Although the first day of fall occurs in the month of September, it sure doesn’t feel like it in any waters where redfish live. Fortunately, redfish don’t mind the heat and can be an easy target in the shallow marsh.
September is a great month for kayak anglers who love the adrenaline rush of sight casting to shallow-water reds. The shrimp are maturing and abundant this time of year. On a recent trip where I fish in Texas, I had shrimp jumping into the kayak on every muddy shoreline I traveled. When fishing in scenarios such as this, I prefer to throw soft-plastic paddletails.
Locating the reds from a distance can be easy when the water is this shallow and the bait is this plentiful. One key giveaway is hovering seagulls. You can bet if a gull is snatching shrimp out of the air, there are hungry fish below them.
When kayaking, it depends on the distance as to whether or not I will try to chase down the hungry and potentially fast-moving school. If I am not willing to make the move, I try to watch for a pattern as to where the fish are feeding and stage my kayak in a similar location nearby. This could be along points, in the middle, or in front of drains.
On this particular trip, I noticed skittish bait and distant birds along a north shoreline. I positioned my kayak within casting distance of that shore and fan casted until I saw nervous bait. Once spotted, I would wait for them to cruise the shore into range. When the time was right, I placed my lure with the fleeing shrimp resulting in aggressive strikes. This was the pattern they held most of the day; however I did catch a few in the middle of the cove as well. If I was not seeing nervous bait, I would fan cast 360 degrees to cover more water. I even had a few keeper-sized trout hanging out in the hot, shallow and muddy marsh.
This area was roughly 10 feet deep throughout with a silty mud bottom, and the water color closely resembled chocolate milk. The air temp was in the mid 90s, but that didn’t deter the fish from feeding mid-day through 5 p.m. The strikes were violent and gave the illusion of each fish being larger than they were upon landing them.
September brings a change in the season, but it is much more noticeable on the calendar than on the water.
Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.