Reports & Forecasts: Nov 2011

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
November usually means cool north winds and low water levels. These conditions lead to some of the best fishing of the year. Shrimp are moving out of the marshes on low tides. This shrimp migration is what drives the fish to the places where they will spend the rest of winter. Big trout will move to flats, reds will seek shallower water along the banks, and flounder will be stacked in deep water along the ship channel. Due to a lack of rainfall, trout will be found all the way up to the Saltwater Barrier on the Calcasieu River. Look for birds throughout the whole estuary. Joe's Cove and West Cove will also harbor lots of fish. These two areas are famously productive bird fishing areas. Most schools will be trout and redfish mixed. Redfish will be on the shorelines as well, around water control structures and narrow cuts. Weirs, culverts, and drainage canals are always great spots. If the fish are not right at the mouth of the structure, they probably are not far away. Move down the bank away from it, and fish for no more than a half mile.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
Like many others, James reports the fishing immediately prior to this report was much the same as it has been all summer, but he predicts changes are coming. “We’re still fishing out in the middle, working slicks and bait. The fish are moving around, so they’re hard to stay with. One day we catch 40 or more, the next day not as good. We’re catching them as shallow as three feet and as deep as nine feet too. One pattern that has been productive is working muddy streaks in Trinity Bay. There are tons of big shad over there and the trout and reds are staying with them. Best bet is to work the new, or sharp, side of the streak, where it’s muddiest. Since we have so much shad in the bays, I think wading the shorelines will pick up in November. Once we get a couple more cold fronts, we’ll see some birds working for a little while, but I don’t think it will be great, since we don’t have a great crop of shrimp. I’ll be wading and throwing lots of white/silver Top Dogs and Bass Assassin Sea Shads in LSU color come  November.”

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
With the arrival of duck season, Jim will be busy both hunting and fishing. “We’re expecting some good duck hunting, seeing lots of birds already, so it should be fast shooting. The fishing in November is about as good as it gets too. The shoreline wading should pick up as the water temperatures and tide levels drop. We normally see a good run on bigger trout in the back of East Bay this time of year. I like to throw Corkies and Catch 2000s this time of year, and topwaters too, but mostly it’s about locating the fish. As always, the weather is a big key to catching in Galveston in the fall. The fronts help the fishing, but it’s not usually good when it’s actually blowing. The calmer lulls between fronts allow the water to clear and as long as there’s good tide movement, it can be a real bonanza. Later this month, I tend to switch over and run my fishing trips later in the day. When it starts to cool down, the fishing right around dusk is often the best of the day, especially if a good tide movement occurs at the same time.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall was quick to mention the redfish action when we spoke. “The redfishing has been great,” he says. “We’re catching them real shallow, keying on snowy egrets. They stand on the bank or close to it, waiting. When they see a shrimp jumping, they try to get there fast and steal it from the reds. It’s more like hunting, really. You’ve got to maintain a vigil and be ready. Then you’ve got to make a precise cast. It’s really fun and productive. The trout fishing has been good too, getting better every day. We’re boxing close to 20 on average lately, catching best on glowsickle and glow/silver glitter Sand Eel Juniors. I expect the fishing to take a good upturn in November; it usually does. Birds will probably be working, but I ignore them mostly, because the bigger trout will become easier to pattern too. We’ll be targeting the mud more, especially areas where there is a mix of mud and shell on the bottom. The reds should still be biting too. Autumn is a great season to be on the water around here, that‘s for sure.”

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401
Weather patterns are a little behind the normal schedule, and the fishing is different than it would be in most years in the Matagorda area as a result. “We’re seeing lots of fish coming out of the Colorado River,” Charlie says. “That’s where the shrimp are, so that’s where many of the fish are. If it stays this dry, the river might produce some great catches this winter. The north shorelines of both bays are covered up with redfish right now. The wading on the south shoreline of East Bay is slow, for the most part. We are still catching pretty good numbers of trout in the middle of East Bay when winds are light, targeting the dirty water. Wadefishing right now is better in West Bay. We’re finding a good mix of trout and reds over there, with most of the trout running between a pound and a half and three pounds. When we get some more cold fronts, the fishing will improve for the bigger trout. Normally, November is a great month to wade in East Bay. I think we have plenty of good trout over there, we just need the
weather to change to catch ’em.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Fishing still remains hot in our area and we are getting on a pretty good pattern for finding fish. Redfish are still schooling up on shorelines, chasing shrimp. Paddletails with any kind of white and chartreuse in them seem to be the best lures right now. Small topwaters such as bone Super Spook Juniors and small Skitterwalks are still producing while drifting across area flats for singles. Trout have moved from the wells back to area shorelines and have been found over shell and grass. Popping corks rigged with Gulp! shrimp and regular sized Skitterwalks in bone and blue baby trout have worked best. Flounder have made a remarkable comeback, and we are catching more in our area than we have in many years. Slow-rolling Gulp! and paddletails while trying to catch reds, we have come across quite a few keepers. We are still waiting on the bird activity to take off, and maybe after we get some more cool fronts, we’ll start seeing more flocks, and South and East Bay will take off.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn expects to keep catching the reds good throughout November, and hopes the trout fishing will pick up with the cooler weather. “We’re catching mostly reds lately, fishing sandy, grassy shorelines. The trout have been kind of tough. November is normally a great month to target the schooling reds. They can often be seen cruising in large pods along area shorelines pushing large wakes as they head for the Gulf. We’ll definitely keep our eyes open for that possibility at all times. We’ll try a variety of things for the trout. There have been some fish hanging around the reefs in San Antonio Bay lately, so we’ll keep hitting those when winds allow the water to stay relatively clear. We’ll also venture into the southern reaches of our area if tides are high. When we get conditions like that, the fish will often pull onto the shallow grass beds on the shorelines. I’ll be throwing topwaters much of the time. This time of year is one of the most consistent for action on the floating plugs.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
November is time for the dual-purpose Cast and Blast trips for Blake. “We’ll be setting up in the blinds early and trying to shoot our limits of ducks by mid-morning. We already have lots of ducks in the area, and it sets up to be a great season. Generally, drought conditions are good for hunting ducks on the coast. The prairies are definitely dry right now, so we seem to get some extra birds in the coastal marshes. Of course, when we’re done shooting, we’ll start fishing our way out of the back lakes. Sightcasting for reds in the lakes has been good lately, and should stay steady throughout the duck season. We’ve been catching plenty of trout too, on topwaters, Sand Eels and gold spoons too. Those lures should continue to work well. When after the trout, I tend to target grassy shorelines in Aransas, Mesquite and Corpus Christi Bays this time of year. It’s a great time to be on the water, with numerous productive and fun options. I expect a banner season all the way around.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
It’s time to bring out the breathable waders as the water temperatures are dropping, making it a bit uncomfortable to wade wet. The boat traffic should be on the decrease, which could translate into the fish catching being on the increase. I will be looking for trout in water depths of three feet or less along grass lines and potholes. The trout are feeding on perch, finger mullet and shrimp, so I’ll be fishing with MirrOlure Catch 5. My favorite color is CHBL. Natural colored Bass Assassins like  pumpkinseed/chartreuse and bone diamond rigged on eighth ounce screw lock jigheads should be good producers. The redfish population is in great shape, and they are cruising in groups of two to four in water depths of 20 inches or less, and along the edges of the bigger channels, including the ICW. The reds will go after the same Bass Assassins and the Berkley Ripple Mullet in colors like new penny and black/chartreuse. The water clarity is great, but all who are wading should still wear ForEverLast Ray Guards.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
November’s cooler weather usually brings some things to an end in the Upper Laguna Madre, while others are just starting. “The redfish are starting to become harder and harder to find in big schools already. Many of them will have moved out by the middle of November. It’s not there aren’t any around, but locating the big schools and catching them by the dozens becomes far less common. A better bet is to target the edges of channels and other drop offs, fishing for singles and small pods. Trout fishing can and often does take a turn for the better, though. If the fronts this month are strong enough to send the water temperatures down into the fifties, the fishing in the ICW and channels intersecting it will become steady for trout. The last couple of years, birds were working in huge numbers for several miles south of the JFK over the ICW, and there were plenty of trout under them. If the trout don’t pile up in the ditch, they should be thick in Emmords and Beacroft’s Holes, as well as along grass  edges in the Boat Hole.”

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
November is beautiful on PINS and the crowds have left for the winter. As cold fronts will be coming through the wise angler must plan his trips to fall during the calm period between fronts. Usually the second day behind a frontal passage is most user friendly. Pompano fishing will begin in earnest in November and continue through December. Choose cuts through the sand bars and deep, wide guts for the pompano using “Fishbites” and fresh peeled, dead shrimp. Whiting, black drum and slot and oversized redfish will be available with the possibility of Spanish mackerel and Atlantic bluefish in good numbers. Mako, sandbar, black-tipped, bull, tiger and dusky sharks are possible. Searching the beachfront for and then sightcasting to large jack crevalle on lures or flies is a November favorite. Piano wire leaders are necessary on the bluefish and mackerel and if they won’t hit wire go to Hard Mason mono leader material. Probably the all around best artificial to cover all the bases at once would be a two ounce silver Gator spoon in November.

Port Mansfield | Terry Neal | 956.944.2559
Anybody who regularly fishes the Lower Laguna Madre during the fall season knows that some of the best fishing of the year is just ahead of us. Early northers have a tendency to give us a brand new and rejuvenated attitude towards fishing. Calm, crisp mornings are the norm; fish are up on the flats at night where the water cools off faster, and as the sun comes up the fish start moving for deeper water. One of fall’s highlights will be the flounder moving to the channels and migrating on the currents out to the Gulf to spawn. Look for the spoils along the ICW and East Cut to really turn on! Schools of redfish can be found cruising shorelines terrorizing bait as the larger, mature specimens push through the jetties to do their own seasonal spawning. Apart from occasional northers November gives us many great days on the water – good weather and great catching! Take what you can eat fresh and release the rest; we have a future to take care of.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
Fishing has been up and down…when we have a breeze, we’re able to limit on trout and reds, most trips. But when the wind is getting ready to change directions, and the surface of the water looks like a mirror, it can be difficult to get close enough to tempt a bite. Reds tend to school up during the day when it’s super calm and trout will head to deeper holes as the sun rises. We’re throwing Cajun Thunder round corks with Berkley Gulp three inch shrimp rigged on a quarter ounce jighead and having good success with reds, trout, flounder and black drum. Freddy says, “When a front comes through, the fish feed like crazy, then you’re going to see a couple of slow days. The reds gobble up as much as they can hold and then lay off for a little while.” Fall is always a great time to hunt the predators that frequent our shallows when the waters are beginning to cool down and boat traffic is a little less hectic than it is in the summer. Wary anglers stay aware of the changing weather, and keep a slicker suit handy for squalls that sweep across the bay during a norther or when the Gulf moisture collides with the warm air off the coastline.