by Capt. Craig Lambert
The kids are back in school and it is time to reflect on what a great summer of fishing we have had so far this year. Cooler than normal temperatures and superb fishing has been the norm which has definitely made this a summer to remember. My thoughts toward this fall are that we are going to have an above average fall fishing season.
The abundance of rainfall we have had this year will help our bay system tremendously as fall approaches. A healthy marsh is one of the benefits of above average rainfall totals and a healthy marsh means a healthy fishery. Moving on from our hottest months of July and August will cause water temperatures to slowly drop as the amount of sunlight per day slowly fades away. These two events are the catalysts that trigger a northerly migration of gamefish up the Houston ship channel towards the San Jacinto and Trinity rivers. This is known as the fall migration and it is definitely the best fishing of the year here on the Galveston bay complex.
As cooler temperatures and cold fronts become more prevalent the fish will respond to these conditions and will allow the average weekend angler to put more fish in the box. Less crowded conditions will prevail with the absence of deer hunters spending their weekends and time looking for that big whitetail rather than that elusive trophy speck. So this is the time of year to really get out there and hit it hard because it doesn't get any better than these next 12 weeks of fishing. Good fishing now turns in to great fishing as the weeks go by.
September is a great month of fishing typically because of the consistent weather we get all month long. Light winds in September will allow most anglers to get out to the hundreds of wells and well pads scattered through out our bay system. Just make sure you start marking every well you fish with your GPS because they are removing these wells at an alarmingly fast rate. Even though the well is gone the shell pad on the sea floor will remain and therefore the fish will continue to use that area to feed. Expect the fish to concentrate around the ship channel early in the month and as October nears and water temperatures drop they will transition from that summer to fall pattern and spread out more.
Flocks of birds with very small trout underneath them can be found in the open areas of the bay on most calmer days. The activity is sporadic but it is a good sign of things to come and could mark a good beginning for fishing under the birds this coming fall season. Expect the good bird activity to really kick in about mid October. The larger than average golden croaker tend to show up in September and there is not a harder fighting fish out there. Amazingly we had a few croakers on our lines these past few days that we thought were redfish. That is how hard they were fighting. Areas like the Moses Lake flood gates and H L & P spillway up in northern Trinity are great areas to find these hard fighting and great eating fish.
September is also a great month to catch oversized redfish as they make their annual migration thru our passes to spawn. The north and south jetties are very popular areas to catch these brutes but don't pass up the concrete ship, Feenor flats or the Bolivar wells and the many structures located along the ship channel. This species and breeding stock is very important to our fishery and should be released with great care. Holding them in the water by the tail until they swim away is best. Sometimes it can take a few minutes to revive them so keep pushing them back and forth thru the water to get them oxygenated and lively. Only one fish may be obtained over 28 inches and that is to be tagged from your license. Make sure and call Operation Game Thief at 800-792-GAME if you see anyone illegally harvesting this precious commodity. These redfish are an important and vital resource and we as anglers have a responsibility to make sure that the future generations can enjoy these wonderful fish.
Take a kid fishing today!!!