Reports & Forecasts: September 2016

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268
September kicks off our fall program. With the first few fronts of the year blue-winged teal fly in and shrimp move out of the marshes. This is one of our favorite periods of the year, due to the change in season and the incredible fishing opportunities. Birds will be picking, and trout will again make their way back north. Turners Bay, Commissary Point, West Cove, and Long Point will offer plenty of opportunities for catching schooling fish under birds. The nearshore oil platforms and ship channel will still produce at times, but most of that action is waning by September. Redfish will be in abundance in the surf as well as at the Cameron Jetties. We will again be offering our "Cast and Blast" trips for teal season. This trip gives our customers an opportunity to see what we have to offer. Many times over the course of September, the results will be quick limits of teal in the morning and limits of trout and redfish in the afternoon. Hope all of you have had a great summer of fishing.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242
September is a transitional month, offering great opportunities for anglers in the Galveston area. "We have a bunch of good options in September," James says. "The mid-bay, deep water patterns will still be producing both trout and redfish at times. Out there, we'll key on mud stirs and slicks around shell humps and throw topwaters early and soft plastics later in the day. Birds should be working on lots of days too, making it easier to locate the schools of trout chasing shrimp. Wading also produces well at times during September, especially along shallow shorelines and in protected pockets of water when the tide is high and/or coming in. Usually, the tide runs pretty high this month. Higher tides and slightly cooler water temperatures make for good wading. And, of course, the chances for catching a few silver kings are excellent too. If we don't have many storms, and winds stay mostly calm, people willing to search the nearshore waters for signs of rolling fish might experience the thrill of a lifetime by catching a tarpon or two."

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
Busy preparing for the opening of dove season, Jim reported excellent trout fishing on recent trips. "We are catching plenty of quality trout early mornings over shell. Some are biting topwaters, but the better bite is on tails. Those fish are averaging a nice size, with a few up to about five pounds. After the early bite dies down, we've had better luck chasing the rest of our limit of trout by focusing on birds. We've got plenty of birds working on most days lately, so that has made it easy to fill out our limits on most days before noon. Fishing for redfish has been less consistent. On some days, we're locating the schools and catching limits of slot fish and a few bigger ones, but on other days, they are harder to find. As with everything around here, calmer weather is a key there. We are also looking forward to the start of dove and teal seasons. I'll be hunting both, starting in September and up into November. Right now, we're burning fields, which tends to draw the doves in. It all sets up for a fast and furious cast and blast season."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323
Fishing near a major pass between the Gulf of Mexico and an inland bay offers tremendous potential during a transitional month like September, Randall says. "Light winds and good tide movements will allow for excellent trout fishing in the surf and close to the pass early in the month. Bull reds will be caught in the same areas during windier periods. We will also have excellent mid-bay action on schooling trout throughout the month in Christmas Bay, Bastrop Bay, Chocolate Bay and West Bay too. Birds, slicks and mud-stirs can all lead us to fast action catching trout which chase migrating shrimp. Soft plastics like Norton Sand Eels generally work best to attract the attention of the specks focused on feeding on the crustaceans. With some frontal action, we should see water temperatures cool down some, and that might spruce up the potential for catching reds, specks and flounder in the shallows. Best bite on that pattern will be on shoreline flats with a mix of shell and some other bottom feature, like sand or mud."

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service - 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
September marks the time on the calendar when we know cooler weather and improved fishing are imminent. "I love fishing in September. Normally, the redfish start schooling up and when the bull tide of the fall equinox tide rolls in, catching lots of reds in the back lakes is usually easy. I will also look for schooling reds along the shorelines, in shallow water. The north shorelines of both bays will hold schools in most years. We like to get in front of the schools and stay there with the trolling motor and experience some of the best topwater action of the year. When wading, the grass beds close to the shoreline normally produce well early in the mornings. Even slightly cooler water temperatures seem to improve the action in the shallows. Once the day warms up, I like to switch over to dark Lil' Johns on sixteenth-ounce heads, tossing them around the deeper grass beds. Wading mid-bay reefs and the surf can produce well too."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204
What a difference a month makes. Fishing went from terrible to awesome as our bays recovered from the deluge of June. Every species of fish from trout, reds, flounder, drum, and tripletail have found their way back to our local fisheries. Trout have been hanging out over deep shell in five to six feet of water, and we have been smoking them on live shrimp under popping corks. Trout have also been in the surf when we get light north winds; we have had some stellar mornings where we catch from daybreak to mid-morning. Redfish are schooling awfully early in the year for us, and we have been targeting shorelines looking for schools pushing shrimp and shad. Areas around drains, bayous and river mouths seem to be holding the best fish. We have caught some nice tripletail up to 18 pounds on live shrimp rigged under a cork out around the structures in West Matagorda. September should be a bang-up month, as the waters start to cool and birds start working over schools of trout, and the shorelines get thick with schools of redfish.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service - 361.983.4434
If tides are high like they normally are in September, Lynn expects the patterns to be predictable. "I like to wade shallow along sandy, grassy shorelines this time of year. We like to throw topwaters early, especially when the tide is coming in. When the blow ups stop coming as often, we will switch over to slow-sinking twitch baits like MirrOdines. We've been catching lots of quality trout on those lately. With lighter winds, we'll still be heading to the surf. The action on the beach has been fantastic for solid trout. We're catching lots of twenty to twenty-eight inch fish out there. Topwaters work well out along the beachfront too, particularly early in the morning in the shallow waters closest to the beach. When the tide is high or coming in, we'll stay in the first gut well into the morning. We do need pretty light winds or offshore winds to make the fishing good out there. When we have medium to stronger winds, we'll stay in the bays and work the shorelines most of the time. Fishing has been great lately, and the action should continue."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
With dove and teal hunting seasons cranking up in September, Blake will start his cast and blast season. "We've had a really good year so far catching trout. We'll continue to fish for them on main-bay shorelines with a mix of sand and grass and over shell reefs this month, using Norton Sand Eels mostly, topwaters when the fish are really active. The redfish tend to get into their classic late-summer schooling pattern and begin working their way out of the backwater areas and toward the passes in big herds. We will try to stay in touch with them as best we can. If the weather's hot and tides run high, we might catch plenty of them in the marshes and lakes. If we get some strong early fronts, the better action might be in places like East Flats and Super Flats. Teal and dove hunting should be rewarding too. We have had a pretty long stretch of dry weather, so finding some freshwater will be critical to finding plenty of doves. I've got some good spots leased and expect fast shooting and fast fishing at the onset of autumn."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata [email protected] - 361.563.1160
This summer gets a big thumbs up from me in terms of the fishing and catching! Although there is still some brown tide in some parts of the Upper Laguna Madre, there are many areas where the water is in really good shape. We've been catching very good numbers of speckled trout and redfish on my charters. I'm still finding a few schools of redfish during early mornings when calm winds allow for seeing their wakes and the best lure for catching them at these times is the salt & pepper silver phantom/chartreuse tail Bass Assassin Die Dapper rigged on an eighth-ounce Spring Lock jighead. The trout will be moving into slightly deeper water this month, so I'll be using live croakers or piggy perch in three to four feet of water along drop offs, grass lines and potholes rigged with fifteen to twenty inches of fluorocarbon leader. Very good numbers of redfish and black drum continue to show up in less than twelve inches of water and going after natural colored Bass Assassins and chartreuse, shrimp-flavored Fish Bites on sixteenth-ounce jigheads.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez - 361.937.5961
Clear water continues to cover almost the entire Upper Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay system, making for excellent fishing. Joe says, "We've got really good water quality. With the really hot weather, we have been fishing deep grass edges, ledges along channels and deep structures like rocks, which lie close to deeper, cooler water. Fishing has been good in places along the ICW from close to the bridge all the way into the Land Cut. Areas like the Kenedy Shoreline and Rocky Slough are holding lots of trout, which have been biting near rocks and deep grass beds. Fishing that pattern is easiest from the boat. If the weather cools down and the typical bull tides of September come back, we should see an improvement in sight-casting opportunities for trout, redfish and black drum in shallow water on flats in places like Yarbrough, the Meadows and the King Ranch Shoreline. When sight-casting, we favor paddletails in natural colors, which can be reeled close in front of the fish. Topwaters work great this time of year at times too."

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
Water conditions on PINS have been typically dirty through most of summer due to periodic coldwater upwellings. Trout fishing has been virtually dead due to these conditions. In fact, much of the action aside from random pup sharks has been extremely slow in the surf. With activity finally building in the tropics, a quick storm in the Gulf could bring the tides up and fix all this. As the water clears, expect large baitballs of dusky anchovies to get the action started. Skipjack, Spanish mackerel, and jackfish should be present and smashing various lures. Recovering surf conditions could also spark a late-season trout bite with excellent topwater action early and late. Mullet will be migrating to the surf tossing live or dead finger-sized ones could produce redfish and possibly tarpon. Feeding gulls will likely be further offshore early, moving closer as the baitballs drift in. Shark fishing will improve when the bait action in the surf begins to materialize mostly bulls and blacktips. Stingray numbers diminish but wise anglers still shuffle when wading.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge 956.944.4000
September is such a great month. Still hot but we will have occasional showers and storms coming through to cool things down a bit. Topwater trout action is usually very good. I like the west shoreline up north when the wind is light with a slight drizzle of rain early in the morning. Always lots of small trout in September, but still plenty of keepers and occasional big ones. Spoil banks along the ICW should also be good. Eastside grass flats are a great option on windy days mid-thigh to waist deep. Soft plastics on eighth-ounce jigs and gold spoons should do the trick. Redfish have been tough to find, but this could change as they form larger schools and make their way toward the Gulf this month. Flats adjacent to guts leading to the East Cut are always prime locations. One or two hookups are signals to slow down and fan cast the area thoroughly you might have found a school. If conditions are favorable, it is hard to beat topwaters. If not, the reds will definitely hammer weedless gold spoons.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty 956.943.2747
The tide has been starting out around noon, helping the late bite during recent trips. The daylight drift is still the best time to catch left-over action from the night before and the last of the incoming tide. The best water movement has been throughout the afternoon hours, with a strong, steady receding tide. But, late in the day, the wind picks up and conditions are rough and muddy. The answer is FP3 and Berkley Gulp! Live three-inch shrimp. Freddy says, "When the wind is helping both drift speed and casting distance, we've been able to catch limits of reds, but most of the limited-out trout days are calmer, making the deeper water fishable; occasionally you get one of those perfect days when we limit on both. FP3s are working for us in the shallows, whether clear or muddy, and in the deeper potholes." When the perch start nibbling the Gulp!, we're in the right spot to make drifts that pay off with solid hits that rip out line and put smiles on faces! Summer is for family fishing, so put life jackets on the kids, and let's stop open bay dredge disposal!