October 29, 2012
Fishing at this time of the year can sometimes be frustrating for a lot of us. The weather is changing right now, and so is the fishing pattern as we progress into the fall season. The weather one day might be cloudy and cold, and the next day sunny and warm. It’s for this reason that I like to look for a bottom made-up primarily of mud, not sand. The atmospheric changes are telling the fish that it is now the time for them to begin transitioning to the insulating qualities offered by that of the wintertime mud. As colder water temperatures advance this time of the year, a predominant mud bottom acts as an insulator of sorts – the mud absorbs the heat of the daylight sun and holds the heat for a much longer period of time over that of sand. Big trout will instinctively probe the bay bottom in search these warmer spots, and will consequently begin to look for food sources in the surrounding and adjacent areas. This transition to mud takes place every year at this time, and I don’t mind getting into water with mud up to my knees when it does. Such conditions can make for a treacherous day of wading, but historically the rewards have often outweighed many of the hardships.
A wading pattern that I often like to exercise during this seasonal change is that which I simply refer to as the zigzag routine. At any given time at this time of the year the fish may be warming themselves in bright sunlight in really skinny water, or they might be clinging to the depths of deeper water for security and warmth. That’s why I like walking back-and-forth between shallow and deep water as I make my way along a somewhat muddy shoreline. I will generally begin my wade session in deeper water, thereby not startling any of the fish that may have already made their way to the sunny shallows. In starting out deeper, I’ll face the shoreline as I walk toward it. I’ll fan my casts all the while from my three o’clock to my nine o’clock as I walk in a diagonal line directly toward the shore. As I make my way into the shallows, I’ll then turn my back to the shoreline and will proceed in a diagonal line once again away from the skinny water as I head out to deeper water. This method of presentation has worked for me more times than I can remember during this changing time in the year. It allows me to not only cover a lot of territory, but to cover a number of different variables as well.
I know I’ve spoken to you in several of the previous issues of Guide Lines regarding the subject of shell, and the benefits of the structure that the shell provides in the onset of the developing fall fishing patterns. But due to the fact that the weather this time of the year might not always provide you with a chance to enjoy being anchored amidst open-water reefs, you should not forget about the protection of the shallow waters along the southern shorelines and the solitude and seclusion of the many, many back-lake areas during this period of the season. And as stated earlier, now is the time for you to focus your efforts upon grassy shores that happen to be mixed with a mud bottom.
It has now been a couple weeks since our first significant cold front, but I have experienced continued success in that time while casting over mud and grass with dark-colored lures. Some of my favorite baits this time of year are the Killer Flats Minnow, the Texas Trout Killer, and the Texas Red Killer in any one of the following colors: morning glory, Texas roach, or plumtruese. I have recently also found it to be more productive for me to slow my retrieve and to work my plastic lures at a very reduced pace in an attempt to keep the bait as close to the bay floor as I can. If wind and conditions allow, I like throwing a 1/16oz lead-head with these baits, but windy conditions sometime dictate the necessity for a 1/8oz jig-head just in order to be able to keep the plastic bait on, or near, the bottom. But regardless of whether you’re able to get atop some good shell, or the bait that you choose, just remember the importance of locating some thick mud right now. Keep that in mind and you should be successful as we head into the holiday season!
This weekend will be the opening weekend of what some people say just may be the most promising and greatest Duck Season in many years, so give us a call if you’re interested in a Blast & Cast adventure for this year’s season. Remember to practice CPR, “Catch, Photo, and Release”, whenever possible on trophy Trout and Reds…Guide Chris Martin, Port O’Connor/Seadrift region. www.BayFlatsLodge.com