On Galveston: October 2010

Everyone knows that late August and early September can find us still suffering dog-day weather and slow fishing, but I am pleased to report we have been enjoying better than average catching across the Galveston Bay System. Of course weather can jack with any pattern, and here the last few days we've been getting a good old-fashioned drenching from Tropical Storm Hermine. In general, though, I'd say it has been pretty good. There has been some early bird action and decent shoreline wade action along with good concentrations of trout on well pads and reefs. The ship channel has been fairly steady too. Pretty much all of East Bay and Trinity Bay are holding good numbers of trout and redfish, so it's looking like everything should be coming together for good fishing through the balance of September and all of October, barring of course any nasty tropical developments. The freshwater problem experienced in Trinity during early summer is now behind us and the salinity in the upper bay is about back to normal. Local rains should help attract lots of teal to our coastal marshes. From an ecology viewpoint, I'd say we're real good shape as long as Hermine does not flood us out again.

Trinity Bay is already showing typical early-fall patterns. Most fish are moving up the channel and then following the bait into the northern reaches of the bay where they kind of concentrate for the fall and early winter before it gets too cold. Then they will fall back down to the south end. The patterns of old are pretty much going to pay off for this year too. A lot of people are going to look for diving gulls and work those birds to get their numbers of trout. I'm looking forward to some really good fall wade fishing; I think we're going to have a good shallow fall. Shrimp crops and shad populations are way up. The fish are hanging close to the bait and therefore easy to pattern, however I think there days when the bait is so thick the fish aren't too anxious to take a lure. If you're not in the right area on the right school of fish when they decide to light it up for 30 to 40 minutes, then you are going to lose out and will have to grind around the rest of the day to get your fish. I don't think we have the amount of fish we should have by this time of year; we are still running behind by about a month as far as migration habits through the bay. Even so, Trinity Bay is A+. They are pouring in; slowly but surely.

East Bay is loaded up with fish in the lower channel area. Even the well pads are still producing fish on the lower Galveston Channel. That's unheard of for early September, yet they are still out there, a month later than normal. It seems the bulk of them are down in the lower Galveston and East Bays and parts of West Bay this year. The pass behind San Luis pass has been a little slow, though. It's been a real off year down there. What is really odd is that the jetties are having their best speckled trout action of the year here in early September, which is usually more of a June or early July thing. I guess you live to see it all.

The bull reds are reported to be holding just off the beach in about 20' to 30' of water and there are millions of them. It looks like the peak of the bull red run for nearshore and surf will be coming up around the fall equinox. Surf anglers should have a ball with them on the days when the wind and tides let the water clean up and settle down.

Overall, the bay systems are in great shape. Our fall season is just now getting underway and if everything holds we should see an unbelievable October, November, and possibly December, depending on whether we are going to have a real cold winter this year. Personally, I don't look for a cold or wet winter. I think it is going to be a wade fisherman's dream, especially this November and December. There ought to be some really solid trout caught throughout the winter wade fishing season.

For now, my go-to baits are soft plastics and I have been throwing a lot of the Big Nasty brand. I have also been trying out a new bait from MirrOlure called the Little John. This is a lightly-scented lure and the fish seem to like it so far. To be really honest though; if you're on fish they all pretty much work. And if you're not, they don't. Some days the old reliable strawberry shrimptail with the white tip will put them in the boat as quick as any.

So far, topwater action has just not happened; it's sporadic at best. We will get a little schooling action on top, but most of the fish we are catching on topwater have been out of the boat, troll-motoring slicks and tide breaks, in 6 to 8 feet of water using Super Spooks, Top Dog Jrs, and such. I look forward to the topwater bite getting better in the fall, though, when we start our wade fishing in earnest. Gold spoons, such as the weedless Johnson Silver Minnow in 3/4 ounce are working real good on reds out of the boat.

For now, fishing is good in lots of places around the Galveston Bay System and we should be in for a great fall season.