Lures of Choice for the Fall Season
When the temperatures start to cool off in the fall, what a blessing it is for this fishing guide. It means that the redfish are going to get thicker with the season change and the trout thinner. It also means that the boat traffic is less as well. My wife is always talking about the season change,(her favorite time of the year) since sheís from Michigan, and I keep telling her Honey, thereís a season change down here too, thereís the trout season, redfish season, tarpon season, and flounder season. I know that some of the trout are still around, but most have made their way out to the Gulf and the cooler waters of the surf. Since we donít fish the surf down here in the Lower Laguna Madre that leaves the red fish as the target species. Itís also a great time for snook and tarpon as well. These can be caught around the Jetties on both natural and artificial.
My favorite lures for this time of the year are the Johnsonís Silver Minnow spoon, Nortonís Bull Minnow, She Dogs and High Rollers. Most all of your favorite lures that produce in the spring will work in the fall also. The difference might be where you work them. For instance, I like the High Roller and the She Dog around the Jetties when Iímí trying to find a good snook or two. They also work well in the flats for the redfish. Especially, in the early morning hours right at sunrise. However the King Mackerel will eat them also around the jetties and the "herds" of redfish will fight over them in the flats and both will destroy top waters in a heartbeat. So the best thing to do is have plenty on hand.
The same thing applies to the gold spoons. This is always a go to bait when fishing the flats in the fall for red fish. Most people know that the mullet run happens in the fall and where you find bait you will usually find the fish right there with them. The spoons work well for an imitation of the mullet as well as the perch, which also school up at this time of the year. So donít go fish the brine with out a few of these in your box.
The Nortonís Bull Minnow (pearl with Chartreuse tail) works equally well in all of the same spots. I have actually used this bait to catch a lot of kings in the pass and around the jetties in years past. In fact, believe it or not, I have caught a sailfish at the end of the jetties on a Norton Bull Minnow. The technique that I use for king fish, is to rig up with a 3/8ís ounce jig head and a 12" piece of wire. I then tie on about 30" of 30# mono, which has been surgeon loop knotted to the main line. This makes casting it a lot easier. The steel wire is the bite tippet. Cast it out and let it sink to the bottom, or as close as possible and jig it up quickly about five foot and let it sink back down. The kings, if their there will hit it on the fall usually. But you better have plenty on hand if they are biting, their pretty toothy critters and will destroy a soft plastic bait.
Fly-fishing is another great way to fish for all these species at this time of the year if youíre so inclined to try your luck. Kingfish and snook can both be caught around the jetties using a sink tip or intermediate line in the 9 or 10wt class. Use at least a 16# tippet for best results. Flies I like to use are a #1 Sea-Ducer and a #1 Clouser Minnow. Red and white or chartreuse are my favorite colors. Try to get the fly as close to the rocks or the bottom as possible and strip with quick strips pausing for three to four seconds in between strips. If your not hanging up occasionally then youíre not close enough to the bottom. Poppers on a floating line works best in the early morning and late evening. Large poppers such as the Banger, really gets the attention of snook up close to the rocks. Sometimes the kings will hit these but not normally. They will make a pass at them and usually miss. The same thing applies on the reds in the flats. Early is best then switch to sub-surface like the clousers or sea-ducers. Most of the reds you find in the fall will not be tailing fish but what we call cruisers. So look hard and on the bottom for these guys, and when you find one thereís usually a lot more with it. The sand flats are a good bet to find fish this time of the year, as the water temps are cooler over the sand than it is over the dark grass flats.
Good fishing and remember to keep what you can use and release the rest for another day.
Skipper Ray is a freelance writer and fishing guide in South Padre Island, Texas
where he owns and operate Island Outfitters. Call: 956-943-2798 or Email
Fishing Articles by Skipper Ray
Blind Casting the Flats
Catching and Handling Numbers of Trout
Fishing Guides Perspective
Effective Blind Casting on the Fly
Line Management Techniques
Lures of Choice for the Fall Season
More Tec Tips - King Mackerel
New Trout Techniques
Ready at the Rod
Spring is in the Air
Tech Tips - "Donít Give Up"
Tech Tips - Itís a Drag
The Ladies Have More Fun
The Chosen One
The "Ibis" Built by Newwater Boatworks
The Old Gold Spoon
Time to Fish Free
It's Red Fishing Time in South Padre
Trout Fishing the Lower Laguna Madre
Trout on Topwater Flies
Wading the Lower Laguna Madre