South Padre: October 2015

South Padre: October 2015
Julie Boehm delivers a kiss of triumph!
October is upon us and I am certainly ready for a change! Speaking of change, fishermen often refer to October as a month of transition as trout and redfish react to cooler air and water temperatures in their staging and feeding patterns. Rainfall in October should not be as frequent as late-August and September but, precipitation and runoff are good in that they help reduce average Laguna Madre salinity and contribute to better fishing, overall. The first of fall's many cool fronts will begin arriving soon and these, too, contribute to great fishing.

Currently, the wind has been generally light, including many mornings of barely a breeze, if any. It is fairly easy to find redfish roaming the flats when the water is glassy but finding yourself surrounded by redfish wakes doesn't necessarily mean they can be caught; more than likely you are not the first boat that has scattered them. If I'm going to stop and fish where wakes are present I want to see at least 15- to 25 fish within a small area. If they are spread as thin as a few every fifty yards or so I will continue the search until I find a larger number. I also take note of water depth, clarity, and bottom structure. This information is useful in predicting other areas that might be holding them.

As mentioned above our winds have calmed significantly and with this the redfish invaded the flats in early-September. Funny that back during July and early-August we struggled to find the reds and now we are seeing them in many places. Also, the topwater bite has really turned on! Maybe it is the calmer wind conditions or maybe slightly cooler water temps, or maybe the recent reduction in boat traffic – whatever it is we'll take it as we are currently catching lots of redfish.

Currently, the sandy eastside flats have really turned on and sight-fishing opportunity has been outstanding. In fact, it has been better the past two weeks than I have seen in quite a few years. We are seeing lots of scattered redfish on grass flats and many back-bay areas are also holding good numbers. We have also caught plenty of trophy reds in thigh to waist deep water when it seems boat traffic pushes them off the flats. The K-Wiggler ball tail shad in the new bone diamond color continues to be a hot redfish bait for us. I expect the redfish action will get even better as we roll farther into October.

Trout continue to be plentiful from the South Padre Island spoils all the way to the Land Cut north of Port Mansfield. Potholes along the ICW spoils and also on the deeper adjacent flats have also been producing excellent numbers of solid keepers. Despite the all-day traffic on the ICW, it doesn't seem to hamper the trout bite at all. Working smaller topwaters like a Bagley Rattlin' Finger Mullet across potholes has been a lot of fun; watching them roll, flip, and slam them aggressively – even in the middle of the day. Most of these fish are running around sixteen to eighteen inches but this will improve as the days grow shorter. You could say the shorter the days the longer and bigger the trout we will see in the coming months.

I never thought I would be reporting flounder catches as numerous as I have throughout the hot summer, but let me tell you, it has been that good. Every trip, without even targeting them, someone on my charters ends up landing one or two with a few lost in-between. Our catches and the flounder numbers at the cleaning tables demonstrate a remarkable comeback of these prized fish in the Lower Laguna. I hope they continue to thrive in the years to come. If you haven't reviewed the special flounder section in last month's TSF Magazine I heartily recommend you do so as soon as possible if you want to improve your flounder catch ratio.

All in all, I feel the Lower Laguna Madre is about to bust at the seams. It's exciting to see our bays flourishing with the action that we have been blessed to enjoy so far this year, and my prediction is that it's only going to get better in the coming months. In closing, if you have never experienced the sunsets of October down here, it's like gazing at a real-life mural, each is beautiful and different in their own way. Key West sunsets have nothing over an October sunset on the Lower Laguna Madre! Enjoy and keep it safe.