South Padre: September 2013

South Padre: September 2013
Stacy and Ernest in Everglades National Park with a lingering thunderstorm.
I cannot believe how quickly time passes. In a matter of weeks summer will be gone and we'll be into fall fishing. I'm already smiling because that means winter is not long in coming. I have fun all year but winter is without a doubt my favorite season here on the Lower Laguna.

Over the summer I would have to say we had lots of ups and downs. Fishing was either very good or very slow and only a few days fell in-between. I enjoyed many wonderful days with my clients and also had the pleasure to attend the ICAST Show in Las Vegas. I even got to sneak away to the Everglades for a three day peek at a world-class snook fishery with Capt. Ward Michaels.

September is usually a wet month for us due to tropical storm activity, so expect some fresh water to enter our bays. Let's hope it is enough to balance our currently high salinity levels as this is always good for our fishery. We should also see much higher tides on average from the equinox and also from the storms. More water in our bays will mean fish will have more real estate to roam and you could find them a bit more scattered this month. During and right after rains, expect the shallow back lakes and other areas with very little vegetation to remain stained as fresh water pours out from drains and cuts coming off the mud flats. This time of the year, be sure not to overlook these drains even if the water is not as clear as you would like. I can't tell you how many times we have caught good fish near a drain while it is emptying loads of nutrients and small bait to waiting redfish and trout.

With water levels rising look for bait along flooded shorelines of small coves and back bays, the redfish should be right there with them. The sand on the east side, north and south of the Arroyo, should also turn on this month. Look for trout and reds to feed along waist deep grasslines, especially when the tide is moving.

Toward the end of the month the air and water temperatures will decline somewhat causing more frequent feeding as well as longer feeding periods. Redfish will become more willing to chase a topwater. Summer boat traffic scatters redfish and we didn't see many schools in July and August but that should change when everything slows down in September. Go-to redfish baits will be topwaters and Kelley Wiggler Ball Tail Shads.

All summer long I wrote of how the trout bite kept things interesting for us, well just recently it got even better. I have not seen better catches of big trout in late summer as I have this year. Hopefully this pattern will continue through fall and into winter. Our better trout catches have come from shallow grass flats and not from deeper, sandier water, as I would have expected. Potholes in generally grassy bottom along spoil banks have also been very good. The topwater action has been slow but the Kelley Wigglers are doing well for us. With the water rising, look for shorelines on the west side of the Laguna to hold good numbers of keepers.

As I mentioned above I fished with Ward Michaels out of Everglade City and I highly recommend this trip to any who love fishing for snook. The fishing was very notable for numbers of snook and, best of all was the size of the fish we caught. Ward is a hardcore wade fisherman and his knowledge of how tide levels and currents will affect the bite was truly something to behold. He consistently put us in the exact right spot at precisely the right time. It was all very educational for me and I cannot wait to put my new knowledge to work here in the Lower Laguna Madre.