By Capt. Michael Okruhlik. Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures
There is a lot about fall fishing that makes it fabulous. On the Texas Gulf Coast, it is the flounder run, schools of trout and reds under flocks of gulls, and the run up to giant trophy trout time.
Ah yes, the fall flounder migration. This is definitely a staple of fall fishing in Texas and one that many eagerly await each year. Not only are the fish easier to find due to the fact that they travel though all the passes in their voyage to their spawning grounds in the Gulf, they are also aggressively feeding as they follow baitfish out of the bay.
When I focus on flounder, I change my presentation dramatically. My lures of choice are the Controlled Descent Tandem Rig. Using scents gives you a great advantage when it comes to catching flounder, and these tandem rigs allow you to inject the soft plastics with scent gels. The trailing lure also floats off the bottom, making it more realistic since baitfish dont fall to the bottom when they stop moving, they suspend. Since flounder frequently ambush bait by burying themselves in the sand, I keep my lead lure in contact with the bottom at all times, giving the lure a twitch using a side motion with my rod. If I am in a boat, I do this with my rod tip down, but while wading my rod moves to my side.
The excitement of finding trout and reds smashing shrimp under feeding gulls can really get your heart pumping from the visual excitement and non-stop fish on every cast. This is especially true in the fall because it is very common to find larger trout schooling.
When fishing the birds, I like to use a heavier jighead than I typically use. Weights from ¼ to 3/8 ounce work well. The more skittish the fish and birds, the heavier head I will use. I do this 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 may pull out some of the larger fish and just add to the fun and visual stimulation of the entire event.
By the end of fall, trophy trout become my main focus, and this will continue through mid-spring. At this time, the water will have cooled off considerably and the majority of the bait will have left the bay, making catching trophy trout a more reliable option on artificial lures.
Enjoy this cooler weather and spend some time on the water. This is a great time to introduce young anglers to the sport, and the Texas coast is a great place to do it.
Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.