Shorelines and Marsh Drains

O ctober is a great time to fish East and West Matagorda bays because the fish are aggressively feeding. All you have to do is find them.

That is easier in October than in other months, because they concentrate on the shorelines and the marsh drains. Flounders move along the shorelines as they work their way offshore to spawn, and redfish move along shorelines feeding on crabs, shrimp and baitfish. All three species, trout, redfish, and flounder hang out where water drains from the marsh to the bay waiting for bait to be flushed out.

Last year on October 7th I launched my kayak into East Matagorda Bay. The wind was out of the northeast, the most common direction in October, tide was outgoing strong, the 77°F water was a bit off color with only 8 to 10 inches of visibility, and the weather was overcast and 80°F. 

I was fishing a flooded marsh area adjacent to the bay, and I was working the shoreline. On the third cast I must have dropped the Hot Chicken Bass Assassin right in front of a big redfish, because it was hooked and swimming before the sound of the splash reached me.

Boy, was it a fight!

That fish pulled and pushed. It ran and tried to hide in the cord grass, but I finally maneuvered it to the kayak, netted it, and put it on the stringer. The red measured 26 inches.

On the shoreline in the marsh on the other side of the bayou, another big redfish took my lure. This fish was a challenge. It was well hooked, but it ran into the cord grass and got all tangled up.

I held my rod tip high and did my best to keep some tension on the line. I had to get out of the kayak, grab the net, and wade through knee-deep mud to get to the tangled fish. I finally untangled, and netted the 27-inch red.

According to the tide tables, a dozen days in October 2017 have strong outgoing tides in the mornings. In addition to fishing the shorelines on these days, try fishing the spot where water leaves large marsh areas and empties into the bay.

On Halloween, my wife, Janet, and I were fishing near Coon Island on the north side of West Matagorda Bay. The tide was very strong outgoing, and the fish and birds were really active. Birds were feeding on migrating shrimp, and fish were driving the shrimp to the surface. We started catching lots of trout, but they were all small, so we moved, first to the shoreline and then to a place where the marsh drained into the bay.

Janet was about 100 yards away from me on the shoreline when she called me on the two-way radio and said, “There are redfish here. I missed a big one, but they are coming your way.”

I spotted the fish as well as two egrets that were moving with them, feasting on the shrimp that the reds were kicking up. I dropped my kayak anchor about 15 yards away from shore and waited. When they got within casting distance I cast the lure close to the shoreline, and swam it in front of them. A 21-inch redfish grabbed the three-inch Egret Baits Wedge Tail Minnow and ended up on my stringer.

Then we moved to where water was pumping out of the marsh and dissipating into the bay, and started catching small speckled trout with nearly every cast. Just before the bayou meets the bay is a deep hole. Janet dropped her lure in there and hooked a big red, but it got off. Then we paddled into the bayou and fished another deep spot and caught 19 and 21-inch reds.

In October, quite a show goes on in the bays. Fish push shrimp to the surface, and birds squawk in excitement as they dive to snatch the shrimp. Redfish and flounders make their way along the shorelines and feed where marsh areas drain into the bay.

All you have to do is add yourself to the melee and enjoy the fun. 





Kayak rentals at grassy point: Coming into Palacios on Business 35, take the first left onto Bayshore Boulevard. Grassy Point Bait is on the bay about a half-mile up Bayshore Boulevard on the right, where the road turns north. It’s a good place to buy live bait, and you can fish from shore right there.

You can launch your own kayak or small boat from Grassy Point, or you can rent a kayak from Grassy Point Bait from 7 am until 7 pm. The phone number is 361-972-5053.

Email Mike Price at ContactUs@fishgame.com

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