Friday, September 24, 2010

The Change of Seasons -- Best Time to Fish!

One of the best fishing seasons is the "change" of seasons. In Maine, the big change is "ice-out," when spring first arrives, the ice melts, the fish feed ravenously and the fishing is especially good. Here at Bob Hall pier in Texas, the water temperature has been close to 89 degrees for months, and it was an especially hot end of summer.
But for the last five days of summer, a long tropical rain spell kept the skies cloudy and the temperatures down. The water temperature dropped ten degrees -- and the fish, especially prized redfish or red drum, started feeding. Fishermen all over the area reported sudden limit catches as the start of fall arrived.
Even though the heavy rains that had caused major floods in nearby Corpus Christi threatened yet again on September 21, I wanted to see if the fish had been properly energized by the temperature drop. The water was rough and murky so lures would be hard for fish to see. I brought a fresh skipjack (ladyfish) to cut up for bait, the people next to me had live shrimp and the people next to them used cut dead mullet.
Didn't matter -- all of us caught redfish. I landed two reds around 5 pounds each in about an hour. As I was leaving I got a picture of the people next to me landing a 28 inch red, about 8 pounds. I came back the next night for a few minutes (again, just a few folks there) and caught a 20-inch redfish after a half hour or so. (There were some "nuisance" hardhead catfish biting, and the larger and tasty gafftop catfish as well.) Notice the "circle" or "drop" net -- it's your only hope for landing a big fish on a pier. You drop the net into the water and do your best to get your fish to swim into it, then pull it up.
You see that redfish really aren't very red -- until they're out of the water a few minutes. The first one I caught was bright red by the time the second one joined it in the cooler. Also, I was fishing in the early nighttime only because that's when I could make it out, but daytime should be good, too.
When seasons change, fishing can improve overnight, you can plan on that. And it's always nice when a plan comes together.