Reports & Forecasts: September 2018

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268
September is a transitional month, one which represents the start of our favorite time of year. We love football season, blue-winged teal, and massive schools of trout and redfish roaming the lake. At the beginning of the month, we stick to our summer patterns, but later, fronts will push baitfish out of the surrounding marshes. This creates a buffet for hungry trout and redfish. Fishing the mouth of these marshes on falling tides is very productive. Birds will help us locate hungry fish. In September, undesirable species like gafftops, sand trout, and ladyfish will be present under working birds. Shrimp imitations and topwaters will be our preferred lures this month. Often, topwaters will cull the undesirable species. If you find a group of birds where ladyfish are present, try to work soft plastics quickly through the school to trigger trout bites. Bull reds will swarm the surf all month. Soft plastics are usually effective to catch 'em, but live mullet are always irresistible. It is also arguably the best month for inshore tripletail fishing.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242
The catching has been good in deep water for James on recent trips, though the techniques he's using aren't necessarily easy to mimic. “We are catching best in seven to ten feet of water near the ship channel. Soft plastics like Bass Assassin Sea Shads and MirrOlure Lil' Johns have been working best. If the fish doesn't grab it when it hits the water, best bet is to let it sink down close to the bottom and basically reel it in slowly. If currents are running light, casts can be made in any direction from the boat. If they're stronger, most all of the bites will come while the lure is coming in with the current or cross-ways to it. Once the lure swings behind the boat, the current will pull the lure up and out of the strike zone. Normally, in August, we have good days on topwaters out along the channel, but that's been pretty slow lately. The action might pick up in September, though. When we aren't trout fishing, we'll chase the silver kings. We've been seeing some tarpon already on calm days. Our ability to consistently catch 'em usually peaks in September.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
Jim reports decent catching on 51M MirrOlures and topwaters on recent trips, but the action has been somewhat streaky at times. “We did catch several solid trout, up to nearly five pounds, on one recent outing. Customer wanted to throw MirrOlures and topwaters, and he's good with 'em. We couldn't quite produce limits, but the average size of the fish was well above average. Bite has been easier on soft plastics, for sure. As long as the tide isn't too strong and the winds are manageable, we're catching good numbers, well over 50 fish on some days. Once we get some weak fronts in September, we should have birds working and more consistent action. I'm also gearing up for hunting seasons right now. Heading over to show a couple guys around a deer lease right now. I will also be busy putting people out to shoot doves starting September 1st, and teal season follows close behind. The fields are looking good, so I expect some fast shooting and easy limits for folks who know how to handle a shotgun.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323
In September, Randall anticipates the onset of several different migrations in the San Luis Pass area. “We have been doing well in the surf, and we want to spend as much time out there as possible in September too. Normally, the approach of autumn stirs the beginnings of migrations which provide us some productive patterns to fish. In the surf, some of the pelagic fish venture close to shore to intercept schools of baitfish moving from the bays into the Gulf. Normally, we key on giant rafts of mullet along the beachfront this time of year to target everything from speckled trout to king mackerel and tarpon. When winds don't allow us to function in the surf zone, we'll target redfish along shorelines in backwater lakes and main-bay coves, throwing topwaters and soft plastics on light jigheads. When looking for trout in the bays, we fish deeper water in open areas, using Norton Bull Minnows on quarter and three-eighths ounce heads. Often, we find plenty of trout lurking under schools of migrating menhaden.”

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401
Charlie says both bays in the Matagorda area have been producing steady catches lately, and he predicts the action should remain good through the start of fall. “September is a bit better for redfish than for trout, in an average year. Of course, every year is different, but usually, when the equinox bull tides roll in, the action for reds picks up in the remote corners of the bays, in lakes adjacent to the ICW, the coves in both East and West Bay, and on shallow grass flats in both bays. Of course, trout action can still be fantastic this month, especially early in the month in the surf, when light north winds allow clear water to move all the way to the beach. Catching trout in the bays this month is easiest on live bait. We've had kids in the boat a bunch lately, and it hasn't been a problem putting them on fish using live shrimp or Gulp! products. Wading some of the mid-bay reefs early in the morning with topwaters and twitch baits can be good too. Light winds help make this plan productive, since they provide excellent water clarity.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
We've had some good fishing despite the extreme temperatures. The deep reefs and shell pads in West Matagorda Bay continue to hold solid fish, and we're catching lots of 16 to 18-inch trout. Live shrimp rigged under popping corks have worked best over reefs, while free-lining live shrimp with a split shot has worked best around shell pads. Redfish have schooled earlier than usual this year. They've been abundant along local shorelines. Quarter-ounce gold spoons and pumpkinseed/chartreuse DSL lures have accounted for the most bites. Tripletail fishing has taken off as well. We've landed several fish on live shrimp around old well pads and markers out in the bay. September is a great month to fish Palacios because we have so many options. The back lakes are loaded with redfish, the trout attract birds in East/South Bay for easy pickings, and the flounder will be staging at the mouths of drains and bayous. The surf also provides excellent potential when early north winds knock the waves down to a whisper.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn hopes to be fishing a variety of patterns in September. “Mostly, we target trout more than redfish. I like to target trout in areas with lots of grass and mixed sand pockets along shorelines with a fairly fast drop into deeper water. We'll key on rafts of mullet and make casts in and around the bright spots where we see nervous bait activity. Topwaters work well when we're fishing this way, especially early in the mornings. Small ones like Super Spook Juniors in white with either pink or chartreuse head seem to draw more strikes than the bigger lures most of the time. On other days, we'll shift our focus to shell reefs, in places like San Antonio Bay. Around the oysters, topwaters will still work at times, but soft plastics seem to be more effective on average. Most of the fish will be on top of the shell early in the mornings when the tide is moving, and they'll move to the edges of the shell, where the bottom is a mix of shell and mud in the heat of the day or when the tide is slack. We'll also fish the surf when winds allow this month.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
For Blake, September signals the anticipated return of cast and blast season. “I am anticipating some fast and easy dove hunting. We've had lots of rain, and food is plentiful for the birds all over the area. Teal hunting is always harder to predict, but we'll be working to take our share of those early ducks when the season opens in the middle of September. If I am hunting the marshes early in the morning in the air boat, I like to start my fishing close to the blinds, looking for redfish in shallow backwater areas. We find them in large herds at times just before and after the beginning of the fall season. They are often aggressive toward topwaters this time of year, which makes catching them more fun, of course. For trout, the action is usually better along deeper grass beds on main-bay shorelines where the bottom is firmer, mostly hard sand. We also do pretty well on some of the mid-bay reefs this time of year, especially when winds are light. Best lures to throw for the trout are Gulp! products and Norton Sand Eels.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
In the ULM, trout are not hanging around as long in the shallows along shorelines as they were earlier in the season because of the warmer water temperatures. They are moving into three to five feet of water a little earlier in the day this month. I’m using natural colored Bass Assassin Elite Minnows and Turbo Shads rigged on one sixteenth-ounce Spring Lock jigheads early. Then, as the day progresses and the water warms up, I usually switch to Bass Assassin Die Dappers in colors like sand trout, chicken on a chain and salt & pepper silver phantom/chartreuse, also rigged on the sixteenth-ounce jigheads. I’m still finding redfish in schools along shallow shorelines and near spoil islands. Once I spot the redfish schools, I will approach them quietly from upwind and cast to the outside edges of the groups of fish with the Die Dappers or half-ounce weedless gold spoons. Redfish and black drum continue to go after shrimp-flavored Fish-Bites in less than twelve inches of water while we are sight-casting.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | | 361.937.5961
In September, Joe finds the fishing much the same as it has been all summer, as hot weather lingers on the ULM and Baffin Bay. “Herds of reds will be prowling the shallows, especially in areas around the JFK and in Corpus Christi Bay. We have a lot of calm mornings this time of year, so it's best to look for the reds by watching for the wakes they make as the boat spooks them, then circle around and troll toward them slowly. In the heat of the day, when winds usually pick up some, finding herds in deeper water requires using good polarized sunglasses to search for orange spots on the bottom. This works well in places like Emmord's and Beacroft's Holes, when the water is clear. Trout fishing stays predictable this month. The fish prefer areas close to the shallow sand bars on spoil banks and rock bars early, then move to deeper parts of these structures, along grassy edges as the sun climbs higher in the sky. Topwater lures work well when the fish are shallow, but soft plastics produce best overall, especially on the tougher days.”

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
Here we are, facing the most dangerous (potentially) season of the year for serious surf anglers, with increased chances for hurricanes and red tide outbreaks. With the approaching fall season, the surf zone comes alive with bait migrations. Dusky anchovies in acre-size balls get driven right up on the beach by mixed schools of king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, skipjacks, jackfish, tarpon and sharks. You may not be able to target any species in particular, but topwaters and large spoons will at least reduce the chances of hooking skipjacks. Literally hundreds of screeching gulls hover above the melee, while sharks hurl themselves onto the sand chasing bait. Be alert when wading for sharks and stingrays in the shallows. Along with the baitball action, you should be able to catch trout on tops and tails in the mornings and afternoons over defined structures. Shark fishing will improve as blacktips and bulls retreat from shrimpboats to hammer baitballs nearer shore. This is a chaotic but extremely fun time in the surf. Keep an eye on the tropics!

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza | 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000
September usually brings continued light winds and some showers. The East Cut and surrounding flats offer consistently productive fishing opportunity throughout the month. The trout bite is spurred by tidal currents and redfish begin to school in the area as they prepare for their annual spawning run to the Gulf. Reds of all sizes can be expected – barely legal slots all the way to mature bulls. Don’t be surprised to find an occasional trophy speck hanging with the reds. Topwater action can be nothing short of amazing when a feeding school is located. September also offers fantastic fishing at the jetties. With the redfish heading to the Gulf, you can encounter huge schools of them off the beachfront and jetties. While you are there, the kingfish and tarpon fishing can also be phenomenal. The trout bite can be very good along ICW spoils and the Saucer area. I like to start with tops early, then switch to a KWigglers on eighth-ounce jigheads. Willow Tails and Ball Tails in Mansfield margarita, red/white, and turtle grass draw lots of thumps.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
We begin Texas International Fishing Tournament week. Every year the waters surrounding South Padre Island are filled with anglers and boats participating in the largest competition of the year. With boats entered in the bay and offshore divisions, the demands on the fishery will peak. Freddy says. “We fished it every year during the 80s and 90s, with some beautiful trophies to show for our efforts. Congratulations to all the anglers who participated this year. Hope to see you again for the next one!” When the wind is up, fishing is steady, with occasional oversized reds and some nice trout, though the numbers are down a bit from last month. We've not seen many flounder, like what we saw at this time last year. We’re throwing red FP3s with Berkley Gulp! Live shrimp on a sixteen-inch leader with an eighth-ounce screw-tight jighead, targeting potholes and drop offs. Some days are mirror calm and you might luck out on a herd, but wind is the key to drifting grassy flats in September. Be safe, and let’s stop open bay dredge disposal.