GRIMES: Bloated tides are a sign of the coming fall
Sept. 19, 2012 at 4:19 a.m.
The first real cold front of fall is somewhere in long-range forecast. Summer is set to officially end on the Autumn Equinox this month, but chances are the heat will still be hanging around through October.
How does the heat affect fishing? That's a tricky question to answer since there are so many variables. What is considered hot? What is considered cool?
The first north breezes of September slice overnight mercury readings by 5-10 degrees. Those cooler nighttime temps do wonders for coastal fishing, knocking water temperatures down at least a couple of degrees. It may not seem significant, but there is a big difference in 78 and 80 when it comes to coastal fishing. A couple of degrees of difference puts life in a stagnant fishery.
September tides have a tendency to swell, much like high tides associated with tropical weather. Like every fall, tides remain above normal until the first hard cold front blows water out of the bays. As long as tides remain bloated, expect redfish to fill the back lakes and grassy shorelines. Water levels also encourage large, solitary trout to extend their boundaries to the upper reaches of estuaries.
Watch for tails popping up in the grass - fall redfish give away their position easily. A gold spoon, Gulp or live shrimp under a popping cork are solid offerings. Watch for large schools cruising the grass line and make an educated cast in front with jigs or spoons.
Speckled trout hang on to a summer pattern when water temperatures remain in the 80s. Trout stage over sand and grass and hold over deep shell as well. Don't be surprised to find bird action on calm days with light boat traffic, as reports of gulls diving over shrimp have already been reported on Sabine Lake and East Galveston Bay.
The surest sign of fall is the bull redfish run, and that program has begun to kick in to action along every jetty system in Texas. Soon flounder will follow and we will have a full-blown fall fandango.
Until then, keep the iced tea flowing.
Capt. Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author, and licensed captain (firstname.lastname@example.org).