Reports & Forecasts: November 2015

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268
November is like Poppa Bear's porridge--not too hot, not too cold, just right. The fish think the same thing. They'll still eat a topwater, they're still schooling under birds, redfish are still in ponds, and they're all still eating ferociously. They will slow down on cold days or the day after a front, but for the most part they are very active. We consider November a highly underrated and under-pressured month, due to everyone chasing ducks and deer. Bird fishing will be the norm for most of our customers, but catching big trout is something that November is known for in some circles. It can be done very effectively at this time. I would venture to say even more effectively than March and April. Topwaters, Corky floaters/sinkers, MirrOdines, and the new Soft Dines are excellent choices for lures. As far as where to fish, Turners Bay, West Cove, and Joe's Cove are excellent areas to start. These areas are known for big fish year round, and November is no different. Remember, big trout are easily spooked, so it pays to be as stealthy as possible.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242
James reports the fishing had been in a transitional period at the time he gave this report. "We caught a couple hundred trout today, but we only had about twenty five keepers. It's been like that everywhere I go for a couple weeks now. With cooler temperatures, we have some fish transitioning over to more of a fall pattern, but some are still holding in the same areas they have been in all summer. The bays are full of shrimp and small trout, so the future looks good. By November, we normally see more consistency in the fishing on the shorelines. I'll be doing as much wading as possible once that happens. We'll take out the MirrOlures more often when we get to that point. Once the waters cool down into the sixties and the clarity improves somewhat, we'll start catching a better average size on our trout. Best lure lately has been a pink and silver Bass Assassin Sea Shad. The fish are really loving them. Topwater bite has been a bit slow lately, but it should pick up considerably on those lures."

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
Jim reports good teal hunting and a fair dove season winding down when he gave this report. "I'm about to start fishing a lot more in the near future. My favorite fishing of the whole year occurs from about mid-October to mid-December. We catch our fish a wide variety of ways this time of year. Some of the fish stack up on area shorelines, and we also catch a bunch in the bayous and out in the middle too. Birds are working a lot of days, but it isn't necessary to work them in order to catch plenty of fish. We are going to have a good topwater bite in November, I feel quite certain. The fish will be rolling onto the shorelines in the upper ends of the bays once the water starts cooling off, and lots of limits and some bigger trout will be included. The fishing in the marsh will be best for the reds, and the drains and areas adjacent to the drains will hold more trout. At the end of the period, when water temperatures start dipping down into the fifties, the bite is usually better on days when we have more windy conditions."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323
Randall expects the fishing to pick up in November when the shrimp migration cranks up and all the bait comes out of the marshes. "When the migration gets going good, we'll be able to catch 'em on a pickle if we want to, that's how easy it gets. Right now, it has not been easy on most days. We've got high pressure hanging over us, with clear skies after these fronts. We need colder water temperatures to kick things off better. Lately, the best lures have been a full-sized Sand Eel in black and orange and a couple different topwaters. We've been catching on SkitterWalks in black with green head and the blue/chrome one with a bright orange belly. Orange is a color which works well in brackish, stained water. It shows up really good and the fish can find it. Our water is muddy and off-colored, kinda looks like tea, and in those conditions, orange is a key color. November is a good transitional month. We normally catch plenty of reds and some big trout once the cool-weather patterns settle in and the shrimp make their move."

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service - 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
Tommy says the fishing in the Matagorda area can be spectacular during the Thanksgiving month. The beauty of it, as usual, resides in the variety of available productive options. "We will have plenty of fish in both bays, and birds working in both too. Of course, most people don't need help in figuring out how to catch fish under working seagulls, but plenty of other options will provide a good chance for success too. Wading in both bays can be good this time of year. Some of the bigger trout and schools of redfish will be found over grass beds close to the shorelines in coves. The fishing can be best in those areas while fresh north winds first start blowing after the passage of a front. When conditions are calmer, fishing the open areas of both bays, around exposed or submerged reefs is often better. We'll wade the ones which are shallow enough as long as the bite is good, then drift deeper areas close by once the bite slows. All kinds of lures have potential this time of year. It's great for topwaters and twitch baits in particular."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204
This fall has been hands down one of the best that I can remember. We are chasing schooling redfish on shorelines and catching some slot fish and some monsters up to thirty four inches. Natural-colored Vudu shrimp and Cajun pepper Bayou Chubs have been the best lures for them. Drifting deep shell and throwing live shrimp rigged about three feet under popping corks has accounted for tons of trout up to twenty six inches. Flounder gigging at night has been off the charts; we have been sticking limits in usually an hour with most fish ranging between sixteen and eighteen inches. Tripletail are still in the bays, and we are catching them on live shrimp under popping corks rigged four to six feet. I am not sure fishing can get any better. We have tons of shrimp, shad, mullet and crabs in the bays, and all our fish are full of bait when we are cleaning them. All the patterns above should continue until we start to get some major fronts blowing through, so enjoy this outstanding fishing while it lasts!

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service - 361.983.4434
Lynn will be found fishing areas in the back lakes in November. "Mainly, we'll be searching for some of the bigger trout in the back lakes. We usually start our search in remote areas in the muddy corners of some of the bigger lakes. We also fish quite a bit on shorelines which have a lot of grass and sandy bottom. Of course, as always, we'll be throwing both topwaters and soft plastics. In autumn, I generally stick with darker colors on the soft plastics. Topwater action has been a little slower than normal for me lately, but it should pick up as we get a little cooler water temperatures. We're catching tons of redfish on recent trips, and they will often be found in the same areas as the bigger trout come November. One thing I've noticed lately is the abundance of flounder we have in the bays. I'm catching some on just about every trip. The Down South lures have been working especially well to draw the attention of the flatfish. Overall, we are set up for a great November, I think. It can be one of our very best months."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake will still be involved in cast-n-blast season when November rolls around. He had been dove hunting the day of this report, and will be duck hunting some in November. "I will be casting and blasting throughout the fall and winter, hunting the marsh early, then working my way out while fishing after the shooting ends. I like to target reds in the back lakes if I can find them. Depending on the tide level and water temperatures, they can be spread out in the shallows, or in the deep holes in the bayous. The trout are easier to find and catch on shorelines adjacent to the drains leading into the backwater areas. When fishing for the trout, we'll wade around areas with mostly mud and grass, throwing topwaters like Super Spooks if the fish are willing to rise to the bait, and switching over to soft plastics like Norton Sand Eels in dark colors with chartreuse tails when the topwater bite dwindles. This is a great time to be in the outdoors in the Coastal Bend, with so many options for outstanding sporting activities."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata [email protected] - 361.563.1160
It's time to pull out your breathable waders and check them out for leaks. If the water temperature continues to fall, it might be a little uncomfortable wading wet. The positive side of this month is that boat traffic usually begins to diminish, making it quieter on the water, which should make it easier to stay on the fish once you find them. The water level has been very high lately, creating more areas for the fish to roam around in. I am still looking for two to three feet of water, where I can see definite grass lines and potholes with hard sandy bottoms. We've lost some of the water clarity in the southern part of our Laguna but the water clarity is fine in the upper end. With the water clarity down, the Bass Assassin Kwik Korks rigged with Assassin Blurps or Berkley Gulp!s on a twelve to fifteen-inch leader will work great for catching trout and redfish. The sight-casting will still be a good game to play with Bass Assassin Blurps or shrimp flavored Fish Bites rigged on sixteenth-ounce jigheads.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez - 361.937.5961
Joe is hoping the fast action catching he had been experiencing on days leading up to this report holds out through the fall. "We've got clear water in the northern parts of the Laguna Madre right now, which makes finding the schools of redfish easier. We are catching lots of oversized fish and a few upper slot fish on most every trip. Yesterday, we had a forty-inch specimen and a thirty-nine too. Best way to catch them after they are spotted is easing up to the school on the trolling motor and throwing K-Wigglers. They really like those soft plastics. In some years, the schooling activity slows somewhat in the colder water. If that happens, I'll go back to targeting trout and redfish along structural edges and on the flats themselves. We like to target areas with a good mix of sand and grass on the bottom and focus our casts around the edges of large pothole systems, or throw our lures onto the shallow edges of sand bars and hop them along the drop-offs into deeper water."

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
Following a severe red tide event, the surf seems to be recovering nicely with bait activity already on the increase. If the red tide had hit one month later, it would have been catastrophic as many game fish migrations would have been in progress. Water conditions should continue to clear and remain so as the water cools. Jackfish presence should peak around mid-November with chaotic feeding frenzies. If winds and surf allow, you should be able to pursue shallow water jacks on bait, lures and fly. Redfish action should be exceptional, especially for oversized one as the mullet migration peaks. Reds of all sizes will be possible when utilizing mullet cast beyond the first sandbar. Since the red tide outbreak, the trout action has been minimal, but look for rogues by throwing topwaters on and around structure. Sharks, Spanish mackerel and bluefish should also be available with live and fresh-dead bait. Later in the month, expect a phenomenal pompano season as the red tide wiped out a great number pesky, bait-stealing whiting and hardheads.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge 956.944.4000
We have had another great month of fishing. Despite the red tide along our outside beaches, the bite in the Laguna Madre has remained strong. There are dead fish in our bay system, but most of these came through the jetties. We are hoping it doesn't spread across the area and disappears soon. As of this writing, the Saucer area and West Bay are full of small trout. There are plenty of nice keepers too, so be patient. Schools of slot redfish have been holding both north and south of East Cut, and topwater action over grassy bottom with potholes has been steady. We are also finding some very solid reds in deeper water just off those flats. ICW spoil banks up north have good numbers of trout and the west shoreline has been good for trout and reds on light wind days; topwater action can last all day with the Super Spook Jr. in bone-silver and solid bone. If topwater action slows, we break out the old faithful K-Wiggler Ball Tail Shad in Mansfield Margarita on eighth-ounce jigheads. Until next, tight lines and calm seas!

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty 956.943.2747
At the time of this writing, red tide has been an issue for the last couple weeks. In the thirty five years we have been guiding on the LLM, we have seen it in the bay just once, in 2011, and that was confined to a small area. There are many dead fish stacked up in the marina, because the wind has stayed out of the north, but these fish died in the Gulf or around the jetties. Freddy says, "Red tide is always present out in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico and only affects the coastline when we get easterly winds in September and October." Our fall fishing has been excellent, due to high tides and cooler temperatures, combined with minimal boat traffic. We've been limiting on reds and close to limits of trout, although the specks are on the small side. We're seeing more mullet, and the perch population has boomed this year, giving predators more reason to hang around the flats. Cajun Thunder corks and Berkley Gulp! Live shrimp continue to produce in both shallow and deeper water. Please help stop open bay dredge disposal.