IN OCTOBER FISH are motivated to feed up by signs of winter: shorter, cooler days and dropping water temperatures.
The average air temperatures at the beginning of October are 67°F to 85°F, and at the end of the month, 59°F to 78°F. Moving tide further encourages predator fish to attack bait.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts lower than normal rain, and lower than normal temperatures for the Texas coast this October. If we really get less rain and lower air and water temperatures, it will be good for fishing. You will not have to factor in high inflows of fresh water from heavy rains, and the fish will be more active in the cooler water.
To have a good fishing day in October, select a day with moving tide and winds that you can handle. Then do the hard part; find the fish.
On the 18th of October when the air temperature was 60°F and the sky was overcast, I went drift fishing with Eddie Vacek on the northeast side of East Matagorda Bay. We had an outgoing tide and just tolerable winds from the northeast at 20 mph. We drift fished and covered a lot of water over four hours, and only managed two brief hook ups.
Even though we fished all that water, we did not “find em.” Eddie and I have fished the northeast side of east Matagorda Bay near Bird Island on other days and found action, but not on this day. A wise old fisherman once said, “The fish are in five percent of the water.”
One way to “find em” is to fish structure. When you drift fish in the bay, you are fishing the structure of oyster patches, holes, and other patterns of bottom terrain. But when this kind of structure does not pay off, try another kind of structure.
On October 13th, Pat Tollett and I loaded kayaks on my boat and went to the southeast shore of West Matagorda Bay. The wind was from the south 18 to 25 mph, stronger than I will usually go out on, but Pat was my guest and that was the only day he had to fish, so we went.
I selected a place where we had wind protection on the south shoreline, but it was too windy to kayak, so we wade fished with the wind at our backs. Another reason I selected that spot was an oyster reef 35 yards from shore.
Pat tossed a yellow Sparkle Beetle soft plastic from H&H Lure Company to the reef and found willing takers. He caught four undersized redfish, two keeper reds at 28 and 22 inches, a 21-inch trout, and two keeper-sized black drum. I was fishing the same reef system close by and did almost as well as Pat.
Moving tide is an important factor when you decide to go fishing. To see tide predictions, go to www.tidesandcurrents.gov.
On a sunny late October day when the water temperature was 73°F, Bob Turner and I went to a cove on the south side of East Matagorda Bay. We were kayak fishing and fished the mouths of several bayous. We hoped to find predators feeding on bait flowing into the bay with the outgoing tide. But I only managed to catch one 23-inch redfish at the point where the bayous and the bay intersected, so I decided to change tactics.
I reasoned that with tide pushing water into the large cove on the bay side of multiple bayous, the fish might be feeding where the cove met the bay.
The wind was from the southwest, so I set up a drift in my kayak west to east across the large expanse of the cove opening. Soon I caught a 21-inch trout, and I thought, “Maybe I found em,” Then I caught another 21-inch trout, followed by a 19-inch trout and a 21-inch redfish.
In October, you have the advantage of fish seeking prey. Add moving tide and a fishing spot with structure and hope these decisions find the action.
Oyster Lake: You can fish Oyster Lake from the bank or from a kayak. One morning I met kayak fisherman Efren Cardoza at Oyster Lake. He had just come in from fishing. He said, “I caught my limit, 26, 27, and 25-inch redfish.” And he showed me the fish in his cooler.
Then he said, “I went out a few days ago when it was really foggy. I always go well before it gets light because the redfish are most active at sunrise. I was fishing a spot where the marsh drains and the redfish would come out and then go back in. Today they came out and left, but a couple days ago they would come out and go back. I caught so many that it wore me out.”
To get to Oyster Lake take FM 521, go south on FM 1095, left (south) on CR 378, west on CR 373, and south on CR 365. It takes 25 minutes to get there from the intersection of FM 521 and FM 1095.
Email Mike Price at [email protected]