Fall Fishing in the Texas Gulf Coast

September 25, 2020

In some regions the fishing slows down as the temperatures drop. But that’s not the case when it comes to the Texas Gulf Coast. If anything, the fishing only gets hotter during the fall months of September, October, and November.

Why is Fall the time to get your rods and reels ready? It’s all about timing. As the temperatures get cooler it marks the beginning of the migration season for a variety of inshore species. These species are fun to track down and catch, especially as they move from the many brackish bays to the Gulf of Mexico. Anglers will travel from near and far to target these species in hopes of coming home with a full cooler and personal best catch.

Let’s take a look at the top species of the season and where to find them:

Fall Migrations in Texas

Redfish are by far one of the most sought-after species throughout the year in Texas. But when September rolls around, it’s the number one species on almost every angler’s mind. You can find them migrating from the bays of the Gulf Coast to the Gulf in such large numbers that the water appears to have a red-tint. Redfish (also known as red drum) are bronze or gold colored with a distinct dot (or dots) near the tail. Anglers will sight fish during the fall, keeping an eye on the surface of the water for the back or tail of the redfish. This technique is known as “tailing,” and is quite popular as the species migrates in large numbers through shallow waters. Use shrimp or crab when using live bait; spoons or artificial lures are also successful.

October is the right time to schedule your Texas flounder fishing trip. Once again, the migration of the species gets the anglers’ attention. Flounders are moving to the Gulf at the first sign of colder temperatures; Don’t wait too long or you’ll miss them altogether. You’ll see large groups of flounder making their way through the inlets if a harsh cold front moves through the area. This is practically the perfect time to plan your flounder fishing adventure. Flounder are flatfish species that lay on the seabed camouflaging themselves along the sandy bottom. They are brown on the top and white on the bottom. Some anglers will bottom fish for flounder, while others enjoy gigging. Flounder gigging is typically a night-time excursion with LED lights to help spot the fish through the murky waters.

While September and October are great months for the redfish and flounder, the month of November is all about the trout. This is when they start to show up in good numbers as they move towards a second spawning season. Some trout will grow large enough to be considered “gator trout”, those that grow to more than 32 inches and over 17 pounds. Trout are also known as spotted seatrout and speckled trout, or “specks.” They are silver colored with black dots along their back. Anglers can try their hand at fly fishing or sight casting near the grass beds. Add a popping cork to the line for some great topwater action.

Fishing the Gulf Coast

Redfish, flounder, and specks are the top three species that anglers target during these fall months. While they are found throughout the bays along the Texas Gulf Coast, here are three of our favorite local fishing grounds:

Galveston Bay is located just outside of Houston, and is one of the larger estuaries in the state. Near Galveston Bay are smaller bays (East Bay and West Bay, specifically) that host a few of our favorite inlets. The Port Bolivar inlet is just one example where anglers can line up and wait as the redfish travel through the strait. Time your trip during the early morning or late afternoon hours and you’re sure to see some action. The Galveston Bay system is one of the premier fishing spots along the coast, and is a great place to start your fall fishing trip.

Moving south, the Matagorda Bay system provides more top fishing grounds in the Fall season. Pass Cavallo, located near Port O’Connor, connects Matagorda Bay to the Gulf of Mexico and is one of our favorite fishing spots. It has powerful currents with deep cuts and is known as a top producer of bull reds and gator trout during the month of October.

North Padre Island and the inlet to Baffin Bay is a third option for your fall inshore fishing adventure. Bring your waders and plan your trip during those “golden hours.” The area is known for bull reds and consistent action on trout. Flounders are also known to hit hard near the drop-offs.

Plan Your Texas Fall Fishing Trip

Now is the time to get yourself to the Lone Star State and enjoy the fall migrations of trout, redfish, and flounder. The temperatures are starting to get cooler, and the fishing is getting hotter. Whether you head to Galveston, Matagorda, or Padre Island, you’re sure to see a ton of action as the migration begins. If you’re from out of town, or don’t have your own vessel, consider hiring a local Texas fishing guide. They are professionals who have the gear and the experience to help you on this incredible excursion. It only happens once a year, don’t miss out!

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