On Galveston: October 2013

On Galveston: October 2013
Nathan Grimm, 9 yrs old, 40-inch red that weighed 28.4 lbs, caught on 12lb line! Released.
It would be hard to imagine that fishing across the entire Galveston Bay Complex could ever be better; that's how good it has been here lately. Trout are still being found in large schools, continuing in the same pattern they have been in for months. I'm still working deep structure in that magical 6 to 8 foot range over shell; that's where the big ones are right now. In years past, when I've observed this pattern holding as it has, the shorelines nearest these structures will become our prime target areas once the water cools and the transition to shallower habitat begins to occur.

As far as the outlook for our fall season, I'd say it looks extremely good for all styles of fishing, especially in East Galveston and Trinity Bays. Populations of trout and redfish are strong and should accommodate the fall angling pressure that is sure to come as the weather continues to moderate.

As far as what we term the fall transitional period, we usually see the first signs of trout and redfish schools moving away from the deep water structure about mid-September but so far no signs of that happening. As water cools with the arrival of early season frontal systems, shrimp will leave the marshes and bayous and the smaller school trout and redfish will start their normal foraging process as winter approaches. Bird action will become more consistent on a daily basis and so will the shifts of morning and afternoon bird runners blistering up the bays in pursuit of an easy limit. Veteran anglers will lay back and watch, politely and quietly stalking and targeting bigger fish in the shallows and deeper flats, staying clear of the circus trying to work birds.

Some anglers will concentrate on primary points and guts near bayou mouths targeting the much awaited fall flounder run that is always sure to happen for the patient fisherman. It's all about to come together for all of us that fish hard throughout the summer and pray for cooler weather that we all know is on the way, but just don't know exactly when. It is mostly a weather-driven event and always eventually comes, just a bit later some years than others.

Once our fall transition begins in earnest the fish seem to start to gang up early along flats chasing shad balls and are therefore constantly moving. Depending on the shrimp crop, and with these drought conditions we will have to wait and see whether the shrimp migration will be strong and sustained or generally weaker and intermittent. The last couple of years have been spotty for bird working due to generally low numbers of shrimp and I cannot help but think the drought is to blame.

Fishing right now is lights out for the experienced lure fishermen and bait slingers alike. This past week was one to remember for the groups I've taken as several caught the biggest specks of their careers on a variety of soft plastic baits in deep water. Tidal Surge Split Tails, MirrOlure Lil' Johns, and even some ancient Kelley Wiggler shrimptails I dug out of my tackle room. Darker colors; smoke, plum, strawberry, and red shad are all working very well for us.

Even the redfish are responding to these darker colors the best. Pretty much double limits every day of trout and redfish can be made in a full day's effort with solid numbers of trout over 23 inches and up to 28 and 29 inches. One particular trip this week we caught and released 12 trout over 25 inches and 2 more over 28 inches, with a box of 20 to 24 inch trout, topped off with limits of perfect mid-slot reds to boot. Like I said at the beginning, it would be hard to imagine anything better.

The bays are healthy and fall is just around the corner. Please practice catch and release, I believe it's starting to pay off. -Capt. Mick