By Capt. Michael Okruhlik
Fall fishing can be the easiest and best fishing of the year. For me it is the flounder run, schools of trout and reds under flocks of gulls, and the prelim to giant trophy trout time.
The fall flounder migration is definitely a staple of fall fishing, and I know that it goes on wherever flatfish exist. We do have a closed season for the first time, so be sure to check the regs wherever you plan to fish. Most states have changed flounder regulation in the last couple years.
Not only are flounder easier to find when they travel though the passes in their voyage to their spawning grounds, they also feed aggressively as they follow baitfish out of the bays. When I focus on flounder, I change my presentation dramatically. I like to apply scent to my lures, which gives you a great advantage when it comes to catching flounder.
A tandem rig is a popular method to utilize for flounder. Since flounder frequently ambush bait by burying themselves in the sand, I keep my lead lure in contact with the bottom at all times and give the lure a twitch with my rod using a sideways motion. If I am in a boat, I do this with my rod tip down, but while wading my rod moves to my side.
Finding trout and reds smashing shrimp under feeding gulls can really get your heart pumping from the visual excitement. It can also provide non-stop fish on every cast. This is especially true in the fall, when it is more common to find larger trout schooling than in the other three seasons.
When fishing the birds, I use a heavier jighead than I typically do. A ¼- to 3/8-ounce jighead works well. The more skittish the fish and birds, the heavier head I will use. I do this simply to increase my casting distance, so I can reach the schools sooner and stay farther away in an attempt to not break up the schools or push them down. Using a durable soft plastic and smashing down the barb of the hook are helpful in maximizing the number of fish you can pull off each school. If you can keep the birds off of it, throwing a topwater might pull out some of the larger fish and add to the fun and visual stimulation of the entire event.
By the end of fall, trophy trout become my main focus, and this continues through mid-spring. At this time, the water will have cooled considerably, and the majority of bait will have left the bays. Artifical lures will become a more reliable option for catching trophy trout.
Enjoy this cooler weather, and spend some time on the water. This is a great time to introduce young anglers to the sport.
Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Knockin Tail Lures and Controlled Descent Lures, and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.