Light north winds in late summer means two things – the surf is flat and hunting season is upon us.
The Gulf gave up great catches in July and August; and, though many anglers discount the surf in September, those same trout we caught in August are still in the first gut in September (along with a few more redfish).
Boaters tossed baits in the first gut at daylight, but those willing to brave the heat really worked on trout around midday as tides fell and trout eased off the beach and staged on the edge of the second gut in about five feet of water.
When the surf produces, so does the bay; and, often boat traffic is light because everyone is in the Gulf. There are some days when the surf is so hot that the bays are devoid of boats.
The south shoreline of West Matagorda Bay has been pretty solid all summer. Sand and grass flats closer to the Port O'Connor jetty and Pass Cavallo are traditionally good this month on She Pups, Super Spook Jrs and Down South Lures.
Out of the boat, never discount Half-Moon Reef in West Bay as it has been on fire all summer while drifting with live shrimp under a popping cork.
Redfish guides in Matagorda know things get tough when water temps reach the upper 80s and tides fall 1-2 feet below normal during the summer. However, swelling September tides offer more real estate for redfish and allow all captains a chance to float the backwaters where autumn redfish roam.
The best pattern this summer for redfish has been drifting in the middle of East Matagorda Bay. All those redfish on the south shoreline had no choice but to fall to the deep shell in the middle of the bay.
The jetty should be great for reds in September. Most of the fish are near the bottom and best on live baits like finger mullet and large table shrimp.
We will be casting and blasting with dove early this month and then teal hunting Sept.11-26. Rains this summer have sweetened our marshes and provided excellent habitat for aquatics to thrive, thereby giving our waterfowl lots of food to sustain through the winter.
A word of advice: If you can get your hands on steel shot, you better buy it. We have become numb to shortages since 2020, and waterfowl loads are no exception. Don’t expect to head to the store the day before your hunt and pick up shells.
Please, please, please continue to err on the side of conservation for our oceans, bays and estuaries. Attitudes must change if we want to keep our Texas waterways sustainable for the booming population Texas produces.As professional charter captains we must step up and preach more catch and release. Attitudes are changing for the better but there is more room for improvement. We can’t continue to take, take, take and expect the bay to give, give, give. Please release more than you take.