South Padre: October 2013

South Padre: October 2013
The yearly trek from Dallas to the Lower Laguna once again proved worthwhile and fun for this group.
Fishing on the Lower Laguna Madre is definitely on the upswing as we approach the beginning of the fall season. Redfish are showing up in their usual locales and can now be targeted successfully in more areas than in the previous months. Boat traffic is lighter and I'm happy to report that we are seeing signs of seagrass regeneration since the present decline began following the torrential rains of Hurricane Dolly in 2008 and worsened with the freshwater floods of July 2010. Areas that have been nearly barren of grass and fish last four to five years are showing remarkable signs of life.

Through September we saw significant water temperature fluctuations due to rainfall and cloud cover. This will continue, especially as the first fronts reach the coast and hours of daylight diminish. Feeding periods will become more frequent and will be of longer duration.

In recent articles I mentioned that redfish were scattered and often unwilling to bite when located. Just when you thought you had them figured out they were gone. September came, and we started finding them in significant numbers in many areas. I expect this pattern to get progressively better this month. I have noticed the bigger concentrations of redfish recently on very shallow flats near the Arroyo Colorado. On many occasions they were hard to catch because of their natural skittish behavior in extremely shallow water. With the seasonal rise in water level they will become much more willing to gobble a lure.

Here lately many mornings gave us slick-calm conditions, and while this makes redfish wakes easy to spot, it makes for generally tougher fishing in very shallow water. I am almost always a proponent of leaving the dock as early as possible but during these calm conditions it is a good idea to let daylight set in and the breeze to come up and put a light ripple on the surface. This slightly delayed start can be especially helpful for anglers who prefer to stay in the boat and drift rather than wade.

Another successful technique that has worked lately, especially when shallow reds seem to have lockjaw; try tying a 12lb leader to the back of a Zara Puppy with a fly attached. The topwater gets their attention and quite often they'll take the fly when they refuse the plug.

Trout fishing continues to be steady. We are still catching and releasing trout in the low-to-upper 20s range and the preferred depth has been knee to waist deep. Similar to the bigger reds, larger trout seem to be liking it real skinny, but getting those wary trophies to bite has been almost impossible on lures. I'm hoping as the water continues to cool and the water levels rises they will be become more willing.

If you've fished lately you can tell the water has risen considerably over the last month. Don't rule out the less-traveled back bays to be the producer of your next personal best. The windows were smaller in the previous four months, but now we can look for that window to increase as boat traffic decreases. I say this based on what we have been experiencing; I'm predicting a banner fall and winter season ahead for big trout on the Lower Laguna Madre.

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