Texas Coast Fall Drift Fishing Tips
Texas Coast Fall Drift Fishing Tips
Fall is nearly upon us and you may have already noticed the first signs of autumn's approach: the leaves may be starting to fade, the tides are falling and some of the wildflowers are beginning to die back. While plants may be winding things down in the fall, drift fishing is just picking up. All the way from the upper Texas coast to the Lower Laguna Madre's shallows, autumn is an excellent time for drifting for redfish and speckled trout with brown lures.
There are different fishing tips which are more applicable to fall fishing conditions. As temperatures cool and tides fall, bait fish leave their summer havens. This fall migration is something to watch for, since you'll find redfish and speckled trout feeding on these fish in waters which are great for drifting.
Typically when drifting for speckled trout and redfish, keying on fish attracting structure is a great starting point. Galveston area fishing guide, Captain Cody Maddox stays close to drops and holes within shell bottoms in upper West Bay
"When I say I fish holes within shell, I am drifting a seven-foot area surrounded by a three-foot depth," states Maddox. "The points of reefs and shell humps are additional fish magnets."
Maddox favors soft plastics rigged with 1/8 ounce to a ? ounce while drifting in fall. When fishing deep water, he switches to a 3/8 ounce head. "Limetreuse, plum and chartreuse, and morning glory are my go-to's."
"As far as fall fishing tips go, I'd suggest working your bait really fast over the bottom and then letting it sit for couple of seconds. If that doesn't work for you, then try slowing it a little just a bit off of the shell tip; I usually use a weedless hook setup for this. Sometimes the smallest change makes a big difference in your results," says Maddox.
Bastrop fishing guide, Captain Randall Groves prefers the fall season to drift fish than any other season. "It is all about working water streaks up here on the upper coast," states Groves. "When it gets really cold and the water gets clear, I do much better fishing muddy streaks rather than the clear water."
Captain Groves tends to focus on drifting areas with deep shell as well as muddy creeks and bayous. "I'll usually drift deeper shell areas in autumn, but when it gets windy I have good luck in creeks and bayous."
Retrieval is where Groves places most focus. "Some say you have to fish soft plastics slow in winter and it is solely a myth." Groves asserts he looks more for a "reactionary" bite rather than a "hungry" bite. "Slowing it works too, however, I work them pretty fast in very cold water and draw plenty of strikes."
"I like to use a really whippy rod like a Laguna Texas Wader III with soft plastics; I use ? oz or 3/8 oz lead heads. This setup lets me work through the water columns easily," says Groves.
Matagorda Bay guide Captain Dwayne Newburn offers the following fishing tips. "In fall, I use a trolling motor to control my drift When you're fishing around a group of gulls or other birds, your trolling motor can be a great help." In fall, you'll often find groups of gulls working groups of bait fish fleeing up to the surface to escape the redfish and speckled trout feeding below.
Another fan of autumn deep shell angling, Newburn says "I focus on the indentations and dips in shell pads when drifting in the fall."
"When drifting, I do well with DOA Shrimp and Cajun Thunder Popping Corks. I'm also a fan of Norton Sand Eel Jr. with laguna shrimp and Saltwater Assassins with new penny and native shrimp," says Newburn, who prefers 1/8 oz jig heads with his soft plastic brown lures in shallow water and ? oz heads in deeper waters.
Lower Laguna Madre guide Captain Danny Neu is also a fan of fall drift fishing. "Autumn just might be my favorite season, especially for catching bigger speckled trout. When the bait fish head out from the bays, sometimes you'll have to follow the coastline for a while before you come across a group of bait - but when you do, you can be sure that you've got some redfish and trout there."
When out on a day of fall drift fishing, Neu offers the following fishing tips - "I start out in the morning checking deeper waters to see if there are any bait fish around. I'll move on to shallow waters once it gets closer to noon and they start to warm up."
"As far as brown lures for fishing in colder weather, my number one choice is topwater plugs. In the autumn, you can throw these out all day and catch trout and redfish. It just plain works," Neu says.
Neu throws smaller plugs like the super spook jr. on the lower coast. "I like to keep one rod rigged with a super spook jr. and the other rigged with a soft plastic." When throwing soft plastics, red and white Brown Lures is his personal favorite.
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