WOODS, WINGS & WATER: Here's hoping cooler temps get birds going
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What many considered to be the cold front to finally kick off fall fishing blew through this weekend. What many consider to be the very best fishing of the year, when shrimp flood the bays and birds work, has not materialized. However, despite the absence of flocks of diving gulls, fishing has been excellent.
Normally by this time in October, we are fishing for trout under working birds, but with the water temps in the upper 70s and stiff southeast winds keeping tides above normal, that just hasn't happened
It is going to take a stiff cold front to dump tides and shrimp from the marsh; and, chances are, if the birds are going to work, they will work Monday morning.
That is not to say fishing has suffered. Though most captains are still fishing a summer pattern of drifting deep shell, catches were outstanding this week.
"It has really been good while drifting mud flats," said guide James Plaag of Silver King Adventures. "We have been getting trout to six pounds on white Top Dog Jrs and Bass Assassins."
Mullet-infested shorelines have held the majority of fish in 2-3 feet of water.
"We are still fishing the same way we have all summer," said Plaag. "One day fall will get here."
Busy daylight hours and heavy workloads have prompted many angler to become nocturnal and seek out rivers and creeks to find fish. Anglers along Caney Creek in Sargent have taken good catches of trout on shrimp along with lots of sand trout, while Colorado River fishers have found solid redfish and trout. Lack of rain has pushed fish up the Trinity and San Jacinto rivers as well.
Flounder have been hanging around drop-offs and muddy shorelines, preparing for their spawning run to the Gulf. Soft plastics worked gingerly over the mud and Carolina-rigged finger mullet or mud minnows have been the ticket. Remember, with only a few days left in October, new regulations for November allow for two flounder per person while gigging is not permitted during the November.
Redfish have been a mainstay for many anglers along the middle coast, especially spawning bull redfish. The beachfront from Galveston to Port O'Connor has been teeming with big females just waiting to inhale a menhaden, mullet, cracked blue crab or large table shrimp. Those fishing the granite rocks of the jetties have scored on days when the wind does not allow for safe passage to the Gulf.
"Redfish have been just about everywhere you stop in West Matagorda Bay," said guide Michael Rolf. "They are not small reds, either. One day they want shrimp and other days they want mullet."
East Matagorda Bay has seen a boon of redfish since summer. It hasn't been uncommon for skilled boats to take limits of redfish while drifting what has traditionally been trout waters.
"Most of the redfish have been found in streaky water," said guide Charlie Paradoski. "There are large schools circling the bays; one week they are on the west end and the next they show up east."
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain (firstname.lastname@example.org).