Reports & Forecasts: September 2017

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

September ushers in our favorite time of year: autumn.The first cold fronts and strong outgoing tides of the year will bring about a transitional period for both trout and redfish. Trout will begin moving back into northern portions of the estuary. They'll be in search of shrimp that pour out of marshes and bayous with every passing cold front and its associated outgoing tide. Redfish will also start making their move out of shallow marsh ponds on outgoing tides and congregate at the small cuts and bayous that drain their summer homes. These fish seem extra hungry in the fall of the year, so they feed actively on a daily basis, taking advantage of the abundance of bait-fish and shrimp, which become scarce by mid-December. Shrimp imitations work this time of year, as do topwaters. Be on the lookout for diving seagulls as well as trout and reds breaking the surface. These are tell-tale signs of actively feeding fish that normally show readiness to strike at most anything which crosses their paths.

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

At the time of this report, James had been fishing hot-weather patterns for trout and redfish.“We're fishing deep structures out in the bay, around well pads and other submerged structures.On some days, we have to cull through lots of gafftops and sand trout to catch the specks. They bite for a short period of time on the turn of the tide.We've had a good bite over the tops of some of the reefs lately too, and some birds have been working, making it easy on those days.In a typical year, we start catching fish in the upper reaches of the bay system in September, around the wells in Trinity Bay, places like that, and birds start working more of the time.When the birds aren't working, we wind up searching for fish around slicks and mud-stirs.Bass Assassins in natural colors that look like shrimp work best to catch 'em.Tarpon fishing has been good when weather allows us to get after 'em.We've caught quite a few fish up to 140 pounds on recent trips.September and October are prime months for catching the really big silver kings.

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
“Our fishing has been hit or miss.On some of the better days, catching is pretty easy, with trout up to four or five pounds.On other days, we are struggling to deal with the winds.It's hard to cope with wind when we're working typical summer patterns, in six to nine feet of water, targeting fish around reefs and under slicks.We're hitting some schools of big bull reds around mud-stirs when we have light winds and enough sunlight to see the color changes.We have had a decent topwater bite fairly far up into the morning hours on some days, so that's exciting.Soft plastics do work better than topwaters on a lot of days this time of year, though.Normally, in September, we start to see a little better consistency in the catching.The birds usually start working more regularly once the fronts start dumping water out of the back lakes.Right now, I'm gearing up for hunting seasons.Once September rolls around, I'll be splitting time between the blinds and the boat.It's a great time of year to come to the coast.Fall weather is a relief after the hot summer.”

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

“I'll be looking for the big schools of migrating shad during September.All our fish follow the schools once they become thick.Seems like everything perks up once those menhaden arrive.Some years, fish strike topwaters and twitch-baits shaped like the shad real good once they show up.Fishing gets better on the reefs and mud-flats further from the pass as the season wears on, not quite as good in areas immediately adjacent to the pass.Lately, we've had some days with a decent topwater bite, but most of the action occurs right at daybreak, and doesn't last once the sun gets up a little bit.That should change some in September, which can offer better action on floating plugs on a consistent basis.Mostly, we'll be targeting our fish with the old stand-by soft plastics like Norton Sand Eels in colors like red magic and other dark ones.If we're wading around shallow reefs, we'll rig 'em on light jigheads like an eighth-ounce, but when we're tossing 'em out of the boat around slicks and mud-stirs and under working birds, we'll use heavier heads.”

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service | 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037

Several productive patterns present themselves to anglers in the Matagorda area as summer transitions into fall.Tommy says, “The surf still produces pretty good on calm days early in September, so we'll head out there if we can.We also like to target schooling reds in the coves of West Bay this time of year, especially if low tides drive all the fish into the deeper guts and drains.When that happens, small topwaters and dark soft plastics work well to catch easy limits.Trout fishing around the reefs and in places with scattered shell over a mostly mud bottom in East Bay is generally better than on the shorelines, especially if catching numbers of keepers is the goal.Keying on slicks and color changes in the water will lead to the fish if the birds aren't working.It is possible to catch a few big trout wading the coves and shallow reefs on the shorelines of East Bay too, especially in low-light conditions, when winds aren't blowing too hard.Slow-sinking lures like FatBoys and Catch 5s produce a few big bites, and topwaters do too.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204

We have been having a great bite in our bays, in the surf, and around deep shell-pads in West Matagorda Bay. The surf has been on fire when winds allow us to fish it.Solid trout up to twenty three inches have been hammering topwaters at first light. Pink SkitterWalks and Bone Spook Juniors have been the most productive plugs. Our deeper shell-pads out in West Matagorda have also been great. The hot temperatures have the fish holding in about twelve to fourteen feet of water, around old and new wells with solid shell on the bottom. Free-lined live shrimp and Cajun pepper VuDu shrimp have accounted for most bites. Fishing for reds has been great as well.Slot-fish have been thick in the marsh, chasing shrimp and shad. VuDu Mambo Mullet in pearl/chartreuse as well as the old reliable quarter-ounce gold spoon have been our favorite lures for them. September is one of my favorite months to fish, with redfish schooling, early northers knocking down the surf, and flounder action picking up as temperatures drop.

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

In September, Lynn expects to continue fishing hot-weather patterns during the first part of the month.“We'll be working the surf anytime we can, when the wind and weather allow.When we're in the bays, we'll focus on areas with a sandy bottom with some scattered grass beds, targeting trout.We like to spend most of our time on flats about waist to chest-deep, in areas where we find good concentrations of bait-fish.In the early-morning hours, we normally find quite a few redfish up in the really shallow parts of the flats, where it's grassier.So, we like to start off after them, throwing small topwaters right next to the bank, or on top of the shallowest parts of the bars if we're wading spoils or mid-bay humps.Then, we normally move a little deeper and focus on the trout.Soft plastics work better than the topwaters once the sun moves well above the horizon, on most days.Later in the month, when the water cools down some, we'll probably fish the back-lakes a little more often, especially when north winds push the tide out.”

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

With the start of autumn just around the corner, Blake is anticipating the beginning of his cast-and-blast season.“I'll be hunting teal and doves starting in September.Hoping for some fast shooting in the fields and marshes for them.When fishing, I like to target redfish in the back-lakes, working my way out of the marshes after the hunt.We also find redifsh schooling in areas close to the pass this time of year, so I might spend some time chasing them.When targeting trout, I like to fish areas with a sandy, grassy bottom on shorelines adjacent to drains leading into the marshy areas.We normally have the best bite mid-day in water about waist-deep or so.On some days, topwaters and sinking twitch-baits work well, but soft plastics like Norton Sand Eels in dark colors with chartreuse tails produce bites more consistently.We also have good luck fishing for trout around some of the mid-bay reefs in the area this time of year.Light winds improve the water quality and make fishing the shell humps more productive.”

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

When September arrives, it’s back to school for all our young ones.Schools are also open for our redfish in the Laguna Madre.This is a good time to look for redfish early in the mornings, while the winds are calm.The big schools will be easy to spot by running slowly across shallow flats that are three feet or less in depth, looking for their wakes.Once seen, the best drill is to work upwind from them and quietly approach the school with a trolling motor, by drifting or using a push pole. Casts should be made to the outside edges of the school with a natural-colored Bass Assassin Die Dapper rigged on an eighth-ounce Spring Lock jighead or a half-ounce weedless gold spoon.Crowds will diminish on the water, so it's a good time for serious trout fishermen to look for their trophy trout.My target areas for trout will be around shallow rocks, grass lines, drop offs and sandy potholes.Because the water in the Laguna is in great shape, I’ll be using the natural-colored Bass Assassins. Free lining live croakers in these areas will also be productive.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | | 361.937.5961
Water quality continues excellent in the Baffin/ULM system, and Joe expects to experience plenty of sight-casting opportunities in September, as a result.“We've had pretty good fishing lately on some medium-low and low tides, but normally, the autumnal equinox sends a bull tide rising this month.That usually means we get a push of clear, ocean water in upper parts of the ULM.If and when this happens, fishing for redfish and a few big trout in shallow parts of the Boat Hole area, the Crash Channels and on the flats of Laguna Shores can be excellent during the middle of the day, under bright sun, with moderate winds.On cloudier days, or when winds are too strong to allow for good sight-casting opportunities, we have better luck targeting our fish on deeper grass edges in places like Emmord's and Beacroft's Holes, throwing soft plastics rigged on fairly heavy jigheads, to keep them in pretty close contact with the bottom.This pattern also produces well when the tides remain low, rendering some of the shallowest parts of the area high and dry.”

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
As we close in on September, things are heating up in the tropics. Keep an eye on weather forecasts as storms anywhere in the Gulf of Mexico can greatly affect tides on PINS. Driving the beach can become dangerous. Sargassum seaweed has diminished to scattered patches. Huge schools of dusky anchovies will appear this month. Numerous species feed on them as they approach the surf zone - skipjacks, Spanish and king mackerel, tarpon, and a variety of sharks. The surf sea trout bite has been above average this year. Expect that to continue through October. With a large variety of species demolishing anchovies in the surf, it becomes tricky to avoid them when seeking trout. Later in the month, jackfish and slot-redfish will become abundant. Spoons and large topwaters are effective on jacks and sometimes tarpon.Waders should be extra watchful for sharks and stingrays in the shallows. Though it may not always feel like it, September marks the beginning of the fall season – and the best surf fishing on PINS!

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza | 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000

We're looking forward to calmer days and cooling September rains. With cooler weather, the jetties and beachfront should really turn on. Tarpon, kingfish, jack crevalle, bull reds and several species of sharks will congregate at the tips of the jetties. Watch for bait-balls below diving pelicans and gulls. Frenzied feeding always includes lots of surface explosions. Steel leaders are recommended with all lure types. Trolling Rapala CD-18 Jointed Divers and Russell Lures is a great option. Redfish and trout action will also be very good. The west shoreline always comes alive with light winds. Start with topwaters early and switch to plastics on eighth-ounce heads later. Spoil banks and belly-deep potholes also hold lots of fish. The Saucer area east of the cabins is another place to try. Reds usually school in and around East Cut this month. We like to start with topwaters to locate the schools but often switch to spoons and plastics to increase the hook-up ratio. September is great at Port Mansfield, especially if you sneak in a dove hunt.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747

We have just come through the toughest time of the year for charter fishing. Many mornings the bay is completely calm, giving the impression that the boat is sitting on a mirror. It's beautiful, but steamy hot! Freddy and I usually take a vacation during TIFT weekend, knowing from experience, that boat traffic and tournament pressure will make fishing difficult. For many years, we would be excited by the opportunity calm conditions presented to find herds of redfish boiling away from the boat, all tails flipping at the same time moving in the same direction in a perfectly coordinated attempt to look like one large fish instead of a bunch of smaller individuals. We still occasionally find small pods to attack, but it isn’t a sure bet the way it used to be. Freddy always says, “Don’t expect to see the big schools after the first good norther of the year.” We’ve had a few very productive days on reds throwing Berkley Gulp! three-inch shrimp under FP3, but the real story has been trout and flounder this summer. Let’s help stop open bay dredge disposal!