most of the action is along the ship channel, on the humps and well pads close to deep water. I look for the inshore action to stay pretty much the same in September. We may get some birds working more often, especially later in the month. I did make a circle out in the gulf today. Wind finally laid down a little bit. Water seems to be clearing and I saw some signs that make me think the tarpon will show up sometime soon. We'll need some lighter winds to get a really good shot at the silver kings."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
As is often the case, the wind and weather are the most important factors affecting the bite in Galveston lately, reports Jim. "We are whackin' 'em pretty good every time the wind lays, but when it's windy, it's tough. We are fishing out in the middle and need the light winds to let the water clear up enough to function. Hannah's and Deep Reefs are holding solid fish, both trout and reds. The birds will lead you to the trout, but slicks and mud stirs are a better bet to indicate the schools of reds. Some of the schools of reds seem to have hundreds, maybe thousands of fish in them. The herds in the back of the bay, where it's four and five feet deep, seem to have a higher percentage of keepers. Those nearer the ship channel, in eight to ten feet of water, are mostly oversized fish. You can catch 'em on whatever you want to throw. Topwaters are the most fun way, according to most people, of course. In fact, every time it gets calm, drifting and throwing She Dogs over scattered shell is producing decent numbers of trout, up to six pounds."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall reports that fishing is pretty good around the San Luis Pass area on recent trips, especially for redfish. "Redfish have been saving us for the most part. The persistent low tide makes it easier to locate the fish. On most days, we're able to find pods tailing and that allows us to take easy limits. We've been catching them on both topwaters and soft plastics. Pearl Skitterwalks have been the best tops to throw and the roach colored Norton Bull Minnow has been the most productive soft plastic. I think this pattern of fishing shallow areas for the reds will only get better as we roll into September. The trout fishing is okay, particularly when the winds are lighter and we can get at the fish in open water. I will be looking for the fish to move over to the scattered shell either late in September or early October. Then the trout fishing should pick up nicely. Overall, the fishing is good, despite some water clarity issues caused by higher than normal south winds. Usually, September tides come up a little and that could help the clarity."

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401
Charlie mentions several good options for September in the Matagorda area, starting with the surf. "We still want to be in the surf this month if we can get at it. The improved currents and tide levels seem to keep the water pretty most of the time, even in moderate winds. You can fish out there quite a few days if you can stand the waves, and the fish are bigger on average. Best lures along the beach are topwaters usually. Of course, I'll also be looking to get at the mid-bay reefs in East Bay if the winds are light enough. The other thing that works well over there in the lighter winds is drifting around the reefs over scattered shell with topwaters. Much of the time, we throw Bass Assassins for at least part of the day too. Sweet pea has been a good color for me lately, since we have a lot of bright sunlight and high salinity levels. The other option is to work the schools of reds this time of year. By September, they are often schooled up by the hundreds, and they can be stalked and caught with a variety of methods, including on fly. That's a real blast."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Fishing over scattered shell and around deep structures has worked well for finding fish during this hot, dry spell. Solid keeper speckled trout ranging from sixteen to eighteen inches have been found around the wells out in West Matagorda Bay. Free-lining live shrimp and working DOA shrimp and Gulp shrimp have accounted for the best bites. Redfish on the smaller end of the slot (up to twenty two inches) seem to be all over the place along with many others just under the twenty inch mark. Small topwaters such as Super Spook Jrs in bone and chrome/black have been producing good hook-ups. The tripletail bite has slowed from last month. We have hung a few around twelve pounds, just not the numbers we had last month. Flounder gigging is starting to heat up, with half-limits of fish from fifteen to eighteen inches showing up on area shorelines. I look for the surf and bird action to start heating up next month. If you catch a calm day with light southeast winds, don't hesitate to hit the surf for some great fall fishing.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
"In September, we'll be trying to get into the surf as much as we can. Haven't been able to do it much this summer with all the wind, but haven't given up hope on it yet. If the winds do calm some, it could be outstanding, because the schools of fish haven't been picked on much. If we are forced to fish in the bays more of the time, we'll target bright sand pockets on grassy flats with good, deep moving water early in the mornings. Super Spook Jrs will be the favored lures for that drill. I've been having my best luck lately on the white/chartreuse head. Later, as the sun gets higher and hotter, we'll target mostly deep shell reefs. For that, we'll switch over to soft plastics. Bass Assassins in plum/chartreuse and chicken on a chain have been working well lately. I almost always rig them on eighth ounce heads. Only time I use a heavier head much is when I'm in the surf. Then, I'll switch to heavier heads like quarter and three eighth ounce, mostly because they are easier to cast into the wind."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
September normally brings a little higher tides and opens up some new patterns in Rockport area bays, Blake says. "I like to fish sandy shorelines in Aransas and San Antonio bays this time of year, especially if the tides are at their normal medium-high to high levels. That will put plenty of water on the grass beds which are pretty tight to the shorelines. We'll catch more reds on that pattern in Aransas Bay, but in San Antonio the potential for trout is better, with a few big ones usually showing up too. I like to throw topwaters some when fishing that pattern, but usually that bite is better when it cools of in October. Soft plastics and live bait will still be better on most days." He mentions that dove season may be in jeopardy with the prolonged drought, but that a higher than normal number of teal may show up in the marshes since there's not much water inland. "It could be a banner teal season. We do need some rain badly though. It will help if we can get a little fresh water in the marshes before the birds arrive."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
September offers the greatest potential for the largest numbers of the most species of gamefish on the Texas beachfront and nearshore waters of PINS. It is also the peak of hurricane season and susceptible to red tide blooms. Either of these can ruin fishing. The tarpon migration is at its peak during September. Target diving birds and shoals of anchovies for tarpon and other big game species. The finger mullet will migrate out of local bay systems into the surf in September, usually following the first frontal passage, and the redfish will follow them in high numbers. Large schools of large jack crevalle, thousands of skipjack (ladyfish), Spanish and king mackerel, Atlantic bluefish and several shark species both large and small will all be present whenever large shoals of anchovies or menhaden are present. A variety of artificials or live finger mullet will entice all of the above. Whiting will be abundant along with lesser numbers of palometa and Florida pompano on fresh-peeled, dead shrimp and "Fishbites." Speed limit will return to 25 mph.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
Not much has changed from last month, and the fishing has still involved a lot of catching. The water is in great shape in the Upper Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay. The wind has been behaving quite nicely early in the mornings, which has allowed me to spot the schools of redfish along shorelines and spoil islands while the water is still calm. Many of the fish in the schools are oversized, but nobody is complaining about having to fight those brutes. The lures that have been working the best for me are the half ounce gold weedless spoons and light colored Bass Assassins on eighth ounce Spring Lock jigheads. The speckled trout have also been cooperating quite nicely as well. We have been catching many trout between twenty and twenty five inches, with good numbers between twenty five and twenty nine inches. Not many of the trout are reaching the thirty inch mark, but I know that they are out there. Look for them in shallow potholes and along grass lines.

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
Joe has been fishing in the upper reaches of the ULM lately, and finds the trout fishing to be good to outstanding. "I'm targeting deep grass beds and channel edges and catching limits pretty easily most of the time. The water's really pretty and it's possible to see the targets, even the deepest ones. I'm using soft plastics when I throw lures, and sometimes live bait too. On the plastics, I normally rig with a quarter ounce jighead. I feel it gives me better control and a more consistent ability to detect the strikes. The September drill should be much the same. I'll stay within a short run of Bluff's Landing Marina most of the time." On that note, he mentions that he's been launching there almost exclusively and loves it. "They keep the place really clean; there's plenty of room, there's always someone around to clean the fish and the bait is consistently available and of good quality. Just today, I was last in line to get bait, but I still got good quality. That's kind of unusual and a good thing."

Port Mansfield | Terry Neal | 956.944.2559
Dog days of summer! It seems that with each passing day South Texas has been setting a new temperature records and along with the heat came high winds. The weather has not stopped the serious fishermen, though. All summer we have seen record numbers of sportsmen showing up, especially on the weekends. The deep grass beds are holding lots of fish and continue to produce limits of nice trout. Tides continue to be very low, pushing the redfish into deeper holes. Tarpon and kingfish continue to tear up tackle just outside the Port Mansfield jetties. Any calm day will result in some of the greatest fishing you could ever hope to experience. Huge schools of baitfish are cruising the nearshore waters within easy reach of most boats. Live bait is a sure bet to get you hooked up to some good fish. Fishing in 100-degree heat is serious business and there have been several reports of heat strokes. Remember to drink lots of WATER! Enjoy the day and please remember to release the fish you do not plan to eat.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
A strip of water along the west shoreline, from the shrimp farm at Holly Beach north to Cullen's, is socked in with brown tide held in place by heavy southeast winds. The longer this condition persists, the more natural habitat will be lost, mainly the grass beds, which makes fishing difficult in these muddy areas, especially with very low summer tides. Hopefully, the state of Texas will not allow shrimp farm dumping to ruin the beauty and function of our bay. As is normal this time of year, trout and redfish want to feed at night when the temperatures are more moderate and predators will move to deeper holes during the day. We're limiting or coming close on reds about once a week and settling for one or two per boat other days. Trout, however, are plentiful and limits are easy to come by. Freddy says, "Keep throwing the Gulps under Cajun Thunder cigar corks. Retrieving quickly motivates fish to follow; allowing the bait to drop will get fish to bite." Precision Tackle gold, weedless spoons are working early before the wind stirs up floating grass.