Hooked Up: October 2014

Hooked Up: October 2014
Luke Molak with a BIG late-summer flounder. (Bass Assassin paddle-tail plastic.)
I must say; it feels like the never-ending summer with heat index numbers that refuse to get under the 100 mark. Hopefully October is going to grant us cooler weather–I am definitely ready for it.

October has always been hit or miss for us down south in the coastal bend. In fact, both October and November can be a puzzle, even for the guys that are on the water every day. Saying that, it is still Baffin–and that means you always have a chance. I will certainly be in the water trying for the best available, but will also be spending lots of time slinging arrows and savoring the aroma of gun powder residue. Life is good.

As my charter books start filling up from December through June of '15, I use this slow time to get prepared for the upcoming fishing season. The phone calls, text messages and emails are enough of an incentive to get me motivated and ready for the beginning of my busiest time of the year. If you are a grinder in pursuit of giant winter/spring trout, I would advise you to do the same. You never know when a buddy or favorite fishing guide is going to call and say, "It's on!"

In all seriousness, this is the time of the 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 fine tooth comb to hopefully prevent the unexpected, and be prepared for those moments of triumph over Mother Nature.

As the first cool fronts settle in and water temperatures begin dropping, this will not be the time to find out that your old one-ply waders from last year–somehow got a hole in 'em, or that last year's badly-coiled mono–should have probably been switched out. I just hate hearing–I haven't used 'em since last spring; no idea why the handle won't turn. I hear these kind of statements on a daily basis from rookies, and occasionally even the seasoned crowd. You can bet that by the second trip they have it all figured out, as they only want to be paying me as their guide not an expensive on-the-water reel repairman.

If you will take the time 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 well-organized buddy catch fish. Quick checklist: Reels cleaned, new line, re-hook old lures or buy new, check waders for leaks, rework corroded zippers on tackle bags, boots, etc., organize your layering system.

High tides have moved in from the influence of a couple small tropical systems in the gulf. Any new water we get into this landlocked system is a blessing in the long run. Fall equinox tides will also give us another push of gulf water in the coming weeks. This is all great news for the bay system, and for us as fishermen.

The higher water is pushing me with clients closer to the shorelines in pursuit of areas that have had almost no water on them. Deep potholes has been the norm of late; however, that pattern is changing rapidly, and will continue throughout the fall. We will be spending more time on the King Ranch Shoreline and the flats that make up the southern shoreline of Baffin. Both of these areas are heavily laden with a ton of structure, most being in the form of sand, grass, and potholes. Slight deviations on the bay bottom, say a 6- to 12 inch drop (anywhere along these flats), will always receive some heavy focus and lots of casting effort.

Overall, the topwater bite has been very slow. I look for that to change as we receive our first couple of cold snaps. For whatever reason, I like the original MirrOlure Top Dog up on these flooded flats. The rattle is more of a "thud" sound versus the higher-pitched rattle of the rest of the Dog series. Maybe it's just a confidence thing, but that older model lure still produces for me, big time.

If topwater plugging is not your game, I would have a 5" Bass Assassin rigged on a 1/16 ounce jighead. I prefer the Pro Elite series by Bass Assassin. It is just a deadly little hook and a small amount of lead. I have never found any other jig that can dance through the grass like this one–without getting continually snagged up.

Remember the buffalo! -Capt. David Rowsey