By Capt. Joe Kent
For inshore anglers, September is a transition month for fishing. With the noticeably shorter days and a time when that first cool front crosses the upper Texas Coast, fish begin changing their patterns.
The shorter days probably are the big signal, as lately the water has not been cooling significantly during September. Regardless of what triggers the movement, trout begin to migrate out of their deeper summertime havens and start heading to shallower waters.
The first cool front will be a key to getting things in motion, especially for trout. Flounder begin waking up when the days are shorter, as that alerts them that winter is not far away and that they better start thinking about the big migration.
While the peak of the flounder run or migration to Gulf waters is not until November, the flatfish become more active. Reds on the other hand start preparing for their fall spawn capped by the big “bull red run” in the surf.
This year, expect Trinity Bay and Upper Galveston Bay to be in great shape following the spring floods that flushed all of the salinity out of those areas. The hot, dry summer did wonders to replacing the salinity level and, with all of the nutrients left behind from the floods, fishing should be great.
While inshore fishing still is good during September, it is the period from mid-October until early December when fall fishing tends to be red hot.
Considering that pattern, September is a good month to prepare for fall fishing by servicing the equipment you have been using all summer and that includes your boat.
Restringing your reels is a must if you have been fishing in saltwater and especially if they have been exposed to a lot of sunlight. Changing the size of the line is an issue you may be confronted with as well.
The decision on whether to restring with heavier or lighter weight line depends on the type of fishing you plan for the fall compared to how you fished during the spring and summer.
An example of this involves those who fish the jetties and other areas during the summer where rocks and debris are present which usually require a heavier line than wade fishermen would use. Your individual circumstances will dictate the answer to that question.
You should clean and oil your reels, perhaps not as thoroughly as after the season; however, a lot of salt tends to work its way into the inner workings of your reel during heavy use in the summer.
If you used your outboard engine a lot during the summer, say close to 100 hours, an oil change for the lower unit should be considered and lubrication of the moving parts covered by the cowling is recommended. One benefit to changing the oil is to check for water which indicates a leak. Lots of repair costs can be saved by early discovery of water in your oil.
If you perform the service, look for water running out upon removal of the drain plug and also milky colored oil. Both are signs of seal leaks and hopefully the discovery is made before internal parts are damaged.
Check your inventory of tackle, as some items become scarce during the flounder run, especially popular flounder lures and riggings.
Once you are satisfied that you are ready for the fall action, then you can start thinking about planning your first fall trip. This fall should be a good one for the Big 3.