Reports & Forecasts: September 2020

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - – 409.935.7242
James says the fishing in August has been typical for him, with no major changes expected in September. “The wading this time of year can be okay, especially early in the mornings, when tides are running high and there's plenty of water in the bays. Overall, though, fishing from the boat out in the middle around structures and shell reefs is more consistent. We've had lots of slicks popping and a few birds working already. Good mix of trout and redfish biting around such signs. The bird activity should pick up even more in September. And, the schooling reds should still be available out in the middle, creating lots of slicks and mud stirs to key on. Later in the month, when we start getting a few more fronts, we'll have a bunch of trout and reds in the back-lakes and coves, chasing shrimp falling out of the marshes. Of course, if catching big fish is the goal, September can be a great month for targeting silver kings in the nearshore waters of the Gulf. We have to get lucky and dodge any big storms, of course, but it can really be outstanding, right up into October.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service – 409.996.3054
Jim says the trout fishing has been excellent at times in and around East Galveston Bay, somewhat of a struggle at others. “We've had some really good days. As long as the water's pretty clear and conditions favor a morning bite, meaning the tide cycle is right for it mostly, we've been catching limits of trout pretty easy. If the morning tide cycle gets messed up, or the wind muddies the water, it's been tougher. I find this typical when the water goes from being really fresh all over to saltier in more places. Luckily, though, the fishing for reds has been outstanding. We're keying on slicks and birds to locate big schools of fish in the open water. The majority of the fish in these schools are over the slot, but they're lots of fun to catch. The key to catchin' 'em is to use the trolling motor to get the boat out in front of the school. They'll pretty much eat whatever you throw in there once you get it right, but it's easy to mess it up, and they can start moving faster, get hard to keep up with. In September, I'll be running teal and dove hunts, fishing less.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service  979.849.7019 – 979.864.9323
On trips made in the days and weeks prior to giving this report, Randall had been spending as much time as possible fishing the surf. “I will continue to make the beachfront the first priority, as long as conditions allow. In September, we usually have lots of hot, calm days, which make fishing the surf good. Normally, we have good numbers of two kinds of prey species in the surf this month—ribbonfish and shrimp. When the ribbonfish are thick, I like to throw slender topwaters like SkitterWalks, which are easy to work with fast, erratic retrieves and seem to mimic the shiny ribbonfish really well. To imitate the shrimp, I prefer full-sized Norton Sand Eels. In the surf, I usually rig them on Norton screw-lock jigheads, adjusting size to meet the conditions, meaning I use a bit heavier ones when the current is strong, or the waves are a bit bigger, to keep the worms down in the water. Of course, we'll use live bait accordingly, when the main plans don't seem right, given the conditions. We should start to see a few birds working over migrating shrimp this month in open areas of the bays and back-lakes. Overall, conditions and catching have been good.”

Matagorda | Bay Guide Service
Charlie Paradoski – 713.725.2401
After a summer in which west and southwest winds reduced the options somewhat in the Matagorda Area, Charlie expects September to provide plenty of excellent opportunities for fast catching. “The fish in the surf haven't really been picked on much this summer, so we'll have tons to work with if winds get light, which they usually do around Labor Day. We've had good drifting and wading in both East and West Matagorda bays lately. Most of our fish in East Bay have been caught over a bottom of mixed shell and mud. In West Bay, the artificial reefs are producing best. Soft plastics are producing well on the better days. Live shrimp working all the time too. The wading should only get better in September, especially for the reds. Topwater bite can be crazy in the coves on the south shorelines of both bays this time of year. And, the Colorado River is running salty. We've got plenty of fish in there right now. In the Diversion Channel too. Normally, in September, birds start working over schools of shrimp migrating toward the Gulf in those places, so that gives us another option for catching this month.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam – 979.240.8204
Our local bays have been producing lots of fish for us lately. The trout bite has been crazy good out in West Matagorda Bay, over deep shell pads and around the rigs. We're casting live shrimp rigged about four to five feet under Coastal Corks for best results. The average size of the fish has been excellent, with lots of sixteen to nineteen-inchers coming to hand, a few over twenty inches too. The surf had finally settled right before Hurricane Hanna hit, and we were catching easy limits of trout by seven in the morning on some days. Topwaters with some pink on them were working best, and the trout out there were ranging between about eighteen and twenty two inches on average. The redfish have started schooling in small pods by the mouths of drains and bayous and have been pretty easy to catch on live shrimp and cut mullet in shallow water. We've been focusing on points and bars in areas like this, when tides are falling. Most of the fish we're catching are excellent eaters, in the lower end of the slot. In September, we should experience excellent catching in our area, as birds start working regularly.

Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service – 361.983.4434
In September, Lynn plans on fishing around shell reefs in main bays and in some of the back-lakes in the Port O'Connor area, when targeting redfish, moving to areas with mostly sand and grass on the bottom closer to the Gulf when fishing for trout. “We'll still be chasing the trout running up and down the beachfront with the tide. Normally, we head out to the surf when it's calm and we have good tide movement in the morning hours. That seems to work best. If it's a bit windier, we'll fish some of the shallow sand flats covered with grass beds in close proximity to the Pass. We are always looking for massive rafts of bait, mostly mullet, this time of year, since the trout and redfish follow them so closely. Redfish are usually schooling in good numbers in some of the back-lakes at the start of fall. We go after them if winds have the surf mucked up, or after we get done working on our trout. In either case, we'll be throwing lots of topwaters, as long as we're getting steady action on them. Normally, soft plastics get more attention as the day wears on, especially from the reds.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
September marks the beginning of autumn, one of Blake's favorite seasons for fishing and hunting in the Coastal Bend. “I'll be running some dove hunts this month, also hoping to hunt some teal. When fishing, I'll be targeting the schools of reds, which tend to gather up on the big flats close to the deep water leading into the Gulf. Normally, we have big schools of fish on Super Flats, around Mud Island, and on the shorelines and flats in places like East Flats. Locating the schools sometimes means finding birds working over them. I also find them at times by seeing the wakes they push as they move and chase bait, sometimes by finding slicks and mud stirs. When fishing for trout this month, I like to head out to the surf if conditions allow it. If it's windier, fishing along protected shorelines with a firm sandy bottom and plenty of grass beds usually produces well. This time of year, it's often possible to have the best of both the outdoor worlds, with fast and easy fishing and plenty of birds to shoot at too. Overall, it's a great time to be out on the water or in the fields.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – [email protected] – 361.563.1160
This is a great month to target schools of redfish early in the mornings by driving along slowly in depths of water less than three feet and looking for the wakes the fish push as they move out of the way of the boat. This works best on calmer days, of course. Once a school is seen moving away from the sound of the outboard, it's best to try and avoid running right through them. Best bet is to circle upwind of them and use the trolling motor to move back within casting range. Making long casts to the outside edges of the school works best, as it tends to allow for catching some of the fish without spooking the entire school. I prefer to use natural colored Bass Assassin Die Dappers on eighth-ounce Assassin Spring-lock jigheads when targeting the redfish schools, sometimes switching over to a half-ounce gold weedless spoon. When targeting trout, we'll be free-lining live croakers along grass lines, in deeper potholes or around submerged rocks. This will also produce decent numbers of redfish and flounder. Lately, we've been catching plenty of reds, trout and black drum in shallow water on Fish-bites too.”

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez——361.877.1230
In September, when bull tides and light winds often create somewhat stagnant conditions in parts of the Upper Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay, Joe prefers fishing in parts of the area where tidal movements cause the trout and redfish to bite at predictable times. “Fishing close around the bridge and in places like Shamrock Cove and East Flats can be better than it is down south this month. A strong incoming tide early in the morning will cause the fish to bite on shallow flats adjacent to deep guts. Generally, we look for giant rafts of bait on top of shallow humps and close to the shorelines of small islands this time of year. With so much food available to the predators, it pays to stay right in the midst of concentrations of bait, especially ones where there's evidence of active predators, meaning some of the baitfish are flying out of the water in ways which show they're running for their lives. Areas on both sides of the JFK Causeway hold plenty of fish at the end of the hot season, and the water holds its clarity quite nicely on most wind conditions. Early cool fronts create excellent opportunities this time of year too.”

P. I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
361-877-3583 |
Many migrations occur along the beach this month, including an invasion of dusky anchovies. Behind these little fish, predators of all types swim. Though these anchovies usually run small, about two inches in length, I've seen eight-foot bull sharks inhaling them by the hundreds. Spanish mackerel, skipjacks, trout, tarpon and other species will be gorging on all the bait this month. Spoons will be the most productive lures overall. Topwaters will eliminate some of the smaller fish, but they can attract hordes of skipjacks at times. Catching finger mullet in a cast net will increase your chances for tangling with tarpon. Sharks will be plentiful, mainly blacktips and the smaller bulls. At the beginning of the month, tigers will still be on the prowl. Multiple stingray species will also be present, creating danger for waders. They're especially abundant around frenzies where predators are killing lots of small fish, since they tend to feed on scraps falling to the bottom. Keeping an eye on the tropics before heading out to the beachfront also makes good sense, as proved recently by the passage of Hurricane Hanna. This storm came up fast and has changed some parts of the coastline dramatically.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza – 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge – 956.944.4000
This is a good month for dove hunting and chasing schooling redfish around the East Cut. Most of the time, we find the reds close to oysters on the north side of the cut. South of the cut, they usually stay close to the spoil islands and the guts and gaps between them. People who fish for them there should proceed with caution while wading. The hurricane made the cuts deeper, and many are impossible to walk through. Topwaters work well this time of year, especially early in the mornings. Often, creating a frenzy of redfish fighting over them is a great way to locate the schools. Fishing around the cabins in the Saucer area can be productive too. Topwaters and KWiggler Ball-tails work well in that area. West Bay, the Weather Station and Butcher's Island all hold plenty of fish this time of year too, especially along the breaks from shallow to deep water. Birds should start working sometime soon. Normally, they lead us to small trout, but not always. On the calmer days, it's still a good idea to leave the options for fishing the nearshore waters and jetties in play. It's often possible to find roaming herds of reds out there.

Lower Laguna Madre—South Padre—Port Isabel
Aaron Cisneros | – 956-639-1941
Both the blazing summer heat and high levels of boat traffic have pushed many of our fish to deeper water this summer. We're finding good concentrations of mullet and other small baitfish in water ranging from three to five feet deep. Around these schools of bait, we're catching good numbers of trout ranging between eighteen and twenty five inches, and even more smaller ones. KWiggler Mansfield Margarita Ball Tails rigged on eighth-ounce screw lock jigheads fished slowly have worked best. Early in the mornings, topwaters rigged with single hooks have also earned quite a few strikes. Redfish have been scattered, mostly. We're catching them best on outgoing tides. When targeting them, we're doing best in areas with deep grass beds and plentiful bait signs. Plum/chartreuse Ball Tails have been getting more bites than other soft plastics. We're expecting the action to pick up as the weather cools down. Usually, this perks up the actively level of trout and redfish in the shallows and reduces the crowd levels somewhat. Overall, fall is probably the best season of all to fish the Lower Laguna Madre, and we look forward to some faster catching in the coming weeks.