November - Gem of a Fishing Month!

November's reputation for great angling is founded upon great weather and water conditions, and definitely bolstered by the number of Texans with their sights set on deer. Count the vehicles carrying folks wearing camo at any popular travel stop on any November Friday – competition for prime fishing spots will be about as low as it gets.

The seasonal patterns of major forage species brings inshore gamefish within easy reach of wade-fishermen around mid-bay reefs and along most shorelines, and the lack of traffic on the bays contributes to feeding activity that sometimes lasts all day.

You'll probably need a jacket and waders, at least during morning hours, but this is an easy trade for the inescapable swelter of summer that forces to wade neck-deep for heat relief as much as bites. Thankfully, in this era of moisture-wicking fleece and breathable waterproof fabric, remaining comfortable all day is as easy as a stop at your favorite tackle emporium and affordable as a quality rod and reel outfit.

November also ushers in the long-awaited trophy season for diehard speck anglers, the same way B&C bucks lure deer hunters. Stretches of wonderfully mild days with green tides studded by increasingly frequent northers toward month's end are known to produce storybook conditions for connecting with some of the year's best fish.

Despite the beauty of the season, we still must keep track of the marine weather forecast and, tempting as it might be when they're biting... never push the weather window.

I recall vividly the first weekend of November 1997. The weather had been uncommonly pleasant for a week and the waterfowl opener was disappointing on Matagorda Island. Returning from a lackluster morning hunt, we ran over several schools of reds. Anxious for any kind of action, we formulated a new afternoon plan.

Getting on those reds was like taking candy from a baby and, given the long run of great weather, we never thought to check the forecast.

Long about five o'clock we began noticing clouds building in the north but, topwaters getting slapped every which way. In less than thirty minutes the breeze that had barely shifted north became a gale, and bitingly cold by the time we started across Pringle Lake.

Swinging through the narrow boat lane and entering Espiritu Santo Bay, we were facing gusts of 60 miles-per-hour and the whitecaps between us and home looked like tall bales of cotton rolling across the angry black surface. The swells were so high that we had to struggle the first quarter mile before the lower unit quit smacking bottom in the troughs. We made it but, it was close – I kissed the ground.

Whether you fish or hunt this month, practice good sportsmanship, be as courteous to your fellow outdoorsmen as you would have them be toward you – and above all be safe.

When you gather for your Thanksgiving feast, praise the Almighty and give thanks for the bounty you are blessed to enjoy!