Reports & Forecasts: Sept 2012

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

In September, we'll have the first cool fronts of the fall. With all the rains we've been getting lately, north winds and lower tides are just what the doctor ordered! Trout should show up inside the lake and create some great fishing opportunity. Birds will be picking over school trout up to two pounds, but bigger fish will be more prolific over reefs. Shrimp imitations tossed under birds will generate the most bites. MirrOlure Lil' Johns, H&H Beetles, H&H Salty Grubs, and Norton Sand Eel Juniors will work best. Glow, opening night, and avocado are three colors you can't leave the launch without. Over reefs, use pogy or mullet imitations. MirrOlure Glad Shad, MirrOdine XL and 52MR, and all the different Corky models work well. If the water is clean, use natural looking colors. If it's stained, try something that looks like a disco ball. Redfish will be roaming the middle of the lake, hunting for pogies, mullet, and shrimp. Look for them under birds and slicks. Often, it's possible to catch them on the ugliest thing in the tackle box!

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

Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242 Predictably, James was talking about the tarpon fishing when he submitted this report. "We are expecting the best tarpon fishing in the Galveston area since 1997. There are lots of fish; we're already seeing plenty, jumping some and catching a few. It should get better and better, with a peak around the latter part of September. If we don't get any storms stirring things up at the wrong time, I expect it to be top notch. Trout fishing has been steady too, nothing spectacular. We're still working fairly deep water along the ship channel, using slicks and mud stirs to locate fish, and of course, fishing some unmarked structures. There's been a little bit of action in the deeper parts of the Trinity basin too. Best bite has been on soft plastics like the Bass Assassin Sea Shads rigged on three-eighths ounce jigheads. Limits are pretty easy to catch on most days, mostly fish around two pounds, with a few better ones mixed in. Those patterns should hold into the middle of September. Cooler weather later in the month should make the wading better."

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
Jim was in the process of gearing up for the hunting seasons when we spoke. "I've been mowing and plowing the fields, getting things ready for the dove and teal seasons. I've got a bunch of people booked already. I'm throwing a big barbecue for opening day. Usually, by the middle of September, we've got plenty of birds. The fishing's been great lately too. We're fishing out in the middle, in five to about eight feet of water, keying on slicks. On some days, there are a few birds working, and it's possible to catch keepers under them, but working the slicks produces a better average size. On good days, we're catching limits of trout from two to about six pounds. Topwaters work great on the better days, with a variety of soft plastics producing more bites when it's a little tougher. The bite has been early, so you've got to get the trout before nine or ten o'clock for the most part. After that, looking for mud slicks and chasing the reds is a better bet. When you find them, there are lots of oversized fish, but some slot fish are mixed in too."

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

Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service 979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323 September sets up well for Randall, if recent results are any indication. "Fishing has been good. The surf has been good at times, and it will continue to produce well into September if weather allows. Usually, during the first half of the month, the fishing for both trout and bull reds is good along the beachfront. In the bays, we'll start to focus more on the shell. Seems the fish move off the sand and favor the oysters more this month. We'll target reds in the bays most of the time too. We have good luck on dark Bull Minnows with chartreuse tails. Topwaters will work much of the time too. On the calm days, it's often possible to wade slowly on the flats and find the schools of reds. Sometimes, once we find 'em, we can walk along and catch plenty as they move around. It's a fun way to keep the rods bent. Fishing deeper water out of the boat can be better for trout. My new JH Performance boat is on the way; I can't wait to get in it. I'm having it rigged up with an Evinrude motor. It's going to be a beauty."

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service - 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037

September is a transition month, and the fish are much like people, looking forward to the change, according to Charlie. "We should start to get some cool fronts, and that usually perks up the fishing on the shorelines. We got a bunch of rain recently, and that has both bays full of fish, especially in areas far removed from the freshwater influence. Most of the best catching recently is out in the middle of the bay. We're drifting and keying on scattered shell in deep water, throwing soft plastics and bouncing them off the bottom. As we get into September, the wading will become more productive along the shorelines and in the coves of both bays. The other thing to watch for is the surf. We haven't had the right kind of weather to get out there much so far this year, but I've seen years when we spent most of September out on the beachfront. If we can, we'll head out there and fish topwaters a lot early in the mornings. This late in the season, we'll have to put up with lots of skipjacks and gafftops, but the trout can be bigger than average."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204

Fishing has slowed down a bit from the last couple of months due to the huge amount of rain (14 inches) we received recently. The key with all this freshwater runoff has been to find the saltwater line, and that is where we have been finding our fish. Because most of our local bays are fresh, most of our fish lately have been found around the wells, shell pads, and spoils out in West Matagorda Bay. The best method for catching them has been freelining live shrimp with a split shot around the structures and jigging the shrimp off the bottom. The size of the specks has not been big, but we are catching lots of good eaters in the sixteen to eighteen-inch range. September is one of my favorite months because of the abundance of schooling redfish on local shorelines. Keys to look for are white egrets running down shorelines following fish, and huge wakes coming down shorelines. These are two surefire signs the reds are in the area. Best baits are paddletails in white or pearl with chartreuse tails.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith - Back Bay Guide Service - 361.983.4434

Lynn has been fishing the surf quite a bit and hopes to continue doing so in September. "If we can, we'll hit the surf as much as possible. The topwaters work well out there, especially early in the morning. When we switch lures, it's usually to a soft plastic with a heavier jighead, at least a quarter ounce, to make it easier to cast into the wind. If we're not in the surf, we'll be fishing shorelines and sand bars with some grassy edges and bright potholes adjacent to deep water. In a way, the fishing is the same as the surf, meaning we'll try topwaters early and stick with them as long as we're getting blow ups. If we aren't getting many blow ups, we'll usually go straight to the soft plastics, but in the bays, we'll use a lighter jighead, most often an eighth-ounce. Lately, dark Bass Assassins in red colors have been working well, as have the Hogie minnows in similar colors. The fish will relate to fairly shallow grass edges early, but as the sun gets higher and heats up the water, the fish often move out a little deeper and we follow them."

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

Blake will be getting cranked up in the cast and blast season by the time this magazine hits the shelves. "Both the dove hunting and the teal hunting are set up to be good. I'll be doing both in September. As far as the fishing goes, I'll be staying around the passes mostly, trying to locate the schools of reds as they gang up and then head out to sea. It's still possible to find plenty of reds in the back lakes right now, but by the middle of September, the better bet is to work the shallow flats adjacent to the major passes. There are usually lots of trout in those areas too. For the trout, wading is often best, staying along the shorelines where there's plenty of sand and some grassy areas. For the reds, fishing from the boat is usually better. From the deck, it's a little easier to see the herds and to remain mobile so you can stay with them once you find them. Topwaters work well to catch both the trout and reds in September. When they aren't working as good, I'll go right back to my old faithful Norton Sand Eels."

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

This summer continues to be very good for me. We’ve been catching many good-sized trout on my charters, with many trout close to the 25-inch mark and a few getting close to 30 inches. Fishing with live croakers has been the most productive for trout and also for good numbers of flounder. Bass Assassin Kwik Korks rigged with about twelve inches of fluorocarbon leader, an eighth-ounce jighead and a four-inch Berkley Gulp! shrimp have also been producing many trout and redfish in water depths less than three feet. I’m not expecting many changes during the month of September, except that I’ll be looking for the schools of bull reds on their way out to the Gulf of Mexico. To prepare for these schools, I’ll make sure my Power Pro braided line is in good shape, and that my 25 lb. test fluorocarbon shock leader is not frayed. I'll use a Palomar knot to tie on a halfounce weedless spoon or an eighth-ounce Spring Loc jighead rigged with a Bass Assassin Die Dapper in natural colors like sand trout or pumpkinseed/chartreuse.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez - 361.937.5961

With the water clarity improving over much of the Upper Laguna Madre and in Baffin Bay, Joe expects September fishing to be good. "More areas are holding the crystal clear kind of water lately. We continue to get good pushes of ocean water through the Packery Channel, and the water around the JFK is really pretty most of the time. As the reds bunch up in the area, it should be easy to find them on most days. If it's calm, the big motor often spooks them while we're running, and they make a big wake, so they're easy to see, even early in the morning. If it's windier, it's usually possible to spot them in depths of three to five feet, as long as the sun is out. We'll also target some fish in shallower water, hoping to sightcast them. Lots of reds and drum can be found in knee-deep water around sandy pockets in the grass. A few big trout are usually found along with them. Once we see them, we'll usually throw soft plastics with paddletails on light jigheads past their heads and bring them right in front of their noses to make them bite."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer - Padre Island Safaris - 361.937.8446

September is undoubtedly the most volatile fishing month with hurricane season as well as the time of year we are most prone to get red tide. But it is a wondrous month on PINS and can also bring the year’s best fishing. Shoals of dusky and bay anchovies and menhaden pass along the beach heading south and the finger mullet move out of the bay systems into the Gulf. Tarpon follow the migrating anchovies as do skipjacks, Spanish mackerel and sharks. Redfish follow the finger mullet and the surf becomes a killing field. We call it the time of the frenzies.
All players that are ever present can be encountered and anglers need to keep an eye out for sharks cruising in very shallow water. Huge flocks of seabirds working the anchovies will lead the angler to the best locations. Fly rod sight-fishing is at its best with lots of large jack crevalle and tarpon being possible. Barring bad weather and red tide the biggest problem is trying to decide what to fish for as the days never seem long enough.

Port Mansfield | Terry Neal 956.944.2559

Well it is dog day season on the Lower Laguna and we are praying daily for rain and looking forward to September’s cooler temperatures. Water temps continue to be running upper 80s and that means you either have to go early or work deep. Right now our trout are holding deep in this heat. The cooler temperatures should start pulling fish up on the flats along with lots more bait.
Storms in the Gulf will bring the blue water right up on the beach, the bait is already there so there is no telling what you will be able to catch. For the hunter, there should be lots of excellent dove hunts to go along with the great fishing. It is hard to beat a good cast and blast weekend trip to South Texas. Good shooting and fishing and just keep what you will eat fresh.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty 956.943.2747
It’s tournament time! The boat traffic is peaking and it’s more important than ever to practice good etiquette. You should always give any boat fishing the right of way by staying a distance of at least one hundred feet, or more, upwind of their drift, and be aware of kayakers and waders, who are low to the water and hard to see. Extending good manners to the dock and boat ramp will minimize the wait and improve the attitude of your fellow boaters. Freddy says, “There are times when no one else is around to help, and we will need to take care of each other, especially in very shallow or seldom traveled areas.”
We’ve been having some good days, limiting on trout and jumping a couple of flounder a week, but reds are scarce in the shallows, unless the tide is cooperating, and then we’ll pick up two to six a trip. We’re throwing Cajun Thunder round and cigar corks rigged with Berkley Gulp! three inch shrimp in new penny, molting, and pearl. Let’s all enjoy the LLM and surrounding resources this summer, by boating responsibly and safely.