The red hot redfish action associated with fall fishing begins in the weeks leading up to Labor Day.
Story and Photography By Danno Wise
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that August is a summer month. However, the red hot redfish action that is generally associated with fall fishing actually begins in the weeks leading up to Labor Day. That means August through October is prime redfish time. And, this includes a variety of areas along the coast. In fact, late summer begins a period of angling excitement when fishermen tackle redfish of all sizes in a variety of venues, with a variety of techniques and using a variety of baits and lures. So, although we are only talking about a single species, the diverse places and ways to catch redfish this time of year means that anglers can literally do something different every single day of the month.
Shallow Flats and Shorelines
Contrary to popular belief, not all inshore fish are found deep during late summer. In fact, August is the time maturing reds in the back bays will begin ganging up and working their way down to the Gulf passes for their annual spawning ritual. As a single fish become doubles, doubles become pods and pods become schools, they become more and more commonly found in shallow water – over skinny flats and along shorelines.
Keeping with the theme of variety, shallow water fishermen are presented with a myriad of methods that can be productive on late summer reds. When found on the shallow flats, redfish can easily be taken with a variety of natural baits, such as shrimp, mullet, and crab. Any number of artificial lures, including topwaters, spoons and soft-plastic jigs, will also work – not to mention the streamers, attractors and poppers cast by fly fishermen.
Regardless of what bait or lure is being thrown, there are a variety of ways to target redfish in shallow water this time of year. For natural bait fishermen, they most basic method is to anchor up and fish bait on the bottom, general in sandy potholes or along the edges of grass beds.
A modified bottom fishing method that has developed in Deep South Texas is known as “humping.” The basic purpose of humping is to cover water while bottom fishing. This technique involves casting downwind of a drifting boat with a bottom rig, then reeling steadily, but just fast enough to keep slack out of the line as the boat drifts toward the location of the bait. Once the boat gets close to the bait, it is reeled in and recast. This method can also be used by wade fishermen walking toward their bait while reeling.