THE FALL MONTHS are among the most pleasant on the upper Texas coast. This reasoning comes from the pleasant weather and enjoyable outdoor activities—and fishing is right at the top of those activities.
Although September is often just an extension of summer, October should see “true fall” conditions bless our lives once again. The excessive heat that makes days on beach or bay run from uncomfortable to actually dangerous will be past us for 2018. It is replaced by much milder days and nights that are downright pleasant. Fishermen are not the only Texas fauna that thrive in cooler conditions—other living creatures along the coast, both in and near the water, will find the climate conductive to increased activity.
Conditions on the bay waters are usually VERY pleasant, whether riding in a shallow draft fishing boat, or wading through—sans bulky waders. Bait species such as shrimp, squid and small baitfish are plentiful and active, and this brings fish valued for table and game qualities to pursue them both day and night.
“Pan fish”, such as sand trout and croakers will be feeding eagerly, allowing anglers using either natural baits or appropriate artificial lures to collect tasty seafood while enjoying the natural beauty of the near-shore habitat.
The popular “gamefish” species of our bays and surf—speckled trout, redfish, and flounder will be active and hungry. Along with these species, will be an occasional “run” of gaff top catfish. The surf will also be invaded by schools of hungry Spanish mackerel. Smaller specimens of several shark species will hunt the surf, and provide both fast sport and good eating.
Jack Crevalle will be in the surf, and are one of the hardest fighting fish in the Gulf. Along with large sharks, “monster” stingrays will please the angler wanting a wrestling match.
Offshore in September, fishing action doesn’t cool down much with the season. King, ling, and dolphin will still be found, and bottom fishing only improves. Farther out, there’s always decent fishing for tuna, wahoo, and even various billfish for those with enough time and boat to participate in this fishery.
As I write this, there is news of a large blue marlin having been caught in the Poco Bueno Billfish Tournament, out of Port O’Connor, and many boats leave Freeport to fish much the same water.
Although fall does see the end of some of our coastal fisheries, the season will still be going strong for many others. Although the weather has cooled down somewhat, much of our fishing is still Red Hot.
Location: As in September, except even more so, there will be good fishing activity for at least some species most of the time—and in more comfortable conditions than in late summer. Being Texas, we are still far from weather cool enough for warm clothing.
Species: All the more popular coastal species will be found: in inshore waters and close offshore habitats, and most are more active in the cooler water temps.
Bait: All types should be common, and available. Catch your own live bait, but some of the “fresh dead” stuff you saved from summer will come in handy. Shrimp, squid, mullet of various sizes, and other small baitfish are all good, as are artificial lures that imitate them.
Best Time: Somewhat cooler temperatures will make daytime more productive, but early and late are still best. Night fishing may still be the best time period of all, but check the tide schedules.
Email Mike Holmes at [email protected]