I know it's blistering hot here in August, but it won't be long before the first cool fronts of Fall will find there way here in September. Ah yes, the changing of the seasons. I've already had reports of Teal ducks in the hundreds being sighted on Matagorda Island. Along with the early migrating ducks, Hummingbirds will be making their pilgrimage to Mexico and Central America but not before making a stop here in Seadrift and other coastal destinations.
On the fishing scene, cooling water temperatures will find shrimp and other bait fish leaving nursery areas and back marsh lakes and bayous and beginning their migration into the open bays and eventually to Gulf waters. Trout and Redfish will begin to school up in numbers working these bait migrations and intercepting them on mid-bay shell reefs and shorelines will be a certainty. Approaches will begin to broaden during this time period and it's angler's choice on how to catch them.
Unusual Tips & Tactics, Usual For Some
You won't see these in too many "magazines". I recall a trip working shell reefs right outside Seadrift a few years back. We started out the day throwing PCS aka "popping cork shrimp". We made a few drifts around the reefs and finally hit a Trout mother lode adjacent to a commercial fisherman's Black Drum trotline. I slid the anchor over the side and we all switched to soft plastic and limited out catching solid fish with better frequency. Drum lines are set by commercial fisherman that pretty much know what they are doing and their livelihood depends on accuracy and placement. When they are fishing, Drum liners more or less lay a surface road map to subsurface structure. Working angles in proximity to these lines has produced a lot of heavy stringers over the years. It's somewhat "counterintuitive" fishing around trotlines, but that's fishing for you. I try to be respectful of the commercial guys gear and keep my distance on a dead end drift.
Here is another tip and tactic that might leave you scratching your head. As water temperatures continue to decline in the Fall, everyone knows Oyster Season hits full stride. Cooler water settles out quickly and many times it can get downright too clear to fish. Bait concentrations are fully exposed in clear water and they seem to prefer murky waters. Unfortunately for the bait fish and shrimp, Trout and Redfish are often hot on their heels. One place you can always find murky water over shell reefs and flats is down wind or down current from an Oyster boat. If I had an Oyster for every time a Trout hit the dip net on my boat to the sound of La Bamba with an oyster chisel hammering; diesel engine groaning, and a shell dredge slamming the bottom, I'd open a restaurant. These boats spin in pretty consistent and tight circles. Get the lay of the land while giving the Oystermen some working room. Set up a drift and don't be worried about Trout having ears. The dredging kicks up a lot of forage for hungry Trout and I tend to believe that they like Latin music.
Dove, Teal & Gators
Along with the Teal sightings I've been noticing the dove are really showing up in numbers. Mourning dove, Whitewing, and plenty of "exotics" are buzzing around like dragon flies chasing mosquitos. We seem to be staying fairly dry despite the occassional shower or two and that should have us on "final approach" to a great opener in all venues.
Stay safe out there!
Capt. Kris Kelley
Castaway Lodge, Inc.