Hooked Up: October 2011

Hooked Up: October 2011
Brooke McGee with one of many big reds that she and family landed while sightcasting the shallows.

Many of my regular clients and some new ones have begun calling already for winter and spring dates before I officially opened the books for the season. They caught me off guard with requests coming in August and all I can say is thanks, and thanks again. There are many excellent dates available for big trout season but please do not procrastinate if you must have something in particular. I look forward to seeing the old friends and making new ones.

By the time this magazine hits the shelves, I expect a portion of our audience will be slinging corn into deer feeders, brushing duck blinds, and doing last minute work to fine tune their dogs. I'll be doing a little bit of the latter two but most of my energies will be spent on getting ready for the early stages of the big trout season. Good Lord, I am looking forward to some cool weather, Simms waders, and Corky (MirrOlure-Paul Brown Originals) strikes on the end of my Waterloo.

In all seriousness, this is the time of year when I start pulling it all together for cooler weather fishing. Everything from waders, tackle, rods, reels, boats, motors, etc., will be gone through with a finetoothed comb to hopefully prevent the unexpected. Waiting until the first cool fronts drop the water temperatures is not the best time to discover that your old one-ply waders from last year "somehow got a hole in 'em" or that last year's badly coiled mono line "should have probably been switched out" or "the handle turned just fine last spring. I hear all of these on a daily basis from rookies and even the seasoned salty crowd on occasion. You can bet that by the second trip they'll have it all figured out. If you do just a few simple things before you jump on the boat for the first cool weather trip of the season, you can spend more time fishing and less time watching your organized buddy catch fish. Quick checklist: Reels cleaned, new line, new hooks on lures, check waders for leaks, clean corroded zippers on tackle bags, boots, etc., organize your layering system. Reread the checklist a second time, and a third!

I'm not big on working birds here in the Upper Laguna but October will be a time that I will not be passing any. A mass exodus of bait will be taking place in September and October and some huge results on all species are possible. A few birds, though less obvious than the traditional large flock, can still be worth a try. Fishing "under birds" provides a ton of action for young and old and can produce trophy catches to boot. I have always found it best to stay a long cast off the birds as they do their work. Many times in the Laguna the smaller fish will be closer to the surface and the larger fish near the mid-depths to the bottom.

My wading effort will be concentrated on spoil islands that run parallel to the ICW from the mouth of the Land Cut to the JFK Causeway. East and west shorelines of Nighthawk Bay, the King Ranch, and Rocky Slough will produce both quantity and quality before it gets too cold and the bait vanishes. The east shoreline of Corpus Christi Bay is a sleeper for big trout this time of year, especially in the hours just before dusk. The full moon of October has traditionally been a good one, especially if you do not mind doing some super early fishing as the moon sets in the weak light of morning. I have told many people that if I were limited to fishing only one hour every month, the moonset minor during full moon would be it.

All of my favorite three lure types will see action from this point forward. Topwaters (MirrOlure), Corky (MirrOlure), and the Bass Assassin will see equal play time in October. Bass Assassin just shipped me a new lure that roots from their original 5" rat tail configuration (my favorite). The new lure is called Vapor Shad and is also rat tail style. This bait keeps the original attributes that make it such a killer lure while adding features that will only make it more attractive. The first thing that grabbed my eye was the deeper body profile (I love this for big trout), a textured body, rubber eyes, and a split tail. As far as I know the lure has yet to hit the shelves but I can already tell you it is going to be a homerun for me and Baffin Bay.

Set 'em loose. -Capt. David Rowsey