Reports & Forecasts: November 2008

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
HURRICANE UPDATE! We were affected by Hurricane Ike. However, we are back up and running and ready for your business! The fishing in November should be great. There are large schools of shrimp coming out of the marsh, which means birds will be working. Once the first good front hits, we will see the water level drop and the big trout arrive. Huge trout will start to appear over oyster reefs on the north end of the lake. Turner’s Bay and the surrounding banks and inlets are awesome big trout spots. The fishing lately has been outstanding, just as we expected, and we don't see it slowing down soon. Duck season is right around the corner, and we are looking forward to a great season. We are anxious for a little change in temperature and pace. Hopefully, there will be lots of ducks and plenty of shooting all year. Hope to see y’all hunting or fishing soon!

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
James predicts one of the best fall runs of fishing for trout and redfish in many years in the wake of the big blow. “Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of work restoring my house and trying to get back to normal, but when I have been fishing, the signs are there that we are set up for a really phenomenal run in the next couple of months. Both Trinity and East Bays are full of fish right now; locating them by keying on slicks and working birds is pretty much a no brainer. The problem in those bays is the debris from the storm making it dangerous to navigate safely. Cautious anglers in those bays in coming months will find easy limits most of the time. Fishing should be really good right here behind my house in West Bay too, and it’s not quite so full of junk from the storm. Look for the area between Confederate Reef and Green’s Cut to light up once we get a couple of good cold fronts later this month or in early November.”

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
After surviving Ike, Jim has been doing some dove hunting. “I’ve got some good fields over here, and the shooting is good. Of course, dove season winds down by the middle of November everywhere, so my next focus will be on the duck hunting. That’s starts at the beginning of the month and should be fine. There is some debris in our marshes, but we’ll be able to work around it. I will also run some deer and hog hunts. As for the fishing, it’s been good when I have been able to get out. Had easy limits of pound and a half to three pound trout in Trinity Bay the other day, focusing on bird activity. We are on the verge of some excellent wadefishing opportunities around here. Once the fronts drop the tide levels and temperatures, it will be easier to catch some bigger trout on area flats. People venturing out on their own should be cautious because of the debris. Avoid running in low light conditions and keep it slow overall.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall says the impact from Ike on his lodge and fishing operation was light compared with the damages further east. “The bay is also cleaning up nicely,” he adds. “Though more than a dozen bay houses were completely destroyed in the Pass area, there’s not too much junk in the water creating navigation hazards.” He says the fishing has been excellent lately. “Topwaters have been producing like they usually do this time of year. Pink Skitterwalks and chartreuse She Dogs are both clicking when winds are light. In windier conditions, we are still switching over the live bait to get our limits. Come November, things should get even better. The colder it gets, the easier it is to pattern the fish. They start staging consistently over and near reefs and muddy areas with scattered shell. We’ve got tremendous potential and plenty of openings in the coming weeks. All we need are some ready anglers.”

Matagorda | Don Wood
Bay Guide Service | 979.240.4137
“November is prime time for fishing in East Matagorda,” Don says. “The
fishing is already showing signs of a great fall run. There are fish over shell out in the middle. We’ve had trout up to twenty six inches fishing out of the boat lately, some on topwaters, but mostly on Exude RT Slugs. I’m finding that the fish really like the Slugs. And they aren’t quite as offensive smelling as the Gulp products. Our best fish have been coming along the shorelines in East Bay. There’s a good mix of trout and redfish in the shallows, and some of the trout are big. Small topwaters like Spook Jrs. are working well on the flats. As the weather gets colder next month, the shoreline fishing should only improve, though topwaters will often lose out to the soft plastics as the lures of choice. We’ll be drifting scattered shell on days when tides are low and we’ll also spend some time wading the mid-bay reefs when winds allow.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Fishing has been very good since the big storm surge of Hurricane Ike. We have a good influx of Gulf water in the bays and there are schools of bait everywhere. Redfish have been podded up along all the local shorelines chasing bait. Small topwaters with any chrome in them seem to work the best. Gulp shrimp in rootbeer and pearl have been good tails to the throw at the pods. The trout have been on the smaller side, with lots of undersize fish in the bay. Working birds have been the best indicator of trout, but it seems you have to cull five or six fish to find a keeper. Night fishing has finally taken off along the bayfront. Sand trout in the thirteen to fifteen inch range have been plentiful under the lights along 1st St pier and at the Pavilion. Glow and chartreuse spec rigs have been the colors so far this fall. November should have some good sized trout coming back into the bays over mud and shell.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
“In November, we see a transition in our fishing. Because the first few harsh fronts of the year usually arrive this month, things can change in a hurry. As long as the tides are high and it’s relatively warm, I like to focus on grassy shorelines with shallow water and sandy pockets. We’ll target those areas mostly with topwaters, especially small Super Spooks. Of course, we like soft plastics when the topwater bite fizzles. Lots of times in November, we’ll favor plum and chartreuse, although lately the old red flash has been the killer. But after fronts in November, if the water is chilled and the tides drop out, I’ll switch to reefs and scattered shell adjacent to mud flats. The fish will begin to prefer the softer bottoms in areas like San Antonio, Mesquite, Carlos and Ayers Bays. Topwaters will work then too, but it kind of switches from an early topwater bite to a later bite as the waters warm up in the afternoon sun.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Tides have been abnormally high and baitfish are abundant everywhere, creating a challenge for fishermen in the Rockport area lately, Blake reports. “Fishing is pretty good, but we’ve been forced to wander a lot and cover plenty of water to get our fish. The topwater bite has been good on some outings, and of course the Sand Eels are producing too. We did have a good concentration of both trout and reds on reefs for the last couple of days.” In November, cooler temperatures and dropping tides should make the fishing easier and more productive. “I’ll be in the middle of my cast and blast season by then. Using my airboat, I’ll start off hunting the ducks in the back lakes, then fish my way out. For the fishing, I’ll prefer the grassy shorelines, and still hit some reefs too. Topwaters are usually on that time of year.” When asked about the duck hunting prospects, he says, “It will be either very good or incredible!”

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
Quality fishing during November requires timing trips to be as near the second day behind the passage of a cold front as possible when conditions moderate before onshore winds increase before the next cold front. Slot and oversized reds are prime this month as are hordes of jack crevalle weighing12 to 35 pounds. Topwater lures and big spoons work well on the jacks. Watch the water's edge for jacks breaking the surface and groups of pelicans often let you know their location. Bull, blacktipped and sandbar sharks can be in very good numbers and are often close to the water's edge to present sightcasting opportunities. The two largest tiger sharks we ever caught were in early November. Spanish mackerel weighing up to 8 pounds are often in the surf feeding on finger mullet as are occasional Atlantic bluefish. Pompano fishing picks up with “Fishbites” and fresh shrimp working best. Big whiting are typically present.

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The fishing in the Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay has been good in recent weeks. The water level was very high for several weeks; north winds refused to quit and water clarity has been slow to clear up after Hurricane Ike in and around Baffin Bay. This has made the trout fishing fair, but the redfish catching has been great! The redfish in the southern end of the Laguna and Baffin have been in about two and a half feet of water, in and around sandy potholes along the south shore of Baffin and along the Kenedy Ranch. The north end of the Laguna Madre has clearer water and we’ve been catching good numbers of both trout and reds there, in about two feet of water, along the edges of spoil islands and along shorelines. The fish are really liking the new five inch Swim Bait by Bass Assassin in Gold Shiner. In coming weeks, I’ll be following the same pattern, but as water temps drop, I’ll bring out my breathable waders.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
Joe says he was relieved to see that Hurricane Ike didn’t come to Corpus as it was once predicted to, but he’s also feeling the pain for those that were hurt to the north and east of here. “Fishing remains good in the Laguna Madre and Corpus Christi Bay. I’ve been having good luck sightcasting with both flies and conventional tackle in areas like Shamrock Cove, East Flats and on both sides of the JFK Causeway.” He also likes the potential along the King Ranch Shoreline in November. “The water is high and clear right now. I think we are set up for a good fall run. There have been an unusually high number of flounder in area bays this summer, so we should have a good run on them. Cooler temperatures should also create a good bite in shallow water on redfish and some big trout. I’ll be staying in the north half of the area mostly, looking for schooling reds and keeping my eyes peeled for some trophy trout too.”

Port Mansfield | Bruce & Brandon Shuler
GetAway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000
Bruce says both the lowered trout limit and lighter boat traffic have helped the fishing in Port Mansfield, particularly on the catch rates for middle-sized keeper trout. “We’ve been having good luck lately on the trout, throwing topwaters about ninety per cent of the time, We like the junior versions on light wind days and full-sized models when it’s choppier. I’m sticking with the darker colors on cloudy days and brighter ones under full sun. The specks are still hanging near the outside edges of the grass beds, but the reds are ganged up shallow, no more than about knee deep. For them, the topwaters are working too, along with gold spoons. Some days, the small Bomber floater-divers are best.” He mentions that offshore fishing is still good on calm days, and might last into November. “Snapper fishing is steady when we can get outside the jetties, and there may be a straggler tarpon or two left next month if it stays warm.”

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
We’re still seeing areas of brackish-brown tinted water; however, the flats are slowly returning to normal and producing awesome action. Limiting on trout and reds is once again commonplace and tagging the occasional oversize out of the herds is bonus. We’re having luck with gold weedless spoons and topwaters, but most of the fish we’re netting are coming on the Cajun Thunder corks trailing Gulp shrimp in glow, new penny, or nuclear chicken on a quarter ounce head. Best action is in potholes at Gas Well Flats and in schools around the drum boats on the east side. Flounder are plentiful, hitting just about anything, including a bone Jr. Spook thrown by a fellow guide. Freddy says, “ Working as shallow as possible early and moving out to the potholes with the falling tide is the best plan; without wind, sneaking up on schooling fish can be difficult, but rewarding.” This month will bring cooler weather and more opportunities.