Reports & Forecasts: September 2019

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service – 337.598.3268
With August winding down and September fast approaching, we'll start the month fishing in much the same way we finished the last. September usually starts off really hot but ends up with much more comfortable temperatures. On Calcasieu, it's a transitional month, with the trout spawn starting to wind down and the fish beginning to behave more in fall patterns than summer ones.  Shrimp start migrating with the first hint of north winds, and this kicks off the bird activity, which usually becomes steady and predictable by the second or third week of the month. Fishing birds can be fun and action-packed, but we have other productive patterns available this month too. We sometimes find ourselves working the same reefs and flats we frequented in April and May.  The three main types of lures, topwaters, slow-sinking twitch baits and soft plastics all work well this time of year to catch trout.  Redfish are usually willing to eat a variety of lures too, especially the slot fish schooling in the middle of the lake.  We always look forward to September, as it generally kicks off some of the best catching of the year for us.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - – 409.935.7242
September marks the transition from deep-water summer patterns to fall patterns for James. And, this is a prime month for targeting the silver kings in the Gulf, he says. “We usually put a priority on chasing tarpon in the nearshore waters this month if the weather cooperates, meaning we have enough calm days to allow us to get out there and spend the time looking for them. If we're fishing the bays for trout and reds, we'll still be doing some slick-hopping, looking for fish in fairly deep, open water early in the month, with a move to shallower spots later. We've had good concentrations of fish in the isolated pockets of salty water in Lower Galveston Bay and West Bay lately. We're finding them by searching for slicks and mud stirs. Catching has been best on Bass Assassin Sea Shads rigged on medium-sized jigheads when the current's lighter, heavier ones when the tide's stronger. In September, we usually find some good concentrations of redfish schooling in areas close to San Luis Pass and the ship channel, and it can be a great time to catch fish in the upper end of the slot and over-sized ones too.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service – 409.996.3054
Jim had been riding around, scouting some of the fields he intends to use for dove and teal hunts, when he gave this September forecast. “I'll be organizing quite a few hunts for doves and teal next month. Right now, it looks like we're set up for some good action on those. As always, weather plays a big role in our success with the birds. If the doves have plenty to eat close to the coast, we do well. Our fishing continues to be even more dependent on the weather. Lately, it's been pretty good, because we've had some calmer conditions. In summer, with the water continuing to run pretty fresh in lots of areas, we need calm winds and good tide movements to create a steady bite. On the best days, an incoming tide in the morning brings salty water into parts of East Bay close to the ship channel and the pass, and the trout bite pretty good. September can bring more of the same, and the reds start biting better in the marshes and out in East Bay, around the reefs too. If we don't get more big rains, we should find plenty schooling out there.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service  979.849.7019 – 979.864.9323
In September, Randall expects the fishing on the flats behind San Luis Pass to be excellent, especially for redfish. “Really, this month is all about the menhaden. In a normal year, they are numerous on the flats behind the pass and in the surf in September, so the trout and redfish gorge on them while they can. When they are doing so, slicks are generally easy to find. Other signs leading us to the action are wheeling and diving terns and other birds. Sometimes, it's pretty easy to find the schools of reds by looking for the wakes and mud-boils they make when they are chasing down the menhaden. As far as catching goes, we have great luck throwing the old Woody Woodpecker SkitterWalk when the shad are thick. If the fish aren't quite as aggressive and the topwaters aren't working, we normally switch over to Norton Sand Eels in colors like glow and silver glitter/chartreuse tail rigged on three-eighths ounce jigheads. We will still try the surf if it's flat. This time of year is a great one for a variety of species out there, everything from bull reds to trout, Spanish macks and the occasional stray member of a pelagic species.”

Matagorda | Bay Guide Service
Charlie Paradoski – 713.725.2401
Charlie had been spending a lot of time wading in West Matagorda Bay in the weeks prior to offering this advice. “Fishing has been really good this summer in the Matagorda area. I've been wading West Bay more than anything else, catching plenty of fish pretty easy most days. Down there, we focus on finding large schools of mullet and other baitfish, then throw topwaters and tails mostly. The trout have been more plentiful than the reds lately, but that sometimes changes in September. We usually get a push of higher tides, and the reds show up in better numbers in the northeast corner of West Bay and along the shorelines in East Bay. Since they're feeding up in advance of their migration to the gulf, they are usually feeding aggressively. It's not uncommon to catch dozens on topwaters when they are in this kind of mood. Fishing for trout in the middle of East Bay will still be productive this month. Birds might start working on a regular basis. And, of course, we might get a few more shots at the fish out in the surf, if the calm conditions we've had linger into the month.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam – 979.240.8204
Fishing has been really good in our local bays and surf lately, with trout biting steadily on deep bay reefs and around well heads. Live shrimp rigged about five feet under popping corks have worked best for catching them. The average size of the trout has been improving over the last couple weeks, with lots of fish running between eighteen and twenty inches. Out in the surf, the trout are running about the same size or a bit larger, taking SheDogs in chrome and chartreuse early and white ice DSL's later in the day. Fishing for reds has picked up momentum too, with lots of slot fish staging around the mouths of sloughs and drains. Three-inch Gulp! shrimp in pearl white have been the best baits to throw at these fish as they forage along the grassy shorelines, eating shrimp. The reds have been averaging in the low end of the slot, the perfect size for grilling. Some pretty big tripletail have shown up around visible structures, others under mats of floating grass.  We target the surface fish with corks and a short leader to dangle the shrimp, moving the shrimp as much as five feet under the cork for submerged fish.

Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service – 361.983.4434
In September, Lynn hopes to continue fishing in the surf as much as he had been in the weeks prior to giving this report. “Lately, we've been catching some pretty good trout along the beachfront. It's been calm and hot much of the time, which is great for the fishing out there. Our best luck has been early in the mornings, throwing topwaters in the shallows close to the shore. On some of the days, we've been able to continue catching well up into the day, when we moved out a little deeper and fished with soft plastics in the deeper guts between the outer bars. If we aren't able to hit the surf as much in September, I'll still want to stay close to the pass and fish grassy, sandy flats, trying to catch some of the bigger trout. An incoming tide in the morning helps if that is the plan. We will throw topwaters and also some of the slow-sinking twitch baits like SoftfDines and others when fishing the flats. On some of the windier days, we may find ourselves in the back-lakes, searching for tailing redfish early in the mornings. September is usually a good month for pursuing the reds”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
September will mark the beginning of the cast and blast season for Blake, and he looks forward to lots of action in a variety of places this month. “In September, we'll hunt teal and doves a few times, and we'll be fishing too. I've been scouting some of the backwater areas where we typically hunt ducks, and the marshes have plenty of reds in them. We normally target reds first after we get done with a duck hunt, looking for schools in the lakes in the air boat, then move on out to the main-bay shorelines to fish for trout after that. Lately, our fishing for both trout and reds has been steady. The trout have been biting best early in the morning, taking topwaters pretty aggressively soon after it starts getting light. Of course, soft plastics like Norton Sand Eels in dark colors with bright tails are working too. And, we're fishing with live croakers a good bit. That will start to wind down in September, and we'll fish with lures more of the time. This is a great month to find reds schooling on the big flats adjacent to deep passes connecting the bays to the gulf, in the vicinity of Port Aransas.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – [email protected] – 361.563.1160
“This has been one great summer overall, especially for catching fish. I haven't found the number of schools of redfish that I became accustomed to from past years, but there are still plenty of fish out there. Of course, one thing to make sure of when trying to pursue the schools is not to crash through them on the outboard motor. Once they are seen, it's important to move upwind of them and drift and troll toward them using as much stealth as possible. Once the boat moves within casting range of the front edge of the school, it's best to stop the movement of the boat and make a long cast toward the outside edge of the school. I like to use a half-ounce spoon or a five-inch swim bait like a natural colored Bass Assassin Die Dapper. Lately, we've had good luck wading in really shallow water and sight-casting for reds, black drum and trout. When working this drill, we often throw the Bass Assassin Elite Shiner in the Houdini color. A few weeks ago, we caught a thirty-one and half inch trout on it. So, we're loving the Die Dappers and Elite Shiners!”

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez – – 361.877.1230
September fishing in the ULM/Baffin Bay area can be hit or miss, and the most productive areas can vary, depending on the type of weather we're having, according to Joe. “If we start getting a few decent fronts, the fishing on the north shoreline of Baffin and in the ULM between the JFK and Baffin can be pretty good. Mostly, the trout and reds will be hanging out in the really shallow water early, moving toward the deeper edges of the grass beds during the heat of the day. The fronts seem to stir things up a little and improve the potential down south. If it's hot and calm most of the time, the catching can get a little stale in the hypersailne lagoons. If that happens, the action in Corpus Bay in places like the Boat Hole and East Flats can be better. Those locations have more consistent tidal movements, which keep the predatory fish feeding better even when it's hot and calm. The water is in exceptional shape in those areas right now, really really clear, which should allow for plentiful opportunities at sight-casting as we get into the early parts of the fall season.”

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
361-877-3583 |

September brings up two major developments for surf anglers. First, this is the time of the peak of hurricane season.  Any tropical system in the Gulf has potential to push tides to the dunes.  Surf anglers and beach travelers should remain alert to marine forecasts to avoid being stranded. Second is the onset of bait migrations. Right now, dusky anchovies should be running the Coastal Bend surf, which will create a scenario involving as many or more working birds as any other during the year. Bait-balls get pushed to shore by predators, including skipjacks, Spanish and king mackerel, tarpon, sharks, redfish, bluefish, speckled trout and others. The sheer numbers of anchovies can turn the surf a rusty maroon color; tossing a spoon into the melee can produce strikes from a wide variety of attackers. Free-lining a live skipjack during frenzies can produce tarpon.  Further into the month, hammerheads and tiger sharks take a back seat to blacktips, spinners, and bulls. Stingrays will be plentiful; waders should shuffle their feet with every step.  Given all the activity and the potential for catching so many species, it's a great time to get out and enjoy the action on the beach!

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza – 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge – 956.944.4000
September is one of my favorite fishing months and promises to be action-packed in South Texas. Redfish begin schooling in preparation for their annual spawning migration and hunting gets underway with the opening of dove season. Slick-calm mornings make it easy to locate redfish schools. One of the best places will be along flats of the East Cut, especially near cuts between spoil islands. If you enjoy chunking topwaters, there is nothing like seeing several fish fighting over it. If by chance you don't get the topwater action you are looking for, go with the old trusty gold weedless spoon. If you are looking for trout, try waist- to chest-deep around the old Weather Station. Try topwaters early but do not hesitate to tie on a KWiggler Ball Tail with an 1/8 oz jighead. My favorite colors are Lagunaflauge, Mansfield Margarita, Bone Diamond and Pink Flomingo. The East Cut jetties are another good place to locate schooling redfish; here we key on gulls and pelicans feeding on bait pushed to the surface. We also frequently find kingfish, jack crevalle, sharks and sometimes tarpon. Have some wire leaders handy!

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Aaron Cisneros | – 956-639-1941
Continuous summer heat waves blister South Padre Island, but fishing has remained quite consistent, on average. Not surprising, best catches have been coming during very early morning hours and again in late afternoon. Lately, most of our best trout catches have been found while focusing on deeper grassbeds and along ICW drop-offs. Topwaters have been good for solid keeper trout in early morning. KWiggler Ball Tails (plum-chartreuse) on 1/8 screwlock jigs have been bringing plenty of action over deeper grass when topwater action fades, but finding keepers requires working through lots of small fish. Please handle them carefully! Redfish are beginning to school on flats along the ICW. Focusing on flats adjacent to deep water and spoil islands has been producing better numbers than shallow back bays. Super Spook Jr (bone) with single hooks and weedless gold spoons are best lure choices for reds in grassy situations. I expect September’s cooler temperatures will improve the topwater bite in shallow water for both trout and redfish. Higher tides later in the month will improve fishing in back bays and many flats areas.