It’s September, and windless evenings are becoming more of the norm than the exception. Sure, the wind is blowing during the days once the sun has had a chance to heat the morning air, but night hours generally get calm this month. Nights like this are very noticeable early each morning at the dock prior to sunrise. High humidity levels and no wind can quickly result in a person sweating a lot, so getting underway as soon as possible is often a desire for most of us this time of the year.

As you fire-up the outboard and start heading into the pre-dawn darkness, you can tell by looking at the eastern horizon that the sun is doing everything within its power to raise into view. You head at a brisk pace, accompanied by a preferred and predominant Southeast wind, toward what you sometimes refer to as your “summertime promise land” – more commonly known by many as the innumerable oyster reefs and shell pads that hold a large presence in San Antonio Bay, Espiritu Santo Bay, both East and West Matagorda Bays, and even Mesquite and Carlos Bays.

Shell consisting of that ever-popular mix of just enough bottom mud to attract small crustaceans and bait fish is only one trait you hope to find as you approach what looks to be a favorable shell reef. Another item on your agenda when you’re amongst heavy shell in September is the color and condition of the water atop the reef. You like it to be perfect – calm, and trout-green in color. And you soon find that today’s shell adventure is beginning to meet your expectations and requirements for having nothing less than a stellar day atop the open-bay shell.

In approach to your first stop of the morning, you bring the motor to an idle, and you quietly advance upon the crest of the reef where you want to start your first wading session. You don’t know how to explain to others the setting you’re in other than by telling them that it is almost surreal in nature. As the sky continues to brighten, you can briefly make out that you are literally encompassed by miles upon miles of a seemingly endless mix of mud and shell. Next, and with dawn’s dimness rapidly evaporating, you let the boat drift in the slight breeze until it positions itself directly atop the long reef in the morning’s high tide. In doing so, you note yet another welcomed presence - the reef is covered with the brilliant margarita-green colored water that you had been hoping for. Another plus for you on this particular morning is that you are experiencing a noticeable tidal movement in and around your location. These things, along with the fact that the wind continues to gradually strengthen throughout the course of the day, are all signals that the upcoming fall fishing pattern is slowly encroaching upon us.

There are a lot of changes that take place each year surrounding the approach of fall. Summer vacation ends and the kids have to go back to school and, consequently, a lot of sportsmen stow their boats and put away their fishing gear until the following summer as they prepare for dove season, deer season, or duck and goose season. But for whatever reason, fall generally means a reduced amount of boating traffic on area bays and less fishing pressure as a direct result. However, these aren’t the only changes brought about by the approach of fall.

Another change that typically takes place toward the later part of this month is the change in the air temperature. That’s right, along the coastal bend region of Texas it is September when Mother Nature finally decides to turn down the thermostat on the neighborhood air conditioning system. We’re used to seeing temperatures drop from the 100’s to that of the 80’s in most cases - this might be a brief period this month, but we’ll take what we can get! This developing cooling cycle also means our bay waters should also be undergoing a greening period as an aftereffect. Anglers should be looking for the presence of a lot of trout-green water toward the end of the month and into October, and this means artificial bait enthusiasts should begin having the time of their lives.

The slow increase of higher tides signals to successful anglers the need to start shifting some of their focus to thick grass-to-mud transitional shorelines when targeting trophy trout. A lot of us will come to find that these very spots will hold some of the year’s largest trout right along the grassy edges of the shorelines. As the month progresses, anglers will also need to pay special attention to the fact that the days will be getting shorter, resulting in less hours of sunlight each day. It’s at this time in the year when many anglers begin transitioning to the use of dark-colored lures, and will even start to experiment with suspending baits like the Corky, and its cousin the Fatboy. Until next time, tight lines to all!


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Last edited by Capt. Chris Martin; 09/24/20 12:55 PM.