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Fall Fever: Tailing Reds

This update was penned by Fishhound blogger Jason Bryant. For more stories like this, visit The Skinny –  his exclusive blog on Fishhound.

Southeast Texas, and other parts of the Gulf Coast, got the first dose of fall a few weeks ago. The oppressive heat and gooey humidity that’s been blanketing the region for the past few months got replaced by dry air, light northwest winds and overnight lows in the 60s. And just like that, the redfish in the marsh went bonkers.

I often get asked about the best time of year to target shallow-water reds along the Texas coast. My go-to answer is always “football season,” and that goes for the most of the states along the Gulf of Mexico. Sometimes that window’s off by a few weeks, but it was right on the money this year. As football fans across the country plopped down on their couches in anticipation of their home team’s opening kickoff, the redfish were geared up to blitz unsuspecting schools of shrimp and mullet being flushed from shallow backwaters by receding tides.

If sight-fishing gets your blood pumping then you might as well clear your schedule and get your tackle in order, because things are going to get crazy for the next few months. If you need a little extra motivation, just take a look at this series of pics and video sent to me by Galveston Bay guru Captain Scott Null. Scott saved his best pics for an upcoming magazine article, but these “cull shots,” as he labeled them, are pretty dang cool.

All of the below images were shot in a single day and foreshadow what’s to come throughout the fall as cooler temperatures and low tides send marsh-dwelling reds into a feeding frenzy. Check out the video and take note of the water level. A normal tide in this marsh lake would usually push all the way up to the spartina grass on the shoreline, but the water level’s not even close in this instance. That’s what you’re looking for during the fall.

Look for days near the new and full moon when tide fluctuations are greatest. A hard outgoing tide that coincides with daylight is ideal. If you add in a north wind, even better, as that will help drop water levels even further.

When it comes to fall fishing along the Gulf Coast, remember this mantra: “Wind with an N is your new best friend.” Any time you look at a forecast and the wind direction has an “N” in it – N, NW, NE – that means it’s time to go!

If you want more tips for targeting tailing fish and sight-casting to schools, check out this previous blog entry: Quick Tips for Tempting Tailers.

Images courtesy Fishhound

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