Reports & Forecasts: Sept 2011

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
September is a really good month for us. We like it because the first few fronts bring shrimp into the lake and the fish really start biting. Look for trout from the north end of Calcasieu all the way to the jetties and offshore. Use shrimp imitations like Norton Sand Eels, MirrOlure Lil' Johns, H&H Stingray Grubs, and H&H Beetles. I would concentrate most of my efforts on the lake because there are a lot of options there. Birds will be picking, fish will be on reefs, and after a few fronts, fish will start to make their transition back to the flats. Don't necessarily look for them on the flats; focus instead just off the edges of the flats. Redfish have been very prolific all year long. We've had a few days this summer with over fifty reds in the 27 to 34 inch class. We are mostly sight fishing them in huge schools in the middle of the lake. These fish will eat whatever is presented to them. Also, fishing behind the weirs at Grand and Lambert Bayous will really turn on in September. Beat the banks and points with spoons, spinnerbaits, and popping corks.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | silverkingadventures.com | 409.935.7242
Trout fishing has been outstanding for James and his crew in the heat wave. We're fishing all deep structures, mainly eleven to thirteen feet of water, using soft plastics, and catching limits pretty much every day. The wind is somewhat of an issue at times, especially a southwest wind, but as long as its calm, the bite has been hot. We're fishing spots close to the ship channel and watching the tide movement real close. The bite is best when it first starts moving or when it begins to slow down. When its really rolling, it's tougher. Either way, heavy jigheads like quarter and three eighths ounce work best. We're catching on several different colors, including purple/chartreuse and pearl/chartreuse. Tarpon fishing is starting to improve. This past weekend, we jumped about a dozen. The wind hasn't been really calm, so it's hard to spot fish, but we do have plenty of fish. September is usually our best month for the silver kings. As long as we don't get a bunch of storms, it should be lock and load on both the trout and tarpon this month.

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Jim was busy making the fields ready for the upcoming dove season when we talked. I've got stuff in both local zones for the dove season. We're busy planting and ploughing in advance of that. Fishing has been good when the weather allows us to get at the fish. All the action is out in the middle. We are locating the reds by looking for mud boils and slicks and using the slicks to find the trout too. Mostly, the trout we're catching are just fish, not real big ones, but lots of solid keepers in the two to four pound class. On some days, the fish are hanging over the shell bottom; on other days, they seem to like the mud bottom better. When the wind isn't blowing, there is already some bird activity, especially along the north shoreline of East Bay. That should pick up and become more common as we get into September. Unless we get some early season fronts, the fishing will be difficult when it's windy, great when it's not. What we really need are some of those calm, balmy days, so the water stays clear and we can function out in the middle.

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall reports a good run of fishing in the hot weather, mostly on live bait, but also on lures when the surf is right. When the winds allow us to get in the surf, we're catching lots of trout on top. Most days, we've got our limit by nine o'clock. Just the other day, we were getting lots of blow ups but not too many hook ups, so I switched over to a pink Fat Boy and the catching was better. We'll keep hitting the surf as long as we can. It usually begins to slow down out there in September. When the wind muddies up the water a little more, we're using bait. For the most part, the bite has been easy, and we've been able to get our limit and get off the water by eleven or so. Just about all of the fish have been coming from the deepest parts of the bay. They all seem to be looking for some way to cool down. The drill of fishing deep with bait will be the mainstay strategy through the end of this month at least. We'll start fishing shallower and trying lures more as the weather cools down some in October.

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401
Fishing has been good at times in the Matagorda area, though not as consistently as Charlie is accustomed to this time of year. He is predicting a change in that as fall approaches. We've got plenty of fish. Most of us have been targeting the trout in deeper areas of the open bays, some using live shrimp, some using Gulp!s under a cork, others using soft plastics on jigheads and bottom bumping. All of that is working okay most of the time. When winds are lighter, we are doing better. Unfortunately, we've had quite a bit of west and southwest winds, and that makes drifting the open water tougher. On the shorelines, the reds do show up in small herds from time to time, but it hasn't been easy to predict where, so it's kind of a witch hunt every day. Normally, August and September are the best two months for finding the schools of reds on the bank in groups big enough so you can catch fifty or more. I'm hoping for that kind of action this month. I'm still hoping to hit a good late-season run in the surf too. I've still keeping an eye on that.

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam
www.palaciosguideservice.com | 979.240.8204
Fishing has been consistent in our area. One really surprising thing is how hot the afternoon bite has been. I have been running trips from three until dark and catching fish much better than on our morning trips. I am not sure what has prompted the switch to the afternoon bite, but this past month our fish have been feeding well late in the day. Redfish have been our staple. We are finding easy pickings around the schools of shad in area bayous. Live shrimp, quarter ounce weedless gold spoons and small topwaters have accounted for numerous limits on the ledges of creeks. The trout bite has been feast or famine. Lots of small fish have moved into the bay and it's easy to catch plenty around the right well or shell pad. Freelined live shrimp has been the best bait around the wells. Tripletail numbers are still good in the bays, but the fish have gotten smaller, averaging around eight to ten pounds. September should bring some good fishing under birds around East and South Bays, with the mouths of area rivers in the mix as well.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
The surf is just full of fish lately, Lynn says. We're whackin 'em out there every chance we get. It has been a bit windy, so we haven't had that much opportunity, but we're hoping that changes as we get on toward the end of summer. If winds are stronger and we can't fish in the surf, I'll be staying in areas around the passes, where the deep water is close by. You just really need some deep, moving water around to keep the fish concentrated when it gets this hot. I'll be targeting grass beds on flats adjacent to deep water, throwing topwaters early and sticking with them as long as I can. I will usually switch straight over to soft plastics once the blow ups become less and less frequent, or if the fish are kind of puffing at the topwaters without really taking them. Eventually, we'll begin fishing some of the shallower backwater areas farther away from the cuts to the Gulf, but it probably won't be this month. We need some cooler weather and water temperatures before those areas get much attention from me.

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Fishing continues to be good for both trout and redfish in the Rockport area, Blake says, and the outlook for September is for more of the same. We've had a pretty good trout bite on most outings. Some of the time, we're getting them on topwaters like chrome Super Spooks, or soft plastics like the Norton Sand Eels in purple and pumpkinseed/chartreuse, but live bait has been working best. This excessive heat makes the bait more and more necessary. We'll probably be using bait a lot until late in September. I'll do whatever it takes to catch 'em! The reds have been starting to school up some on area shorelines, and that should become more common as we get to the end of summer and the start of autumn. I like to concentrate on flats in the vicinity of the passes this time of year when looking for reds. They are often concentrated in these areas in advance of their migration to the Gulf. As always, we have an eye cast ahead to the hunting seasons. Soon it will be time to get in the fields and blinds and start blasting!

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The action continues in the Upper Laguna Madre, with plenty of trout and reds being caught in the Baffin Bay area. Many of the trout we're catching are between eighteen and twenty three inches, with a few getting very close to the thirty inch mark. The water temperature will be rising in September, so they'll be in less than three feet of water early in the mornings and then moving to four or five feet of water in the later part of the mornings. The reds are still schooling, and I'm finding the schools in less than three feet of water early in the mornings. Most of the reds were catching are within the slot, and a few are oversized. I'm really excited about the Bass Assassin Die Dappers in the colors salt & pepper, phantom/chartreuse and plum/chartreuse rigged on sixteenth ounce Spring Lock jigheads. The trout and reds love 'em too! Live croakers will probably be too big to use for bait in September, but piggy perch should be just right. Sightcasting for reds and black drum in less than eighteen inches will also be productive.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez www.sightcast1.com | 361.937.5961
Area waters continue to be clear, and the fishing is still steady, according to Joe. I've been having real good luck with the redfish. On the calmer days, it's possible to see the schools pushing wakes up shallow early in the morning. It's tougher to see them that way on the windier days, but once the sun gets higher in the sky, the wind makes it easier to see into the water. Then, it's easier to find the schools out a little deeper. We should be able to catch limits of reds consistently through September, which is a great month to hunt the herds in the Lagoon. Trout fishing has been decent too. I've been fishing areas down south along the Kenedy Shoreline and in the Land Cut. Fishing in the cut is better on days when it's not too windy and there's some east in the wind. Although a due south or southwest wind makes it easier to keep the boat off the west drop, it is harder to cast and control the lure properly. With some east in the wind, it's easier to throw the lure up to the edge and bring in down the face of the slope with control.

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
Typically, sargassum is not a problem in September and as the water temperature has been unusually cool all summer I do not expect we will see red tide. The biggest threat this month is tropical storms. Any time a major low pressure system forms in the Gulf the tides will go to the dunes within twelve hours. Watch the forecast reschedule your trip if there is a storm anywhere in the Gulf. If you are down island and the water begins to rise rapidly get off the beach ASAP. Once the migrations start there will be plenty of bird action and large shoals of anchovies visible. Stay where the food chain action is until you find the predators feeding actively. Bull whiting will be abundant. Sharks, jack crevalle, tarpon, kingfish, Spanish mackerel and Atlantic bluefish should all be present throughout the month. If you are getting cut off frequently go to piano wire and smallest swivel possible. Live-lining finger and pony mullet and a wide variety of artificials should produce well. The secret is to go when conditions are right.

Port Mansfield | Terry Neal
www.terrynealcharters.com | 956.944.2559
HOT! HOT! HOT! Looks like 2011 will continue to set all kinds of weather records: 40 mph winds for days, then uncommon heat, followed by Tropical Storm Don that vanished in his own tailwinds. What could the rest of the year possibly bring that might top these? One thing for sure, fishing will continue to be good here in the Lower Laguna. Reports are circulating of thirty to forty pound tarpon hanging around the outside of the jetties, free-jumping and rolling, smashing up bay tackle. The jetties should be red hot throughout the month of September with lots more tarpon action to come. As of this writing jumping six or seven and getting a couple to the boat is common. Calm mornings are the best time to visit the jetties. Occasional schools of reds are beginning to show up along the southern edge of the Saucer. Bull reds are beginning to show along the East Cut. Fishing should be really good through September and continue in October. Remember to keep what you will eat and release the rest. Good Luck Fishing.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | www.fishingwithpettys.com | 956.943.2747
Just when we're beginning to get used to calm seas, the wind starts blowing again. When it's windy, were catching reds drifting in muddy areas, throwing Berkley Gulp! three inch shrimp suspended under Cajun Thunder round corks, popping and dropping. Trout, preferring clear water, bite better when it's calmer, and we can target sunken banks and deeper holes with the same set up. In the shallows, well throw the Cajun Thunder cigar cork, working it quickly, like a topwater, then allowing it to sink periodically, pulling reds, flounder and trout out of the murkier, skinny spots. Glassy conditions make it easier to find herds, but they're scarce this summer and flee to deeper water when boat traffic picks up. Floating grass continues to be a problem, especially on the east side. Be sure to clear your motor often, by stopping when you see the flow stop, and backing up, to churn out strands wrapped around the lower unit. Avoiding fishing on weekends; more anglers are turning to wading and kayaking, so keep a look out, especially early.