The transition of seasons always brings new opportunity and a change of pace for anglers. Summer to Autumn fishing offers the richest rewards of any. It’s a time when fish are easiest to find and catch. October has an unlimited array of angling potential for species, tactics and the potential for catching an inshore slam.
Let’s start with speckled trout. One of the easiest tactics to catch these fish in fall is under the birds. Typically, this yields smaller trout, but in the fall it is not uncommon to locate many schools holding keeper size trout. I fish a durable soft plastics rigged on a ¼- and ½-ounce jigheads. Keeping one rod rigged with each offers several benefits. If the school is moving fast, heavier weight allows for a longer cast. It enables you to pull a few more fish out of the school. If they are really on the move, this can be the only way to get your lure into the sweet spot. At times, larger trout hang out lower in the water column beneath smaller trout. A heavier jig gets down past smaller fish.
On the other hand, you might need the ¼-ounce in order to slow the sink rate when working smaller schools, so the scattered trout have time to find it before it drops out of sight.
Here’s a tip: Smash the barb on the hook down. When you are on a school, time is not on your side. You want the trout to fall off the hook once it is in the boat. This allows you to get your lure back out into feeding fish quickly.
I typically sling them in without a net. Use the leverage of the rod and the momentum of reeling the fish in. It can take a minute to get the hang of this, but it saves time when working the birds. If I’m on an actively feeding school, I sling them in, let them fall on the deck and cast again. Once we are off the school, I place the fish in the cooler. I also like to wait until a shrimp jumps. Then I cast exactly to that spot. Many times this results in a solid strike.
Autumn fishing for Reds
Autumn reds can be found gorging themselves in bayou mouths and marsh drains on outgoing tides as the shrimp, crabs and mullet are making their way out of the shallows. Studying your satellite maps and your tide tables for specific areas will put the odds in your favor and reds in your boat.
Flounder can also be found mixed in with the reds as they are starting their winter migration. Flat fish will still be scattered but can be found starting to stage at the major passes.
Autumn fishing is a great time to be on the water and a perfect time to introduce young anglers to the sport. The weather is nice, and the fish are hungry!
Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.