South Padre: September 2015

South Padre: September 2015
Dave's hard work paid off with this beautiful linesider.
This is the toughest story I ever tried to write. Many days I have fished with tears running unnoticed behind my sunglasses and sun hood. A week before I started this story my dear mom, my biggest fan and supporter, went to eternal rest. Even though she never experienced or really liked fishing she was always anxious to learn how my day on the water had gone.

Before every charter, without fail, I would call her at 5:30 AM and call her again upon my return. She always finished our conversation with a blessing and I truly believe God heard her prayers.

Growing up I had always wanted to share my passion for fishing and make a living chasing that dream. In 2003, with no money to attend Captain's school, my mother encouraged me to enroll and paid my tuition. Her love and kindness to help me fulfill my dream has taken me beyond anything I ever imagined.

My mom never met my readers, clients, or those around me in the fishing world but she was a great influence on all of us. Had it not been for her I would not be where I am today. Every month she would purchase this magazine and proudly carry it, showing all who would listen. She will be deeply missed but I know she's resting in peace and still sending blessings my way.

As of this writing the Gulf of Mexico has been quiet and tides have been uncommonly low through mid-August. Usually by mid-July we begin to see tropical developments and by August a couple small disturbances make landfall somewhere on our coast. Looks like it's going to be a little later this year. Our bay and Gulf waters look absolutely great. The surf has been calm enough to produce some good catches of trout and redfish among other species. Calm conditions have given us all-day fishable clarity across much of the Lower Laguna, unlike earlier in the year.

Redfish continue to be elusive and many are staying extremely shallow where most fishermen are not comfortable navigating. Even on daily high tides some of these fish are tough to reach. We have found a few small schools we could work on weekdays but weekend traffic scatters them and they become shy to bite. We are finding most of the reds we are catching on sandy bottoms with shell. Potholes around spoil islands have been giving us a few. In deeper, sandy-bottoms any slight ridge or other variance in water depth water – as slight as six or eight inches – can make a difference if you fish along that line. In general I would say the heart of the Lower Laguna, several miles north and south of the Arroyo Colorado, is holding the best numbers at present.

The K-Wiggler Ball Tail Shad in bone diamond has been our go-to redfish bait, even in sandy and off-colored water. Topwater action has been sporadic. Looking back over summer I'd say our redfish catches have improved a bit but still lagging prior years. Here's to hoping September's cool-down and higher tides will bring better catching.

Trout fishing is very good right now from Port Mansfield to South Bay. Solid fish can be caught just about anywhere along the ICW spoil area drop-offs and potholes in grass beds. Most areas we targeted lately produced nice fish. The prime depth has been about belly deep, sandy to green in color. The same K-Wiggler Ball Tail is working for trout and we also throw the plum-chartreuse often. Topwaters are working, too. Feeding flocks of gulls and terns have led us to excellent late-afternoon action on the deeper flats. Here in August we are beginning to see more and more trout in the trophy category in very shallow water where they are almost impossible to catch and this has heightened my expectation of a good winter trout season.

I also want to mention that flounder fishing is off the chart right now – best I've ever seen. Limits or close can be made when we target them. Look for these bottom dwellers off the edges of the ICW, especially near the docks and pilings of bay shacks, old oilfield channels, and any shoreline with a sandy bottom. The key is in working the lure slowly, bumping bottom. Any soft plastic will work; scented baits are usually the best.

I will finish with a quote from Ronald Reagan. "From my mother I learned the value of prayer, how to have dreams and believe I could make them come true."

Thanks Mom for making my dream come true.