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Fall making for a grand time on coast

Oct. 14, 2012 at 5:14 a.m.

Dr. Robert Gilliam holds up a trophy trout he caught on a late summer trip at Baffin Bay. The fish hit a live croaker. Croaker season is now over as game fish turn their appetites to live shrimp. Dr. Gilliam was fishing with Capt. Danny Goyen.

Hello Anglers!

It's good to be back talking about what I love to do most and that's fishing along the Texas Coast. Fall has finally moved in upon us after one of the hottest summers in a long time.

Some of the toughest fishing of the decade was experienced by many who tested the waters this past August and September.

Strong winds kept fishers out of the surf almost the entire month of August. Many blame the high water temps for shutting the bite off until in the evening or under the cover of darkness.

September was worse than August as far as trying to pattern speckled trout during daytime hours. Water temperatures for the first three weeks of September were in the mid to upper 80s. All of a sudden after back to back cool fronts moved through our area the fish started eating, "The bite is on!"

The past three weeks has seen a major turnaround on game fish eating artificial baits. Some of the best reports from Port O'Connor to Rockport have come in since the water temperature dropped down to the low 70s. Shoreline waders have been taking limits of trout and reds on lures for the first time since the month of May.

It's so exciting talking to people that are excited! The water temperature this past Monday morning in Port O'Connor was 69 degrees. I don't know who is friskier, me or the fish.

All I know is I hope fishing continues to be this good for the rest of the year. October fishing usually kicks off when the water stays in the 65-72 degree range. The time is now!

I mentioned in my last article that I would talk about how to catch fish in the fall. This time of year can be some of the best fishing for everyone but you have to fish smart.

Keeping a close eye on the weather is very crucial and will dictate how and where you fish. Instead of focusing on the surf or the wells, the main focus should be the shorelines or the back lakes.

Tides are usually above normal in October and November which allows a great ambush zone close to the grass along the shorelines and lakes. Spawning redfish will be cruising the shorelines as they make their way to the Gulf to lay their eggs.

Cold fronts will start consistently move through that will push the water out of the bay. Head for any slough, cut or drain that feeds into a back lake or bayou. Redfish, trout and flounder will move into these areas as the tide falls to ambush bait.

Be prepared to fish both shorelines (north and south) depending on the wind direction. Shrimp will soon start leaving the back marshes and creeks and start their migration.

Game fish will be right behind and many times will scare them to the surface so that their presence can be given away by hungry seagulls. In between fronts and oyster boats shell reefs will come alive with hungry trout and reds.

It is amazing to see the transition that is made by all species of bait and fish with a drop in air and water temperatures. We need some consistent fishing after a tough and inconsistent summer.

The primary diet of all game fish the next few months will be live shrimp. They will be pursuing shrimp so naturally the best bait will be live shrimp.

I religiously use noise this time of year since fish become more aggressive. By noise I mean rattle corks, Mansfield maulers, topwaters and rattles inserted into soft plastics.

Live shrimp, Berkley Gulf shrimp or the Hogie's shrimp colored K-P special tied underneath some type of noisy cork about two feet is definitely the ticket.

I've been telling my clients for years to pop the living daylight out of their cork about every 4 to 5 seconds. I tell them if you don't have to put BenGay on your arm before you go to bed then you haven't popped hard enough. Soft plastic swim baits like the Chicken on a Chain and Keylime Gambler with a rattle insert will be perfect for shoreline wading.

These two colors are my favorite this time of year along with the bone colored and root beer with chartreuse head Super Spook Jr. These are all baits that make noise. There are all kinds of baits that will work but these are just a few of my favorites.

Hopefully we will continue to have cool fronts move through our area to keep the coastal waters cool so that the fishing will be hot. So get in your boat, head to the Coast and make some noise.

Good Fishin'

Captain Danny Goyen

Danny Goyen is an outdoor writer and speaker. He has been guiding on the Texas Coast for over 25 years.

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