South Padre: September 2016

South Padre: September 2016
Brooks Montgomery's first of five snook.

It makes me very happy to see our hottest weather departing this month. Not trying to play meteorologist, I've been wrong too many times but, history says September has shown to be a wet one and dark clouds do wonders in bringing temperatures down a bit. We saw days in August when water temperatures hit the low-90s making catching difficult. Our best tactics were wading at least belly deep by mid-morning and avoiding areas of high boat traffic. Targeting areas with good tide movement became essential in finding steady action. Through it all though, fishing has been good from sunrise until mid-morning and again toward evening.

Windy days can make locating redfish schools difficult. Running the flats on calm mornings we often see small schools and lots of singles scurrying from the boat, still lingering on the flats after feeding at night and not yet headed to deeper water. The trick has been to set up a wade on their most likely path to deeper potholes and guts, concentrating on early morning mullet activity. Deeper areas off the flats, some too deep to wade, have also been producing scattered midday reds over grass beds. Shallow reds are taking topwaters while K-Wiggler Ball Tails on 1/8 heads are the ticket everywhere and the best for us in deeper water. The arrival of cooler weather should improve the flats fishing.

Our trout numbers are doing very well; catching a limit of keeper size fish has been fairly easy when they are feeding. Spoils islands in the morning hours have been very consistent as well as the edges of the ICW. Even old oil field cuts have produced good numbers of trout. The bigger trout have been few and far between with our heaviest fish being caught around waist to chest deep water. Trout have been taking topwaters readily first thing in the morning, and when they seem to go lower in the water column, a K-Wiggler Ball Tail Shad worked slowly near the bottom always seems to do the trick. The number of undersize trout from Port Mansfield all the way to Port Isabel is phenomenal. This alone shows that the future is very bright for this fishery. I remind you though; please be as careful as possible unhooking and releasing undersize trout. We need them to swim away as unharmed and healthy as possible. As the tides rise steadily this month, look for grass lines on the edges of the eastside sand to turn on with good numbers of trout. Along the west side shorelines, the keys will be slicks among plentiful bait schools holding in guts.

When it comes to flounder, two words that pop into my head instantly are wow and remarkable. What a comeback they have made. My records indicate more flounder on my charters this year than ever, dating all the way back to the early 2000s. On many of our trips we are catching flounder even without targeting them specifically. The ICW ledges are always prime locations to try and the edges of channels branching off the ICW are also good places to hook one. Sand holes off the edges of spoil islands are places where flounder lay as they ambush their prey. I like to use a 1/8 oz jig head and work it slowly along the sandy bottoms. With the numbers we currently have down here they have become more predictable all across the Lower Laguna and catching them has been a bonus.

Before closing I would like to mention sponsors who contribute to the success of my charter business. There's not a trip goes by without me feeling confident and proud that my new Shallow Sport will take me wherever I need to be with comfort and safety. Fishing Tackle Unlimited for putting a great Green Rod in my hands, Costa Sunglasses for their technology in allowing me to see above and below the water with maximum visibility and protection to my eyes. Simms for being the cutting edge in designing the best waders on the planet, innovators of quality wear that give you protection and comfort in any season. K-Wigglers for jigheads and tough soft plastics in a range of colors that work in all water conditions.

I don't remember where I first heard this saying, "If you keep having the same results, you need to change what you are doing." If your fishing has been more casting practice than catching you may need to change what you are doing. Fish patterns have changed over the years, especially the last five. Have you changed, or are you still hitting that same old empty hole that used to produce? Change can be good for you this fall.