Reports & Forecasts: September 2015

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268
Water conditions look good throughout the estuary, and the increasing presence of bait will mean plenty of food for the fish. We are looking forward to the first front of the year. It will bring thousands of blue-winged teal as well as huge groups of birds picking over schools of hungry trout and redfish! This annual event kicks off our favorite time of year. Trout and redfish will be in transition mode, moving from summer to fall patterns, and we will see massive schools of fish mixed under birds. When fishing birds, we stick to MirrOlure Lil' Johns, H&H Sparkle Beetles, and Salty Grubs rigged on quarter-ounce jigheads. Mid-lake reefs, as well as shallower reefs will also produce plenty of fish. Shallow marsh ponds will feature tailing and waking redfish for those willing to search hard to locate them. Popping corks rigged with a twelve-inch leader above a plastic on a light jighead provide a great way to catch these fish. Topwaters, gold spoons, and spinnerbaits with single Colorado blades are also great options for tricking the reds.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242
James says fishing has gotten a bit tougher since the salty water has started returning to the bays. "The fish are starting to spread out some, and it's harder to stay on 'em every day. We are still catching good numbers, though, keying on slicks and rafts of bait in open, deep water around reefs and well pads in deep water. This pattern will likely remain good through September. Often, at the end of summer, we catch most of our trout around deep structures when the water is moving, as the tides turn. I think some of the fish are moving back toward the upper parts of the bays right now, riding the saltier water. We're still catching best on soft plastics in colors like slammin' chicken and limetreuse, working them low and slow. Of course, tarpon season will be in full swing come September. If the weather's calm, and we're able to get out in the Gulf, we should be able to catch a good number of silver kings. We had plenty of fish to target the last time it got calm, so we are set up for a good run if the weather will cooperate."

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
September is the start of cast and blast season for Jim. "September the 1st is my biggest day of the year. We run a lot of dove hunts, sometimes nearly a couple hundred guys. During the rest of the month, I'll hunt a couple days a week, fish a couple. Teal season does start up toward the end of the month, and that will be another good opportunity for some excellent outdoor activity. Right now, the fish are still out in the middle, staying in deep water around shell pads and reefs. Topwater bite has been pretty good. We've have some good bird activity on some days, and the fishing is easy when they are working. The biggest trout I've caught lately have been under slicks in areas away from the birds. People are catching plenty of trout on the spoil banks along the ship channel. As always, the weather dictates the potential for the fishing. When winds are calm, fishing in the surf breaks wide open, and the fish are much easier to locate and catch out in the middle. When winds are blowing harder, especially out of the west, it's tougher."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323
First thing Randall mentioned in his report was a west wind, which he said had been wreaking havoc in his area for a while. "We've been throwing live bait to try and maximize the catching while trying to beat the heat. When the water is in bad shape, it pays to maximize the predators' sense of smell when targeting them. We are using mostly piggies and croakers to catch the trout, but mullet are working better to take the redfish. In some isolated areas, we've been able to catch some reds on topwaters like Woodie Woodpecker Skitterwalks and chicken on a chain Norton Bull Minnows rigged on three-eighths ounce jigheads. We are using the heavier heads because they allow us to accurately cast into the wind, which is a required thing in many of the small spots where we are targeting the reds with lures. With any luck, we'll get a break from this wind in time to take advantage of the surf some in September. Out there, we should be able to target and catch plenty of trout on topwaters, especially early in the morning."

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service - 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
Tommy likes the fishing in September about as much as in any other month. "Normally, we see an upturn in the fishing when September gets here. Surf can be good at the start of the month; then the tide usually comes in and opens up some areas where we haven't been able to fish most of the summer. We usually see the redfish schooling reliably, and the coves and back lakes are great places to target them. The action on reds with topwaters like SheDogs is good in the shallow parts of West Bay, where we typically catch plenty of flounder too. We also like to fish the grass beds and guts along the shoreline, using soft plastics in dark colors on light jigheads like sixteenth-ounce when targeting reds and flounder over there. In East Bay, we like to wade the mid-bay reefs in the west end when winds are light. We'll throw topwaters there too, but will switch over to heavier jigheads when fishing soft plastics in the deeper water adjacent to the shell. Drifting areas near those reefs can be good too, after the bite dies down on the wade."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204
We have finally turned the corner in our bays as the water has gotten salty again, and fishing has taken off just as we would expect! Trout continue to come from over deep shell on live shrimp and Vudu Shrimp rigged three to four feet under popping corks. The key to fishing the deep shell is to drift until fish are found, then slide an anchor out and work hard to catch them from a fixed position. Trout have been ranging from sixteen to twenty two inches with an occasional twenty five incher in the mix. The redfish bite has exploded as the bays have gotten saltier, and we are starting to see signs of fish schooling and chasing shrimp and shad along area shorelines. Gold quarter-ounce spoons and black/gold/orange topwaters have been the best lures to use when targeting the reds. Tripletail are finally starting to show up also. We have scratched out a few good ones up to fifteen pounds, with tons of small ones in the bays. The amount of crabs, shrimp, shad and mullet in the bays is unreal, so this fall is shaping up to be a great one!!

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service - 361.983.4434
Lynn plans on targeting trout and redfish in fairly deep water close to the open Gulf in September, unless we get significant relief from the summer heat wave we are experiencing. "I'll be fishing water around waist-deep up to about eight feet. We will fish spoil banks along the ship channel and areas close to the pass where we can wade and throw into deep water. Soft plastics have by far been the best producers lately, and I expect that will be true for the most part in September too. We are experiencing a decent topwater bite on some mornings, but mostly, it's an early thing and doesn't last too long. Of course, when we are able to get into the surf, we will do so. Out there, the topwater bite generally works better than it does on the inshore waters, meaning we are able to catch trout a bit longer into the morning. Depending on the winds and currents, the clear water along the beachfront tends to move either south or north of the Pass. Of course, it definitely pays to target the fish in the best water you can find out there."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
In September, Blake mentions he likes to focus on fishing shell reefs for both trout and reds. "We will fish mid-bay reefs in bays like Carlos and San Antonio. When the tides are high, fish tend to spend more time feeding right on top of and around the reefs, so they are easier to locate and catch there. Mostly, we'll target them with lures when fishing this pattern. Lately, the surf has been good, with the calm mornings we're having. I've been catching pretty good all along Mustang Island. Topwaters work well when the water is in good shape on the beachfront, especially early in the day. As the sun gets higher, Norton Sand Eels in my old standby colors like purple/chartreuse and pumpkinseed/chartreuse definitely work better. Also, this month is the start of cast and blast season. I've got a bunch of good fields which are full of Milo right now, so I expect fast and furious shooting to be the norm on the dove hunts. Teal season will also start. When targeting them, we usually hunt the back lakes first, then fish our way out."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata [email protected] - 361.563.1160
The action in our part of the Laguna Madre continues to get a high rating from me, with plenty of trout and redfish in the Baffin Bay area. Many of the trout we've been catching on my charters have been measuring between eighteen and twenty two inches. I've been very happy with our catches. A few of the trout have been in the twenty five to twenty eight inch category. The water temperatures are still cool for this time of the year, and that means the trout and redfish are still remaining in the very shallow water for a big part of the day. I've been finding a few schools of redfish early in the mornings while the winds are still relatively calm. The trout are still going after free-lined, live croakers rigged with at least twenty inches of 20-25 lb. test fluorocarbon. The redfish in the schools are going after pumpkinseed/chartreuse and sand trout colored Die Dappers rigged on eighth-ounce Springlock jigheads. Sight-casting in less than twelve inches of water with shrimp-flavored Fish Bites continues to gain popularity on my charters.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez - 361.937.5961
The water throughout the Upper Laguna Madre/Baffin Bay system remains in good shape, and the fishing is steady, Joe says. "We're having good luck catching both trout and redfish, targeting both species in the mornings in shallow water over grass with scattered patches of hard, sandy bottom. As the day heats up, we're having better luck around the grass beds which are barely visible along the edge of the drop-off to deeper water. We've also caught some nice trout around deeper rocks adjacent to shallow flats in places along the Kenedy Shoreline and in Baffin. Most of our fish are biting soft plastics. We rig them on light jigheads for the shallow drill early in the morning, but we'll adjust jighead size to work deeper structures as the day heats up, especially if winds pick up significantly. Heavier heads allow us to keep the lures down in the water column in the windier conditions. In September, things should stay much the same for us. If we get a good bull tide, the early bite might get even better, with plenty of cool water flooding the flats."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer - Padre Island Safaris - 361.937.8446
The upwelling of cold offshore currents has been the nemesis of surf fishermen since back in mid-Juneexcept for a few scattered days. This is the longest-running event of this type I can remember. Fishing success in September will depend on the presence or absence of the upwelling. Finger mullet in countless numbers will migrate into the surf from the bays and the redfish will follow them out. Shoals of anchovies are typically present and the combination of these two factors brings countless predators into the surf. Tarpon, redfish, blacktipped sharks, bull sharks, large jack crevalle, king mackerel, Atlantic bluefish and untold numbers of skipjacks are typically feeding on anchovies and the finger mullet. Lures of most types along with live and dead bait will all produce. Whiting are numerous and a few pompano will be scattered among the others. Follow the birds and concentrate on areas containing lots of bait and food chain activity. When working areas with extreme activity, always keep an eye out for sharks.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge 956.944.4000
Traditional summer weather and fishing patterns are running full bore at Port Mansfield. Light to no wind in morning and midday gusts to 30-mph. Topwater bite has been fantastic. Lots of small trout but you will pick up decent keepers as well. Best morning action has been in mid-thigh to waist deep water. Topwaters till about 11am and then belly to chest deep with soft plastics. K-Wiggler Ball Tail Shad on 1/8 ounce jigs have been very effective. Several colors are working; Lagunaflauge, Mansfield Margarita and Plum-chart. We have also been doing well with K-Wiggler Shrimp Tails in pearl-pink and red-whitelots of shrimp in the bays! Bay fishing in general has been quite productive; if this pattern holds we are in for several more excellent fishing months. Nearshore and offshore fishing have been insane. Nearshore is producing kingfish, bull redfish, jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel, bonito and tarpon. Offshore, state-water red snapper fishing has been fantastic. Reports of yellow and black fin tuna have been coming in. Expect offshore fishing to continue unless tropical weather brings seas too rough to fish.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty 956.943.2747
We continue to see a large bull shark near the stop sign just over the bar from Laguna Vista, so they are still prowling the bay. The TIFT tournament has just ended, and the fishing was great. Notably, offshore catches were up this year, and the number of flounder coming in this summer is encouraging. Four of the largest bay tournaments of the year occur in August. We're starting to see more reds, though the summer boat traffic high, and trout fishing continues to be dependable, using Cajun Thunder round corks with Berkley Gulp! Live shrimp in nuclear chicken and glow. We've finally had some calm mornings, but the wind picks up most days and makes for hazy afternoons. Freddy says, "September is the time of the year that reminds us of why we love to live in South Texas. Cast and blast baby! Last year, the white-winged dove season was one for the record books, and now the sunflowers are blooming, so get ready for opening weekend!" Be a respectful boater and put life jackets on the kids! Stop open bay dredge disposal.