By Capt. Joe Kent
October is likely the most popular month for outdoor activity whether camping, hiking, fishing or hunting. For coastal anglers it is a time when lots of action begins to take place on the fishing scene and conditions are inviting for the whole family to get out and enjoy the water.
Cooler weather, which also translates into cooler water, ignites fishing, especially with the big three, flounder, reds and trout.
September, as we often mention, tends to be a transition month when trout and other fish migrate from their summertime refuges in deeper waters back into the shallower waters. Depending upon how soon the temperature drops, we normally see fish entering into their fall fishing patterns by early to mid-October.
What are those patterns? Well, any seasoned fisherman or fishing guide will tell you that bird action in the upper and back bays will get underway and anglers with boats will have an easy time locating schools of trout thanks to diving gulls and pelicans pointing out the fish.
Wade fishing and kayaking during October takes preference over fishing from a boat, especially in the back bays and other shallow water spots. All of the big 3 can be found in the shallower waters and wade fishermen along with kayakers definitely having an advantage over the high powered bay boats for catching fish.
The cooler temperatures and shorter days send signals to fish that winter is on its way and it is time to put on extra layers of fat.
While most summertime fishing tends to take a mid-day break due to intense heat and direct sunlight, the fall action often is ongoing throughout the day, especially on cloud covered days.
Fall fishing is highlighted by the annual flounder migration or flounder run as it is called and that usually begins in mid-October. During October anglers continue to be allowed their five fish limit and are permitted to take flatfish by gigging. Beginning in November that all changes as a reduction in the bag limit from five to two per person per day takes place. Also, flounder gigging is prohibited that month.
For anglers around the Seabrook/Kemah area, October begins the prime time for fishing Upper Galveston and Trinity Bays. Again this year we saw a mass migration of fish out of those areas in the late spring due to another year of spring floods. Conditions finally settled, the salinity levels returned to normal and now trout are returning. Based on reports from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, we should be in for a banner season on trout and reds this fall.
Now is the time to get prepared for all of the action ahead. For flounder fishermen, get your tackle and baits now before the panic sets in as the flounder run begins. By late October many of the tackle shops will have limited inventories of flounder rigs and the more popular varieties of Berkely Gulps. Other popular baits such as Chicken Boys and Flounder Pounders tend to be picked over as well.
Live bait such as shrimp, mud minnows and fingerling mullet should be widely available.
For anglers targeting other species of fish now is the time to make certain you have the right equipment including popping corks and that your equipment is in good working order.
Have fun with the family this fall and go out there and catch some nice fish and crabs!