The first couple weeks of October have produced a steady flow of fish for our guides, particularly large numbers of redfish and black drum. This is probably due to the higher tides we’ve experienced so far this month, and the fact that we didn’t seen any substantial change in the weather along our coastal bend area during the first part of the month. Until now, we’ve gotten a bit of rain and a brief north wind that cooled the daytime and nighttime temperatures a bit, but up until the third week in the month, trout catches have been shadowed by some really impressive catch-and-release activities on redfish. However, that’s all going to turn around for us now that the first major frontal passage has arrived.
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 anglers should 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 bay waters continue to cool, a 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 look for food in surrounding areas. This transition to mud takes place every year at this time, and wading anglers who don’t mind getting into water with knee-deep mud can often expect rewards that outweigh the difficult walking.
An effective wading pattern to exercise during this period of seasonal change is the zigzag routine. At this time of the year you may find the fish warming themselves in bright sunlight in skinny water, or they might be clinging to the depths of deeper water for security and warmth. That’s why walking back-and-forth between shallow and deep water is a good idea. Start your wade session in deeper water so you don’t startle any fish that may already be in shallow water – face the shoreline and walk toward it. Fan your casts from three o’clock to nine o’clock as you walk in a diagonal line directly toward the shore. Once you’re in shallow water, turn your back to the shoreline and walk in a diagonal line away from the shore while heading back out to deeper water. This is a proven method of attack during this changing time in the year, and it allows you to cover a lot of territory, as well. Good luck out there, and be safe!