November Options for Kayakers

November Options for Kayakers

Without a doubt the Texas heat had a good run this year but by now I think it is safe to say that fall is upon us in full force. The weather is ideal and is a good motivation for anglers and hunters to be in the outdoors. Deer hunters are in the woods, duck hunters are in the marsh and kayakers need to be on the water fishing. This is a great time of the year to take advantage of the water with the absence of all the hunters.

I know that we have not had any freezing days yet but a kayaker needs to be prepared for the cooler months. The key to a successful trip is staying dry; getting wet on a cold day can be miserable and possibly dangerous. I have seen several trips cut short because of people getting wet. It is important to have the right gear that will get the job done correctly.

The most essential piece of gear a kayaker needs is a good set of waders. For the most part there are two general classifications of waders; hunting and fishing. Since I like to duck hunt, I own a set of neoprene waders. They are dry and very warm when temperatures start to drop. I know plenty of people that use the breathable fishing style which are usually made of Gore-Tex or a plastic coated material, either will work. The main goal is to keep the water off of you while paddling and fishing and there is nothing better to use.

I also want to debunk any myths that anglers have heard about sinking in waders. There are several people, including professional Jim Sammons, that have proved sinking in waders does not happen. If there is still any doubt, an angler can put a belt around the waist of their waders and cinch it tight. Air will stay trapped down by your legs and will actually help you float if you fall in. Just remember to always wear your PFD and if an accident is to happen, you are prepared for it.

The other hazard that comes during this time of the year is duck hunters. Our favorite summertime marsh to fish is filled with waterfowl in November, which in turn brings hunters hoping to shoot their limits of birds. Being in the area can result in being peppered by steel shot or even confrontation from hunters; they take duck hunting very seriously! Although it is public water and by law you can rightfully fish there, it is best to just steer clear. After all, we have the marsh to ourselves the other nine months of the year.

For those that enjoy both duck hunting and kayak fishing, the Texas coast is a perfect place for a good ole cast and blast. Often times your favorite fishing honey hole will hold plenty of birds come November. A kayaker can make his way into the marsh, shoot a limit of birds, and then catch a limit of reds on the way back in. You get the best of both worlds. This is one of my favorite outdoor activities to do come November. Not to mention, duck poppers and redfish on the half shell is by far some of the greatest of God's bounty to throw on the grill. Be sure to check all rules and regulations before going. Some Wildlife Management Areas do not allow fishing during hunting season and rules vary with each individual refuge.

Anglers on the other hand should take advantage of these circumstances by being on the water. The fishing crowd is far reduced from what a kayaker experiences during summertime. The migration of bait fish from the marsh is still going on so fishing is still top notch. Sitting at the mouth of a bayou on an outgoing tide can result in limits of trout, reds and flounder. The redfish can be found schooled up pushing the remainder of shrimp in the lake down a shoreline. The trout are still doing their thing and that is staying in larger schools and feeding heavily before the shrimp make their final exit to the Gulf. Also be on the lookout for birds working. I have seen flocks of gulls feeding into late December–seems they never pass up an easy meal.

This is also the month that is marked as the flounder run. Anglers from all-around will make their way to the nearest outflow to the Gulf just to get on some of the action. The flounder migration is immense and can make for easy limits. Although it is not necessarily my favorite fish to target or eat, (I know, I know) I will always pick up a few while out fishing.

During this time of year, the mouth of every marsh drain or bayou should be stacked with flounder. Dragging a chartreuse curly-tailed GULP across the bottom should produce a limit of fish. If you are into throwing live bait, a Carolina-rigged finger mullet or mud minnow will work just as well. Also, an angler has the opportunity to catch their personal best flounder. I have seen several flounder caught during the spawning migration that measured 22-plus inches. Just a reminder that the bag limit changes from 5 to 2 during November and can be taken only by pole-and-line.

The month of November has plenty to provide for an angler or hunter. We should be able to get a good stock of food that will hold us over until next spring when the fish return from the Gulf. We have also had enough cool weather for the realization that winter is near. Northern winds will begin to bring freezing temperatures and will send the remaining fish in a lethargic state. Before long it will be time to grab my waders, jacket, and beanie cap and hit the water. The popping cork and sand eel plastics will be coming off and replaced with Corkys as my go-to lures. Now is the time to prepare for the transition into winter fishing season.

Enjoy Life!

Editor's Note Flounder Regulations (cut and paste from TPWD website)Daily bag is 5 fish except from Nov. 1-30, when the daily bag limit is 2 fish and flounder may be taken only by pole-and-line; and from December 1-14, when the daily bag limit is 2 fish and flounder may be taken by any legal means, including gigging. Possession limit is equal to the daily bag.