SEPTEMBER IS REFERRED to as a transition month, seasonal movement from summer into fall. Not in south Texas.
September would be better known as August #2. But, since some persist in calling it a time of transitions, how about some fishing tips picked up from some of the coastal pros going into the transition?
Guide Tommy Countz says normally the tides are a little lighter in September. However, by the end of September you have the equinox tides that allow him to access many of the back-lake areas and get up along the shorelines.
“Every year I try to promote some fly fishing,” Countz said. “If you want to catch redfish on a fly you don’t have to be a good fly fisherman in September. It’s pretty easy.
“You don’t have to be a Lefty Kreh and throw a 70-foot cast. You can throw a 20-foot cast and catch redfish. Spot the schools in the shallow water, set up ahead of them, drop a fly ahead of them, and start stripping line. When the school comes in, intercept it.”
Look for areas that have a sandy bottom where you can get out and wade. “There’s part of (Matagorda) East Bay that I like to fish on the north shore that we can fish knee deep,” Countz said. “You can walk around easily without sinking down into the muck.”
Capt. Paul Marcaccio passes on “tried-and-true” tidal flow information. A lot of single tides in September can make for some slow fishing action, as the fish are restricted in their movement. Fish catching is always better in moving water. Circle the four to five dates on your calendar leading up to the new moon. The tides last a little longer with more opportunity to catch fish.
September can be a month where we can receive a bunch rain from tropical disturbances. Fresh water runoff can produce color lines in the water. Look for the color breaks. Speckled trout will lay just off the edge of colored water waiting for dinner to come out.
“Place your bait in the off colored water. Soon as you pull it across into clear water you will be happily rewarded with a trout,” says Marcaccio.
A surprise, hot, new soft plastic summer color this year has been clear bait, anything with flash or sparkle. Marcaccio advises to not confuse this with a Limetreuse, Glow, or Pearl. It’s crystal clear with flash, sparkle.
Bass fishermen have been using this color in soft plastic worms for a long time. “What we are trying to do is reflect the sunlight under water and get the fish’s attention. I don’t know if it’s because of the fresh water, but it’s working.”
How many anglers when they check out the selection of topwater baits pick them up, shake them, listen to the noise emitted by the ball-bearings inside. On some baits you might be even able to detect a different vibration.
The noise put out by different types of top water baits is what gets the fish’s attention. Loud or not so loud, high frequency? low frequency? Baits with higher-frequency rattles attract fish better in windy conditions with chop. Baits with lower-frequency rattles generally perform better in calm conditions.
Marcaccio normally likes a smaller, low frequency bait in calm waters; his favorite is the One Knocker by Heddon. “You don’t need larger baits to catch the big fish; don’t need the 4 ½ to 5 inch baits unless you’re in a chop of more than say like a foot and a half.
“A lot of times, less action is better than more in fishing a top water lure. Let your bait sit after a moment or two after Walking the Dog—but keep the tension on it. That ball bearing inside the bait is still moving up and down in the chamber. You don’t hear it, but the fish do.”
While we are still in August #2, you should target redfish that are seeking cooler water temperatures in the 16 to 18 feet of water along the base of the Corpus Christi Bay Wells. Capt. Ryan Bailey free lines croakers on the bottom in the rocks and shell that make up the base of the rigs.
“A number six croaker hook, no weight, and a croaker,” says Bailey. “Once you a feel bump, let him run about 15 feet, tighten the line, and set the hook. I threw croakers all the way up to the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year.”
August #2—transitioning into fall, waiting for the teasing touches of cooler weather trying to make its way this far south. But please, no tropical disturbances from the Gulf. We can transition just fine without the excitement.
Email Tom Behrens at [email protected]