Reports & Forecasts: November 2007

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
November is a great month to fish Big Lake. Speckled trout will be plentiful from the south end all the way to the saltwater barrier north of I-10. Keying on birds will still be the easiest way to locate schooling fish. When fishing a group of birds, make sure to cut your engine at least 200 yards from the school. Then use the wind, tide and trolling motor to close the remaining distance. Try to stay with the fish after the birds break up by paying close attention to the fish at all times. Keep eyes trained on the water, looking for surfacing fish and shrimp skittering across the top. The best lures to use under birds are glow, chartreuse, smoke and avocado beetles and stingray grubs on 1/4 ounce heads. The larger trout will be showing up by late month, mostly over oyster reefs in two to six feet of water. The north end of the lake (Turners Bay) to West Cove will all be holding big fish. Be on the lookout for slicks and high concentrations of mullet. Jointed Thundersticks, Catch 2000's, Corkies and Corky Devils are all good choices for the larger trout.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
"It's lock and load over here right now," James said recently. "We are catching limits of trout almost every trip, and we're not going back to the same places to get 'em either. Fishing is good in Trinity and East Bays right now, and I've also had some action in the far end of West Bay and on Sabine too. Of course, there are some birds working, and the crowds seem focused on that, but we are catching as many fish and a better average size by keying on slicks, reefs and small towheads in open water. It's not like the heat of summer. When we find slicks lately, we often catch fish for two or three hundred yards. There are still some gafftops mixed in with the trout and of course sometimes nice reds too. Best lures lately are the Bass Assassins, but Top Dogs and the old standby 51M Mirrolures are working better to cull some of the bigger trout out of the schools. Wading and drifting have both been productive, but mostly I've been staying in the boat because it helps me avoid the crowd and remain mobile. It's more of a signs than a spots thing."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Jimmy is in the midst of one of his favorites times of year. "We've got excellent dove hunting and fishing right now, and duck season is right around the corner. Duck hunting should be good in a variety of areas this year with all the water from the heavy rains." As for the fishing, it's been hot in East and Trinity Bays. "People are catching them all over East Bay and on the east shore of Trinity. Most of the trout are still hanging out on the reefs in water too deep for wading, though we are starting to see a short-lived early bite on some stretches of the shoreline. By November, we should be able to catch all we want, and some big trout too, wading most or all day. As for now, we are still throwing the topwaters and the worms from the boat, doesn't seem to matter which ones or what colors. Finding the fish is key. With all the working birds and slicks popping on the reefs, it's pretty easy to do. And I will say this, the marsh is full of redfish, not too many trout yet, but they should show up with the cooler water temperatures as we get closer to Thanksgiving."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Though the tide has been high in the San Luis Pass area as in much of the rest of the state lately, fishing is productive, especially for redfish, Randall reports. "Redfish have been saving the day for us a lot. They are easier to locate and catch since they are bunched up in shallow marshy areas with all this high tide. The trout have been a little more scarce, or at least harder to catch, probably due to the high water temperatures." But at the Bayou Landing Lodge on Bastrop Bayou, they look forward to the cooler temperatures of fall with high expectations. "Once the fronts start the tide dropping and the bait moving toward the pass, we will have some outstanding action under the birds for our trout. We'll be using topwaters mostly by then, hoping to cull the bigger fish out of the schools with the bulkier plugs. Lately, though, the red magic Sand Eel has been the lure of choice. It will, of course, work under the birds too." Flounder, redfish and trout are all known to crowd the area around San Luis Pass in November while the bait migrates through.

Matagorda | Don Wood
Bay Guide Service | 979.240.4137
Don says the trout fishing has been steady if not spectacular in East Bay lately. "I've had trout up to 27 1/2 inches recently, mostly on live shrimp, but we've had some decent days on lures too. Limits have been hard to come by, but the average size is good. Fishing grass beds has been the most consistent way to find the trout, though the reefs are holding fish too. Topwaters have tricked a few fish, but the worm has been better. When the piggy perch and needlefish get bad about biting tails off, I've been switching to Power Baits in strawberry and white. Had one day on which I caught some nice trout on those after the trash fish had bitten the tails off my regular Bass Assassins one time too many." Redfish action is hot in backwater areas with the high tides. "All of the back lakes in West Bay have hordes of reds. They are a little easier to catch than the trout. November should be better. When the tide finally drops behind some of the fronts, the bird action will pick up. The action isn't too good under the gulls lately, but cooler weather will help."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Fall has arrived and so has the hot redfish action. We have been on huge schools in area bays and back lakes and most of the bronze beauties have been in the upper end of the slot. The best bait by far for these reds has been the Berkley Gulp Shrimp in pearl white, rigged on 1/16 ounce heads. We have been matching what the fish are feeding on; there is a ton of shrimp in the bays right now. The trout bite has been slower in the transition from summer to fall. We have been finding a few under the birds in East Bay and along the Tres Palacios River, but many of the flocks are indicating undersized, not keeper fish. Floundering continues to be pretty consistent with the high tides; on most nights we average about six per person. The big trout should start showing up this month with the cooler weather. The Oliver Point and Palacios Point shorelines should produce some quality fish. Corky Fatboys in pearl/black and dayglow will work to get these fish to eat. Redfish will continue to roam area shorelines as long as the shrimp stay in the bay.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Fishing has been steadier for redfish than trout lately in Port O'Connor. "We are dealing with some persistent very high tides, and it seems to have the trout scattered out some. Those fishing deeper waters with live bait are faring better, but the lure fishing is a bit slower. All that should change in November, with cooler water temperatures and lower tides. We'll still be fishing grass flats with sandy potholes, and focusing a bit more on the shell reefs too. As it gets colder, shell and mud will eventually replace sand and grass as the favored environment for the fish. I've been having the best luck lately on Gulp shrimp in pearl white. Next month, the topwaters and Corkies should become more consistent." One thing the high tide has done, Lynn says, is to allow the big schools of redfish plenty of room to roam on the flats. "The schools of reds are ganged up close to the passes. It's not hard to catch a bunch if you look for them shallow enough. Some herds are mostly undersized fish, but it's possible to work through them for limits on most days."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
November is one of Blake's favorite months, since it brings the start of duck season, and the cooler weather perks up the fishing, creating potential for more regular catches of trophy trout. "This has been a wet year, so there is a lot of water on inland prairies, but we should still see excellent duck hunting in our marshes. All the freshwater is good for the growth of grass in the marsh lakes, so the ducks will have plenty to dabble for." He plans to run as many cast and blast outings as he can, shooting first, then working the marsh for reds before coming out to grassy shorelines in search of large speckled trout while wadefishing. "We catch some of our biggest trout of the year in November, my fishing logs tell me. I like shorelines with a mix of sand, mud and grass. Topwaters are, of course, my favorite thing to throw at them, but I'll always have a pocket full of Sand Eels at the ready in case their biting mood is not as good. We'll still have some trout and redfish on mid-bay reefs too, but with all the other options, I might not get to those fish!"

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
This November on PINS will likely be productive for those who time their excursions to occur between passing fronts. Watch out for the persistent high tides, as they can make driving treacherous on the soft sand close to the dunes. A wide variety of species should be available for anglers able to make it down the beach at the right time. Pompano and whiting are plentiful in the cooling waters and will bite Fishbites and peeled dead shrimp. Best bet is to rig those on small hooks. Both slot and bull redfish will probably be around in good numbers, especially if the warm weather pattern holds. Some large Spanish mackerel prowl the surf this month, as do scattered schools of Atlantic bluefish. Jack Crevalle should still be running, as the hot weather of late has their run temporarily delayed. For action on those brutes, cruise down the beach until surface action and diving birds are spotted, then throw topwaters and large spoons into the melee and be ready for a real fight. Large sharks can be spotted cruising and caught by sight casting at times.

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The fishing has progressively improved in the Laguna Madre during the past few weeks. The water clarity has improved, particularly in the northern end, while in the southern end around Baffin Bay the water continues to be more murky. Frequent light winds have made it easier to locate the schools of redfish making their way north toward outlets to the Gulf of Mexico. I have been finding mixed schools of redfish and black drum with speckled trout hanging around the perimeters of the schools. My trolling motor has been getting some good work outs while fishing these schools. I find that I can catch more fish by approaching the schools quietly from at least eighty yards away with my trolling motor, and not drifting through the schools at all. These fish have been in three to five feet of water and I've been rigging good penny and pearl five inch Saltwater Shad Bass Assassin Blurps and three inch new penny and natural colored Berkley Gulp Shrimp on sixteenth ounce heads. Half ounce gold weedless spoons have also been working.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
Joe predicts that November's fishing will depend on how much effect the weather has on the monster tide now standing in the Laguna Madre. "We really won't be able to accurately predict the how, when and where for November until we see what happens with this tide and the water clarity. Right now, the water in the upper stretches of the lagoon are pretty much clear. If it stays that way after the tide drops to a normal level, we will be able to catch fish on the King Ranch Shoreline, the spoils and in Emmord's and Beacroft's. If the brown tide moves north with the falling tide, it will force us to change tactics. Usually, in November, I like to stay in the northern end of the system. I spend a lot of time on the flats north of the JFK Causeway and even run up to Shamrock and East Flats. The redfish will still be around and more of the quality trout will be shallow too. I'll be throwing some weedless half ounce Johnson spoons and of course my Bass Assassins. Basically, my plan is to stay in the clearest and shallowest water I can find."

Port Mansfield | Bruce & Brandon Shuler
GetAway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000
The monster tides have invaded the Lower Laguna at the time of this report. "If it gets much higher, I won't be able to get my boat back on the sling!" Bruce says. He reports that some areas around Port Mansfield have been affected by brown tide, but that all the rain has helped improve the overall water quality in the region. "I'm seeing more blue crabs than I have in years, and the backwater areas are holding tons of shrimp and other bait fish. Fishing has been consistent for redfish, with a noticeable abundance of fish in the mid thirty inch class. They are blasting off on our topwaters while we are trying to catch trout at times. We are averaging one or two big trout a week, but they are hard to pattern. November should be much better. The trout should begin to move off the deep grass edges and onto the shallower shelves, and locating them in the potholes will be easier. The redfish will be hanging on the sugar sand next to shore early, then moving deeper as the morning warms. We'll put the Corkies back into play more and more of the time."

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
We've been hitting the Long Bar at first light, taking advantage of a steady supply of trout and the occasional tournament winning redfish (9.2 pounds), like the one weighed in by Laura Dye in the ladies Redfish Rodeo held recently on South Padre Island. Working the series of bars along the intracoastal that were once exposed spoil banks but have now been drowned and covered over with grass pays off, especially when tides aren't moving as much as we'd like in the back reaches of the bay system. The Mansfield Mauler trailing a Gulp shrimp has proven the most successful on both of our target species. The close proximity to the intracoastal creates a habitat perfect for trout with deep water close to the shallow banks. They can be drifted over on high tide or waded when the boat won't quite make it across. Freddy says, "The extra high tides are allowing us to limit on trout and reds, making for happy customers and captains." We're always excited this time of the year...fewer boats should make the upcoming winter fishing fantastic!