Fish still waiting on that first cool front to hit area
It doesn’t really feel like fall but the signs are appearing. Tides are swelling and the Autumn Equinox is approaching. Our bays are healthy from several years of wetness after a long drought six years ago. Freshwater is a powerful thing to a saltwater estuary – it’s a shot of B12 in the arm for all organisms up and down the food chain.
The reefs in East Bay have been players for a month and with shrimp migrating through the bay, waders working mid-bay reefs have enjoyed excellent result on She Pups and Bass Assassins on the edges of the reefs.
We have seen great results in September with several big fish released, including reports of trout up to 31 inches. The great thing about East Bay is you don’t have to wade to find big trout. Sure, you need good weather for water clarity, but half of the big trout released by my clients come from drifting over deep shell. There are very few locales on the Texas coast that can make that boast.
If this year holds true to form, expect to see scattered bird action. Last year the bird action began in early October and continued through early December. This year there have already been flurries of bird action on calm days since August. We are seeing shrimp begin to flood the shorelines and our bait-shrimpers have had little problem keeping healthy bait supplies in tanks.
West Matagorda Bay has been good while wading for trout along the south shoreline. Those tossing topwaters have found bigger trout along the grass line with high tides. Half-Moon Reef, Coon Island Reef and reefs in Turtle Bay have been good on live shrimp under a popping cork.
In Port O’Connor, the reefs in San Antonio Bay have been hot with calm winds. Waders and boaters have both found fish on the edges of the reefs on live bait and soft plastics.
Rockport waders have found large trout on Corkies and topwaters in the guts around Carlos and Mesquite bays. Most of the fish are hanging around reefs and in sand and grass potholes.
Higher tides this month will be a boon for redfish. Again, there are lots of shrimp in the back lakes and marshes and many will target those fish with small topwaters and live shrimp under a Mid-Coast cork. Cutoff Flats, Zipperan Bayou, Shell Island and Twin Island are all players in West Bay.
Waders along the south shoreline of West Bay will work the points of shell with Down South Lures and Bass Assassins. If you want both redfish and black drum take a bucket of live shrimp and work the points with a cork. There will be plenty of both in October.
As those fish begin to move in to the bays they will be found on the grassy shorelines on both the north and south side. Most will toss a shrimp right against the edge of the grass and most will troll down the shorelines tossing shrimp imitations or small topwaters like She Pups and Top Pups..
Some of the largest redfish will be found in the middle of East Bay under birds. When things are really firing off in the fall there will be 10-20 groups working in the bay. One will have solid trout beneath; the other will be all redfish. Many times when terns are circling it is a sure sign of redfish.
In Rockport, the back lakes like Allyn’s Bight and the marshes of San Joe Island are holding lots of redfish. The Estes Flats are good while drifting with soft plastics under a rattling cork.
Jetty action has really fired off from Freeport to Port Aransas. Bull redfish are making their way to the Gulf to spawn and the rocks and beachfront are holding plenty of fish on natural baits.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, outfitter and owner of Matagorda Sunrise Lodge.