Hooked Up: October 2016

Hooked Up: October 2016
Leah Crouthamel with a sporty drum she caught on a soft plastic to finish her grand slam for the day. Great accomplishment for first-time wader!

Much of the state has been hammered by rain of late but we seem to be missing the majority of it in the Coastal Bend. My heart goes out to our brothers and sisters of Louisiana as they continue their recovery from the vast flooding that took place in August. Being born there, and still having many friends and family in that great state, I am not at all surprised to see how efficient they are at taking care of themselves and neighbors as our government chooses to play par for the course in efforts to help. My hat is off to the Cajun Navy. They are a great example of what an American should strive to be.

Fishing throughout late summer was typical of the season, hot and slow. Lure fishing was tough if your goal was to target trout all day. After about 0900, we were almost forced to switch to reds and flounder. The flounder bite was amazing all summer and continues to be to date. That fishery has become a shining beacon in what more conservative regulations can do for a fishery. I am optimistic that the third year of reduced bag limits on trout will be showing a similar and significant impact as well. All signs are that we are headed in that direction.

September brought us some cooler mornings and had things hopping on the trout scene. Many days were more representative of early summer and great catches. This improved bite pattern should continue throughout October, and get even better as the winds start transitioning more from the north.

October is a true transition month for this southern part of the Texas coast. I know my salty friends north of Corpus Christi enjoy some spectacular fishing during this month, but the heat is still pretty prevalent down here, and our trout are not quite as frisky as they are in the bays up north that get cooler weather. The cooler weather that comes to us in November is usually the initial kickoff for all things good in catching larger, fatter trout.

Most of you are like me and will still need to get your fix and have your line pulled out. Although in a transition period, there are still tons of possibilities to make things happen and accomplish great days on the water. The first thing I like to do, this time of year, is fish small groups of gulls I find on the flats of the Upper Laguna. I'll be the first to admit that I am not a bird fisherman as we do not typically have the quality of fish that y'all find in the northern bay systems. But October is a little different!

As we see the baitfish and shrimp migrating to the north this time of year, you can have some great days working the birds from the boat, either drifting or using a trolling motor. In many instances, the smallest group of gulls may be working over the best trout. I check as many as possible, and as many water depths as I can until I hit the perfect group of fish. On many days, big tidal movements will have everything going crazy in the ICW, and it's about as easy a fishing day as one could have. Never discount this method and style of fishing as fishing for dinks only. I'm telling y'all, there will be some studs caught in October working the drop-off and immediate flats of the ICW.

Not into boat fishing? That's fine. Jump out and wade the west side of the ICW from the JFK to Baffin. All easy wading with mostly solid bottom. The other option is to work the spoil islands in that same stretch of the ICW. With water flowing on all sides, distinct changes in the contour and diverse structure types spoil islands are a no-brainer during the early fall run.

You can always expect plenty of topwater action when there is plenty of bait migration occurring. If you are lucky enough to catch some cooler weather, the bite on top could last all day. My favorite topwater, hands down, is the MirrOlure C-Eye Pro Dog Jr. I find it to be the perfect size during the fall and it walks with ease. Great lure!

For you worm pluggers, we are going to be using a little heavier setup than normal. I typically use a 1/4 ounce jig when boat fishing and 1/8 to 1/4 size when wading the edges of the ICW. I stay rigged up with a 5" Bass Assassin straight tail or their 4" Turbo Shad paddletail.

Remember the buffalo! Capt. David Rowsey