Reports & Forecasts: September 2014

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
Recently, we are absolutely wearing the trout out. Over the last few weeks, trout fishing has been as good as it gets, but enough about August, let's talk September. It's a transitional month for the fish, but it is usually very productive. Redfish will be devouring shrimp in the middle of the lake as well as all shallow marsh ponds around the estuary. The surf is a great place to try for both redfish and trout. However, trout action will be most consistent on deeper reefs in the lake, as well as reefs along the edge of the ship channel. At the beginning of September, temperatures are usually sweltering, so look for trout to be adjacent to deep water. This is why reefs on the edge of the channel are so productive. As the month moves along, and we get a front or two, the trout will start to move north into the lake. Once the transition from summer patterns to more fall patterns start, birds will start picking over schools of trout again. Then, oyster reefs mid-lake in six to seven feet of water will become very productive as well.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
James was in Venice, Louisiana fishing for tarpon when he gave this report. "The tarpon fishing has been good over here and in the Galveston area too. People have also caught a couple of sailfish close to the beach over there too. We'll continue heading out into the nearshore waters in search of the silver kings during September, if the weather allows it. We tend to catch a lot of bull reds smoker kings mixed in with them as the month wears on. I was doing quite a bit of trout fishing before tarpon season kicked off really strong. We'll still be doing quite a bit of trout fishing if the winds blow us off the big water. In the bays, the fishing has been best along the ship channel. We were catching limits or near-limits most days recently. The best bite is on the turn of the tide, especially if that happens early in the morning. When the steady bite slows, it is sometimes possible to pull out a noisy topwater like a She Dog and kind of aggravate the fish into biting and catch some more. That works really well in waters slightly too deep for wading."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Jim was on his tractor doing some work in preparation for dove season when we spoke. "Dove hunting looks promising. We've got some birds in the area already. They aren't really bunched up, but they will be by the time the season starts. Also looking forward to teal season. It's always fun to see the first ducks of the season move in. As for fishing, our patterns have been steady, and should stay the same throughout the next month. We're catching our fish in five to seven foot of water, around reefs and other mid-bay structures, keying on slicks and balls of shad. We have had a few birds working too. I hit a really good school of trout by keying on the one flock. We left 'em biting after we got our limit. Most of the fish were small keepers, but we managed a few bigger ones too. That's been the norm lately, we'll catch a lot of small trout and sand trout, then pop a few bigger trout in there with 'em. Have seen some up to twenty eight inches. The reds are steady too. Finding them means finding the big mud boils in the middle."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall says the summer fishing in his area has been pretty typical, and that he expects a slight change during September. "We're slammin' 'em every time we get in the surf. Great topwater bite out there, and some of the fish are really nice for surf fish. Otherwise, our fish are pretty stubborn in staying around the shell right now. We're catching plenty of trout and redfish by targeting the reefs when the tide is high and moving. Once the level drops and the movement stops, we'll back off a little and be persistent around the fringes of the reefs, where the shell becomes scattered, and there's more mud. Once the weather starts cooling down some, two things will likely happen. For one, our opportunities in the surf will decline. We'll still get some shots out there, but it becomes less consistent. Also, we'll start to see movement in the schools of bait fish and other critters toward the Gulf. Our fish typically pull off the reefs to follow the migrating schools. So, we'll start scanning the horizon for the squawking flocks of gulls."

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401
September is a great redfish month in Matagorda, Charlie says. "We catch lots and lots of reds this time of year, roaming in herds. We catch 'em really good wading and out of the boat. This month is also the tail end of the time-frame for getting in the surf. We catch some pretty good sized trout on topwaters in the surf when winds allow us to work out there. Light winds also allow for wading the mid-bay reefs in East Bay. They produce some pretty good catches of both trout and reds, especially early in the mornings on topwaters. You can usually keep catching for a while by switching over to sinking twitch baits and soft plastics as the day heats up, if it's not too windy. Of course, the scattered shell and muddy areas around those same reefs will produce trout and redfish, primarily on soft plastics. Toward the end of the month, we might start getting some decent fronts, and that will change everything. Then we'll start seeing bait migrations and birds working over the schools of shrimp. Things can blow wide open then."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
As I am typing this report, we've had a stretch of extreme low tides and west/southwest winds for the last two weeks, making for some tough fishing. These conditions have moved us out of our local bays out into the Tres Palacios River and the wells out in West Matagorda Bay. Our best catches have come trolling the drop-offs in the river using live shrimp and popping corks rigged about two feet deep. We've had scattered catches of lower slot reds, drum and a few flounder in the mix. Out at the wells, free-lined live shrimp rigged with a split shot have accounted for most of our fish. The key is moving until you find the right rig--some will hold gafftop and sharks, but when you find the one holding trout, stick with it until they eat. When we get some water back in the bays, fishing should go off the charts. All the rains we got in the area have been great for our local bait hatch; lots of bait equals lots of fish. Redfish should be cruising shorelines busting bait and trout should be out in East and South Bays chasing shrimp under gulls.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn expects the fishing in September to be much the same as it has been at the time of this report. "We've been working shorelines with lots of sand and grass and keying on rafted mullet. Chrome and blue Super Spook Juniors have been working well to take some pretty good trout out from under the mullet. The bite has been fairly easy for this time of year, if you can find the thick concentrations of bait. In September, that drill will normally work well too. We'll also head out into the surf every time the winds allow us to. Fishing has been steady out along the beachfront over recent days. Out there, we're throwing Spook Juniors and She Dogs mostly, and keying on areas with lots of bait, just like we are when we're fishing in the bay. Sargasso weed has been an issue in the surf, for sure. Sometimes, we are forced to keep looking until we can find an area which isn't too badly inundated with the weed, and then we are able to catch fish. The blow ups on the morning incoming tides are pretty much guaranteed."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake expects to target redfish as they make their move toward the passes on their way to the surf. "Generally, fishing for herds of reds on shallow flats adjacent to deep water close to the passes works very well this month. We sometimes follow them all the way out to the jetties. Trout fishing in the surf can be really good at times this month too. Mostly, we do the same things when fishing for trout in September that we are doing right now. We tend to key on shorelines with lots of sand and grass and throw topwaters and soft plastics like Norton Sand Eels in pumpkinseed and plum/chartreuse. Some years, the bull tide rolls in shortly after Labor Day. I have found the fishing for both trout and reds to be good around mid-bay reefs in Aransas, Copano and San Antonio Bays when the tide gets really high. We use live bait a lot during August when fishing those areas, but in September, I switch over to lures most all the time. Dove hunting also looks promising, so I'll be heading out into the fields with the shotguns this month."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
We are having a great summer! And the fishing is not bad either! I have been finding a few schools of redfish early in the mornings when the winds are calm. Many of the reds are in the slot and a few are oversized. The schools have been in less than three feet of water. Light and natural colored Bass Assassin Die Dappers rigged on eighth ounce Spring Lock jigheads or half ounce weedless gold spoons are what I recommend for the schooled up redfish, along with a quiet approach with a trolling motor. This action should continue well into the end of September. Free-lining croakers, and/or piggy perch will also be very effective for trout and reds during September. I will use the live bait during the early morning hours along grass lines, potholes and drop-off in about two feet of water and then move a little deeper, into three to four feet of water, as the sun gets higher in the sky and warms the shallows. On sunny, cloudless days, reds and black drum can be good targets with shrimp flavored Fish Bites in ultra shallow water.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
Joe says the improved water clarity in the area has provided for some good catching this summer, and he expects things to continue on through September. "We're catching decent numbers of both trout and redfish, using mostly soft plastics. The area up around the JFK has good water, especially after incoming tides, when we get a push of ocean water. The water south of Baffin looks great too. I've been fishing up around the bridge quite a bit, locating schools of redfish by watching for wakes on calm mornings, seeing them in the water on the windier, brighter days. They normally prefer the shallower water when it's cool early in the morning, then move out into the areas where it's deeper and grass is more sparse once the day heats up. The trout are harder to locate, but we're having good luck keying on deeper edges of the grassy flats, and by keying on slicks and concentrations of bait. Baffin still has more pronounced brown tide, but the bait fishermen are still catching plenty of trout in there. Overall, things bode well for September, especially for the reds, which usually become concentrated in the north end during this month."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
Many factors determine the quality of September fishing on PINS. Tropical storms, red tide or heavy amounts of sargassum impacting the beaches can kill fishing altogether. The most important positive players are the arrival of both shoals of anchovies and the first cold front of the season; which will kick off the finger mullet migration and flood the beach with redfish. If the anchovies are present in numbers, ladyfish, tarpon and many other medium sized game fish will be feeding on them and sharks will be in good supply. The real quality fishing usually starts with that first cold front and if it's early in the month, September is a dream come true. If the first front is late to arrive the fishing can be slow. Watch for food chain activity and fish the birds. Various artificials, cut and live bait will all produce. This is the long awaited "time of the frenzies" and it is important to be alert for the presence of sharks feeding in close. All species that frequent the surf are present in September.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge 956.944.4000
Fishing this past month has been very good with limits of trout coming pretty steadily and some days we are getting redfish limits along with our trout. Lately the trout have been holding in deeper water; my guess is that this is probably due to the very low tide levels that have persisted. We expect low tides this time of year but this been exceptional. To find trout we are lining up along the ICW and working the deeper grass and the drop-off to the channel. Darker colored lures have been working best. You find lots of small fish but the keepers are pretty solid. Redfish have been holding much shallower and we are seeing the schools somewhat larger and more numerous. I suggest starting shallow for reds early, they're easier to spot when it is calm, and then going deeper for trout. Be patient; when you find the trout you need to stay put and work carefully before going deeper. I expect this pattern will continue into September.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
We've had a lackluster couple of weeks, mostly due to slow tide movement. We're catching some awesome large fish, but not the numbers we were hoping for. Low tides and high temperatures combined with the heaviest boat traffic of the year, clear the flats. In past years, we would traditionally move to drop-offs where deeper, clearer water held large numbers of trout. This year, unusually windy conditions and silt from dredging, have made the water cloudy and the depth changes are not producing like we would hope; not even leaving us the option to find schools of drum. We're catching reds, some oversized, but when tides are slow, it's mostly small herds, that leave the flats early. Freddy says, "When the heat is on, it's time to go deeper and work potholes that are less traveled and cooler than surrounding areas. Sometimes, allowing the boat traffic to run fish towards your drift will pay off." We're throwing Cajun Thunder round corks with Berkley Gulp! Live three inch shrimp in new penny and pearl white. Help stop open bay dredge disposal!