Mid-Coast Bays: October 2008

Mid-Coast Bays: October 2008
Cold fronts like this one will be moving through more often in October.
Well, we made it through another hot summer. The fishing in September was up and down for the Rat Pack. Some days were stellar in San Antonio and Espiritu Santo Bays and the next day my speckled friends just wouldn't give us or our Bass Assassins a second look or the time of day.

We are happy to report that our trout, for the most part, seem to be running larger than we've seen in previous years. Lately it seems the norm has become at least one fish over 25-inches and we've had more than a few days when we landed several. The many shell reefs in San Antonio are holding lots of oversized reds. The fish we have been catching around the reefs are mostly over the 28-inch mark. On a recent trip everyone on the boat caught and tagged an oversized redfish in an area barely larger than your average living room.

Throughout this past summer we received much less than average rainfall here locally as well as all across the Guadalupe River watershed. What this means to San Antonio Bay anglers is that we have enjoyed what I would call "normal" salinity; much like we used to get when Cedar Bayou was open and every incoming tide brought us another push of salty water from the Gulf of Mexico. For those of us who enjoy San Antonio Bay, this means we can fish anywhere we like throughout the bay system with trout green water and the promise of our speckled friends inhabiting all the reefs and all the shorelines.

Our lure preference hasn't changed much all summer. We are still throwing 1/16 oz. Assassin jigs with the Bass Assassin 4-inch Sea Shad, Swimming Shiner, and the Texas Assassin. The colors we have been sticking with are roach, pumpkinseed, and drunk monkey.

One very important tip to remember when fishing the reefs or shorelines during October is that you must have patience. The fish will begin schooling much more tightly than they were in August and September. The trout will be so tight that if you don't place your lure within a 10 ft. radius of a point or hump in the reef or a similar feature on the shoreline you may think there is not a fish for miles. So remember to keep plugging until you get your first bite and then plant your feet and don't move until you have fished the area thoroughly.

Being patient and fishing an area thoroughly is something I can't stress enough to my customers when fishing reefs this time of year. If one guy decides to move towards the fish before we have worked the area thoroughly, the school will move and the bite will be shut down for the whole group. Pay special attention to your fishing partner when you are fighting and landing a fish. Make sure he doesn't walk into the area where you just hooked up. It's always better to stay back and fire a long cast than it is to creep forward and spook them, especially when wading shell bottoms.

Another productive option for this time of year is to chase the birds. The largest shrimp migration of the year occurs soon after the first few cold fronts and you can witness some outstanding trout and redfish action under the birds. This bird action occurs all over the bay system, but I prefer to fish the birds near the head of San Antonio Bay close to Seadrift. I've always found that I could catch larger fish under the birds in these areas.

I feel it would be appropriate to remind everybody how dangerous it can be to wade without stingray protection. I know of three confirmed incidents of wading fishermen being hit by stingrays in the last couple of weeks here in the Port O' Connor/Seadrift area. How so many fishermen can get in the water without protection remains a mystery to me.

Foreverlast Hunting and Fishing Products makes a line of stingray protection products for fishermen and the way I see it they are cheap insurance. If you cannot afford the Ray Guard Wading Boot that offers stingray protection from the sole of your foot to the upper part of the calf, you try a pair of the Ray Guard Shields which sell for a great deal less and can be worn over your existing wading boots. The Ray Guard Shield will protect you from the top of your foot to the calf area. Whichever way you go you will be better protected than shuffling your feet and the peace of mind will allow you to worry less about stepping on a ray and concentrate more on your fishing. Don't wait until you get hit by a stingray to get religion that would be about as smart as buying car insurance after you've been in a wreck.

Fish hard, fish smart!