O ctober is always an interesting month on the upper Texas Coast, and can be a very busy one. Hunting seasons for squirrel, dove, and other species are opening—even archery and youth only deer seasons.
High school sports have been kicking off weekends for many, and for those with no life at all, professional sports can be viewed pretty much around the clock. Expanding this theme a bit further, the pleasant weather that can be expected with early fall encourages all sorts of outdoor festivals and celebrations.
All this is as it should be, and should make a serious salt water angler a happy man—because each of those folks participating in a non-fishing activity this month leaves a gap for a fisherman to fill. This means fewer boats at the ramp or the fuel dock, and smaller crowds on piers, shallow bay reefs, and even on the Gulf beaches.
For those who “live to fish,” October can be as good as it gets. Walking down a fishing pier or rock jetty opens up a lot of fish holding water to an angler on foot. Beach fishing is perhaps at its very best this month, and either of these approaches can pay off in pan fish like croaker, whiting, and sheepshead. Legitimate game species such as speckled trout, flounder, and redfish along with true big game battlers in the form of tarpon and heavy sharks are also waiting to be caught.
Although tidal streams offer good fishing and ease of access, my bet for doing some “fun fishing” would be the miles of water that can be reached on the bay side of Galveston State Park. A day there can ease the mind from daily challenges, give the body a bit of a workout, and hopefully provide a bit of a sporting challenge along with a tasty meal for the following day.
Before the park was developed, much of this land was private property and out of the reach of most of the fishing public. It holds very good stretches of shallow water that can be waded, numerous small coves, and a bit of marsh habitat—perfect environment for reds, trout, and flounders.
Paved roads now lead to most of the area, and nearby are covered picnic areas, restrooms, and camping spots with hook-ups. The state park also reaches across the road and provides the same sort of comfort amenities along the beach.
Galveston Island State Park on Galveston’s West Beach is a true Texas treasure, and about as good a bang for the buck as a family—or individual—can find for fishing camping, and just relaxing outdoors in a true salt water environment!
Location: Flip a coin or throw a dart, any place you choose in salt water this month from back bays and tidal bayous to offshore rigs and reefs will be holding hungry fish.
Species: All the favorites will be in attendance. In our favorable Texas fall climate, I can think of no saltwater game or food species that might not be successfully pursued this month.
Bait: Natural baits, live or dead, are dependable and somewhat easier to use, but the joy of October is probably working the surf with soft plastic jigs or spoons, twitching top waters over shallow reefs, or fly casting on open bay flats with no obstacles to interfere with a back cast.
Best Time: Temperatures for either the air or water should not be much of a factor in October, nor is time of day really critical. What is left is water movement, which is governed by tidal ebb and flow. Watch the tide charts, and pay attention to variations from published tides for the Galveston channel versus back bay locations.
Email Mike Holmes at [email protected]