by Capt Craig Lambert
This was definitely an epic summer of fishing and it is quickly coming to an end as we lose a little more daylight everyday. That is the bad news. The good news is that we are approaching the very best fishing season of the year and as good as summer was this fall should be even better.
I consider the months of September through December to be the best 4 months of the calendar year for fishermen. Here is what we have to look forward to these next few months.
September has always been a transition month. The fish are starting to move and respond to water temperature changes and the loss of daylight. They are also changing their feeding habits and keying in on shad and shrimp and they aren't so keyed in on croakers anymore. Small fronts like the ones we have had lately seem to help push the fish as they follow their natural urge to move northward. For September I prefer to be in 4 to 8 ft of water when fishing for speckled trout and 3 to 4.5 ft of water when fishing for redfish. Both species like to be over heavy shell this time of year but the specks tend to be more on oyster shell while the redfish are feeding heavily on clams and freshwater clam reefs. Many other species can be found eating on these clam reefs like black drum and sheepshead.
As October approaches expect the move northward to continue in all of the bays. Any shorelines on the North side, no matter what part of the complex you are in, will hold fish. Outgoing tides are best and cold fronts begin to come in to play and start determining the best opportunities and days to be fishing. Birds begin to be more prevalent all over the entire complex as shrimp migrations occur. Look for that first major cold front to spark off a major "bird" bite as the marshes are emptied of bait. The specks begin to move shallower as the redfish are caught in heavy numbers throughout the bay system. The jetties, concrete ship and Feenor flats are great spots for some of the bigger oversized reds while slot reds just seem to be everywhere.
All year long I dream about November and it isn't because I am looking for Whitetail. What I dream about all year is Flounder season and that flounder "THUMP". My technique is to use 3/8 oz jigheads with gulp and just drag or do small quick hops as a retrieve along walls, corners, rocks/riprap and mudflats. This technique is very similar to flippin for bass and is deadly for catching large numbers of flounder. Speckled trout and redfish are also on fire during that time and the bird activity is really hot with the bigger fish found underneath most flocks. I like afternoons for best results on outgoing tides. The push to go shallow for specks continues.
December is a much overlooked month for most anglers. Perfect weather combined with extremely aggressive fish is just a continuation of November's hot bite. As the bird activity ceases the fish move to shorelines and shallow water flats but continue to be just as aggressive for most of this month.
Start planning those fishing trips now because it will be over before you know it and believe me you do not want to miss out on any of the action that is to come.
Have a great fall season and take a kid fishing!!!