Schooled Up And Hungry

Schooled Up And Hungry

A variety of fish gang up in the fall that provide big time catches along the coast.

Story and Photography by Robert Sloan

Getting “schooled” takes on a whole new meaning during October. This is a time when gamefish begin to feed in large groups in preparation for the coming winter months.

One excellent example occurs at the Port O’Connor jetties. During October the incoming tides bring in a wild melee of feeding reds and jack crevalle.

This phenomenon all starts at the mouth of the jetties in West Matagorda Bay. The incoming tide brings in lots of crabs, mullet, pogies and shrimp. Waiting in the current will be huge schools of reds and jacks. When this happens, there is no way you can miss the action, or have problems find feeding fish. They will be tearing up the surface as they forage. The commotion looks like boulders falling out of the sky.

To get in on the action is simply a matter of motoring up to the surface feeding fish and making a cast with live and dead baits, or lures. If you set up just right the boat will drift in to the action and you’ll have bull reds and 20 pound-plus jacks busting bait within feet of the boat. It is sight casting at it’s very best.

One of the best lures is a five inch Yum Money Minnow in white or chartreuse. I like to rig them on a 5/0, ½ ounce Assassin screw lock jig head for a longer cast. Once this jig hits the water reel it in on a fast retrieve and hang on.  It’s some of the wildest fishing you’ll find along the Texas coast, and it’ll be going on throughout October.

The bull reds will mostly be feeding on bottom. One of the best baits is a half of a fresh dead blue crab. I’ll fish them on a Carolina rig with a one ounce barrel weight on bottom. You can also use live shrimp, croakers or pinfish.

Another October classic is to fish the surf for trout. As we begin to get cold fronts through the surf will flatten out and schools of big trout can be found in the first and second guts along the beach.