Fish Talk: October 2010

Fish Talk: October 2010
Justin Brock with a 25
As I write this we are getting pelted by the remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine. We are getting much needed rain and the best part is the storm has cooled things off for us. The end of the dog days are a joy each summer and this one is no exception. When I was a kid I used to wish summer would never end but when you fish for a living you learn very quickly that scorching sun and blistering heat for weeks on end does not make for the best of fishing conditions.

I look forward to the arrival of October. The cool, fresh air is always welcome and October is typically one of our most productive fishing months of the year. Water temperatures will decline steadily through the month and this always triggers better fishing opportunities. Important forage species for the trout and redfish will be making migrations. Shrimp will leaving the marshes and mullet and shad will be bunching up. Bird activity will be evident throughout the month as the trout and reds rip into the schools of bait and drive them to the surface. Gulls, terns and pelicans became active over schools of bait during the last week of August and this pattern will become more frequent through the rest of September and reach its annual peak sometime in late October and early November. With this rain from Hermine and the water temperatures already cooling; I'm expecting October to usher in some excellent fishing days.

During this time of year our fish are like vacuum cleaners consuming about anything they can get in their mouths. The trout will be done spawning very soon and it almost seems like all the other creatures of the natural world they are looking to lay on some fat for the winter. In Octobers past we have found schools of hungry trout under birds while wading shorelines in knee to waist deep water shortly after daylight and then finished our day as we jumped in the boat to follow the action as it moved further offshore.

While fishing from the boat and chasing birds, I always tell my fishermen to switch to heavier jig heads. Generally speaking, 1/16 and 1/8 ounce jigs are the ticket when you are wading but 1/4 and even sometimes 3/8 ounce will improve your chances for the better trout and reds that always seem to hang deeper as the smaller fish work up higher near the surface. When the action gets fast and furious I tell everybody to make sure and bring any faded or scarred up topwater plugs and any old faded plastics because when the frenzy starts they'll hit just about anything. Soft plastics that were carelessly stored and have bled their colors into one another are just what the doctor ordered. Sometimes the weirdest mottled baits produce the best fish of the day.

Most likely, the majority of my October fishing days will be spent over in East Matagorda Bay. If it happens to crowd up there or if somebody comes down with a raging case of redfish fever I'll simply head over to West Matagorda Bay. We'll have lots of options in October. For example, there will be plenty of bird action in both East or West Bay, the Diversion Channel is usually very good in October, depending the amount of rain and runoff there is always the Colorado River, all the lakes off the ICW to include Austin and Oyster Lakes, there will be bull reds at the Matagorda Jetties, and some may want to try their hand for bull reds in the surf.

My bait choices will include Bass Assassins, She Dogs, and Corkys in various colors. My favorite Assassin colors right now are plum/chartreuse, Hot Chicken, 10W40, and Chicken-on-a-Chain. Of course my topwater and Corky selections will include just about anything that has chartreuse on it.

Texas Parks and Wildlife spring population surveys for trout in East Matagorda Bay were down somewhat while West Matagorda Bay jumped up just a tad. I'm real curious to see how our fall fishing will turn out. Only time will tell. I know all bays on the Texas coast come and go in cycles; I'm just concerned about our fisheries and believe reducing the trout limit to five fish per day would be a good thing. From the clamor I hear from fishermen all up and down the coast, I'm not the only guy that feels this way.

Until next time; good fishin and God bless. Capt. Bill