Reports & Forecasts: September 2008

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 fronts, fish will be spawning off the beaches. Lots of redfi sh will be caught on cut mullet and cracked crab at the Cameron Jetties. They will also be found under birds and along the beach. These bulls can be caught on topwaters and jigs as well. Trout will be on the move with the spawning season ending. There will be more and more fish caught at the northern end of the lake. Birds will once again be picking exclusively over trout. The fronts move the ladyfish out to deeper waters. Don’t forget favorite oyster reefs. There will be fish on most of these from the south bank all they way up to where oysters stop growing. There will be fish in the ship channel and all the other lakes in the estuary. Shrimp imitations and live bait will work best. It’s your last chance at tripletail. Two fronts and these shy, tasty critters will be gone. Good luck and happy fishing!

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
James was in the Gulf off Venice, Louisiana when we talked. “I’m out here in some three to four foot seas right now. We’re catching sharks and bull reds today, but yesterday the weather was a little better and we had about 14 tarpon jumped and 10 caught in the fleet. If the weather will give us a little break, we should be in good shape; there’s plenty of fish around here. Galveston’s nearshore waters have plenty of tarpon too. September should be good over there for the silver kings.” Inshore fishing has been spotty and weather-dependent too, he reports. “Had some big reds under slicks and around mud boils in East Bay a few days ago. One guy caught a 46 incher on ten pound test. We had some 38 and 36 inchers too. Trout fishing is tougher, mainly due to the regular southwest winds and slack tides. It’s all a worm thing. Bass Assassins on 3/8 ounce heads around old well pads near the ship channel.”

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
“Before Hurricane Dolly, fishing was really good in East Bay; it’s been somewhat tougher since. During that good run, we had numbers of trout between 26 and 28 inches. On some days, we had to turn some loose because we had our limit of fish over 25. Best bite has been in relatively deep water, six to eight feet. Slicks are keying us on the location of the fish. Bass Assassins and Stanley Wedge Tails on eighth ounce heads are the go to baits. I’ve been throwing dark colors like plum and pumpkinseed and morning glory when the water’s in good shape, lighter colors like glow and limetreuse when it gets more off colored. The other key, of course, is the weather. When we get west winds or winds over about 15 miles per hour, it just ruins this bay. But when winds are lighter, it’s wide open. Catching some reds too, on the same pattern. About half are oversized, but there are keepers in the bunch too.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Fishing for trout has been steady in Randall’s area, and the red fishing has been good too at times, though less consistent. “We’ve found that you need to get the trout early; it gets much tougher after about ten in the morning. We have had quite a few easy limits early in the morning using topwaters and Baffin magic Sand Eels. We’ve been targeting mostly sand bars with rafted mullet and decent tidal movement for best results. Some of the time, the reds are easy to catch after the trout bite is over. On the bright days, it’s possible to sight cast them; they are pretty shallow most of the time. For that, a purple/chartreuse Norton Bull Minnow is hard to beat. You try to just swim it as close to their nose as possible.” The prospects for fall fishing are good, he says. “There’s shrimp all over these bays right now. Once we get a couple of weak fronts, the bait should concentrate in the Pass area, and the feast should begin.”

Matagorda | Don Wood
Bay Guide Service | 979.240.4137
Fishing has been decent in the Matagorda area in recent weeks, Don says. “We’re using live bait on most trips. Fishing on artificials around the reefs in East Bay has gotten a little slow on lures. I have had some good luck on lures too, though. On a couple of days, we whacked ‘em pretty good on pink Skitter Walks drifting around the reefs. Had about seventeen trout and five reds one day, all solid keepers. Another day, we were wading out kind of deep on the north shoreline and heard some blowups in shallower water. When we got over there, we could see it was two herds of reds chasing shrimp. We managed to catch a couple of mid-slot fish right away, one on a topwater and one on a worm, but then they got really spooky.” Some are having success on bigger trout at night. “A couple of friends like to fish at night this time of year, trying to win the S.T.A.R. tournament. They’ve been catching some nice trout lately.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
West winds and extremely low tides have hampered fishing in the Palacios area. Bites have been few and far between for the last couple of weeks. The few trout we have been catching are coming off deep structures out in the middle of West Matagorda Bay. Free-lining live shrimp and jigging glow DOA shrimp in twelve to fourteen feet of water have been the best methods for catching them. Our redfish bite has also been tough because we cannot get to fish due to the low water conditions. Fish that are on the flats are really spooky, so we have been downsizing to light gold spoons and small paddletails on sixteenth ounce jigheads to try to get them to eat. I look for September to be an awesome month because our shrimp will finally be coming into the bay. When we get some higher equinox tides and a fresh run of shrimp in the bays, trout fishing is usually dynamite.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
“Fishing has been steady around Port O’Connor if you are willing to adjust techniques to match the weather patterns. We have been fishing shell reefs in San Antonio Bay that are close to some deep water. That’s the critical thing right now, being right next to some of the deepest water around. We are still catching quite a few fish on our Super Spook Jrs., but more and more, the soft plastics are paying off better. I’ll continue this drill of fishing shell next to deep water throughout September, especially on the hotter days. I am still targeting some sand and grass on shorelines next to deep open water early in the mornings, but right now, I’m not staying there long after the sun rises. As we get into September, and the first few fronts arrive and bring the water temps down a little, I’ll go back to that more and more and will stay with it a little longer, especially if lots of baitfish are present and the fish are blowing up.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
“I’ll probably be doing pretty much the same thing in September as I have been this month. When the tide dropped out, the trout fishing around Rockport slowed down, especially on artificial lures. So, I’ve been using live bait when fishing for trout and targeting redfish most of the time. The redfish are easier to locate with the low tides, because they get piled up in areas where the water is a little deeper. Since the tide is low, they are relatively easy to see in those areas. I’ll be concentrating around marsh drains and bayou mouths and deeper lakes within the marsh systems in Aransas, Mesquite and San Antonio Bays mostly.” Teal may be the preferred birds this year over the doves, he predicts. “My fields don’t have much grain in them, so we may not have good hunting for the doves. If that turns out to be true, I’ll focus on teal. We’ll hunt them early in the morning in the marsh, then look for redfish after the shooting is done.”

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
Tons of large ladyfish, schools of tarpon and jack crevalle are possible; Spanish mackerel and lots of whiting are also to be expected. The birds will reveal the best catching areas. Shoals of anchovies are usually at various locations on the beachfront. Bull, black tip, and occasionally tiger sharks are often near the shoals of anchovies. The first cold front passage will trigger the mass exodus of finger-sized mullet from the bay systems into the surf zone. The redfish will migrate into the surf with them. The combination of these two types of baitfish in the surf in high numbers will trigger feeding frenzies most days, BUT it is necessary to look for these areas as they can be at any location along the shoreline. Artificials, live and cut finger mullet will work for most species, but be sure to use wire or heavy mono leaders with so many toothy critters present. Shark and tarpon can be sightcasted with chunks of cut ladyfish.

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The month of August turned out to be just like July, absolutely great! The water clarity is very good all over the Laguna including Baffin Bay, though a few areas scattered around still have some brown tide. The weather has been warm, but the fishing has been hot. We have been bringing 5 to 7 flounder home every week for the last few months. The water temperature has remained on the cool side, and I believe this has contributed to us having such great success in catching speckled trout, redfish, flounder and even black drum. The black drum have been really going after the 3 inch pearl and new penny Berkley Gulp shrimp in about a foot of water in the middle of the day. This will probably continue through the fall. I will also continue to cast light jigheads rigged with bone diamond, plum/chartreuse and mardi gras Assassins along grass lines and potholes for trout and redfish in two to three feet of water.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
“I’ve been down in Nine Mile Hole a lot lately. The water in there is basically crystal clear, making it easy to spot the schools of redfish and also to find isolated singles and smaller groups for sightcasting. Summer House and Rocky Slough are also holding redfish and trout and the water’s beautiful there too. In fact, the water is in great shape most everywhere, though I did go into Baffin the other day and saw some stained water around Cathead and along the Tide Gauge Bar. Didn’t stay there long when I saw that. I’ve also been fishing a little in the Meadows and between there and Yarbrough. The red and black drum are pretty thick over in those areas. Further north, the King Ranch shoreline area has crystal clear water and good numbers of trout.” Floating grass can be a problem, he says. “The people at Bluff’s Landing have to pay someone full time to keep the mats of grass out of their harbor.”

Port Mansfield | Bruce & Brandon Shuler
GetAway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000
Bruce and family were busy working to recover from the effects of Dolly when I spoke to him. “We were hoping to have the lodge open by Labor Day, but it looks like it might be a week or two later right now. But we’ll be back to normal soon.” He has squeezed in some fishing lately. “We are catching some nice snapper offshore and lots of ling this year too. They’ve been kind of a bonus. Tarpon are also pretty numerous already and that should only improve as we get into September.” He predicts that all the adverse weather coupled with the conservative trout limits will have a profound effect on the fishery in the near future. “With all the rain flushing the bays and with the reduced trout limit, I look for some of the best trout fishing in a decade around here not only this fall and winter, but all the way into next spring. That’s the silver lining in this gray cloud, a great run of fishing is coming. You can quote me on that one.”

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
Hurricane Dolly has left us hurting, from the damage to the seawall in the marina to an overabundance of freshwater runoff in the bay. We’ve had a few cancellations due to the effects of the storm, but on the whole people are excited to get back on the water. Fishing has been difficult during double tides, but improves when the chart gets more curves in it. We’re hitting some reds throwing weedless gold spoons or Gulps under Cajun Thunder corks, just not the numbers we can see this time of the year. The trout we’re catching are fat and full of piggy perch. They’re jumping on the Gulp three inch shrimp on quarter ounce heads hung deeper than normal under corks to get below the freshwater layer. Freddy says, “Just wait; the tides will start moving, the bay will flush out and things will be back to normal soon. The estuary will improve over the long run even though the short term bite is suffering a bit of a setback.”