Reports & Forecasts: November 2016

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268
November is an excellent month to fish Calcasieu Lake for trout, redfish, and flounder. School trout up to two pounds and redfish will dominate the catch on the northern end of Calcasieu Lake. These fish will readily take a MirrOlure Lil' John rigged on sixteenth or eighth-ounce jighead. Oyster reefs adjacent to bayous or the ship channel on the northern end of the lake will hold lots of trout, some big ones. Most of the trout will have vacated their deep summer homes so shallow reefs are a good place to search for them. MirrOdines, SoftDines, FatBoys, Devils, and Storm ThunderSticks are great lures to fish over reefs. Redfish will be a nuisance in November. They'll ruin the dreams of many waders looking for giant trout. Slowly drifting banks adjacent to bayous will more than likely produce lots of reds. The weirs are also an excellent place to catch them on falling tides, using soft plastics on three-eighths ounce heads. For that drill, our mainstay is chartreuse three-inch Gulp! Swimming Mullet on a quarter-ounce head.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242
James was washing the boat on a hot afternoon after fishing when we talked. "I caught 'em pretty good today. I think we had twenty two trout and a few reds. We've had a decent topwater bite at times lately, mostly on small ones like the ShePup in pink/silver. Of course, we are also catching some fish on soft plastics like Bass Assassin Sea Shads in colors like slammin' chicken. Seems pink has been a really good color on all our lures lately. Fishing has been slower than it was back in the middle of the summer, now that the bays are all salty and the fish have scattered out again. I know what will happen, though. We will get some harder cold fronts in the end of October and into the first of November and the marshes will drain. We've got a great shrimp crop this year, after all the rain. So, when the marshes dump out, the trout and reds will be much easier to find under the working birds. I expect the fishing to return to the normal easy limits once the weather cools down and the tides and temperatures go down."

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
November is Jim's favorite of the year to be in the outdoors, he says. "We have so many productive opportunities for outdoor activities this month. I generally fish during the week and on the days when the weather is nicer, and hunt when the weather isn't so good and on most Saturdays. Duck season will be here in November, and that's always something I look forward to. Cooler temperatures should perk up the fishing somewhat. We'll see more of the fish move into the shallows, where we will have better luck wading for them than what we've had in this hot weather early in the fall. Normally, when the tide drops out and the weather cools off, we experience a good run of fishing in the shallows around drains and in other places in East Bay. We'll catch some of the best trout of the year, most likely, throwing topwaters and slow-sinking twitch baits quite a bit. Soft plastics work well on the days when the barometer is high and skies are clear. Overall, I expect to see good times ahead in November."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323
Randall's enthusiasm for fishing in November runs high. "We have lots of fun fishing in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Normally, this is a great time of year to target fish under birds hovering over the shrimp migrating from the back bays into the Gulf. On most days, we have plenty of flocks to lead us to the feeding fish. When working the birds, we like to throw Norton Sand Shads and Bull Minnows rigged on three-eighths ounce Norton Screw Lock jigheads. At times, we also use topwaters to cull out the smaller fish and catch some of the bigger ones. Slot reds and trout in the 20-something inch class seem to prefer floating plugs to the smaller soft plastics at times. When throwing topwaters at schools of fish feeding under the gulls and terns, I prefer a full-sized Skitterwalk. The woodpecker color pattern, the white one with the red head, and the chrome/blue/orange ones seems to work well for me this month. We should also be able to target and catch plenty of flounder along the guts in the sand bars behind the pass."

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service - 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
"Looks like we have a lot of shrimp in the bay and marshes, so once we get some stronger fronts, we should have birds working all over the place in November. When they aren't working, we normally drift around reefs in East Bay. I like to use a slightly heavier jighead when drifting in November at times. It's important to keep the lure close to the bottom, bouncing in the mud. We have really good luck early in the mornings fishing topwaters close to the shorelines near drains leading into the marshes in West Bay. When the tide is falling out, this is a really productive pattern. Normally, we'll move out toward the outer grass beds and sand bars as the day wears on and switch over to soft plastics to keep catching. Of course, the river can produce excellent catches of both trout and reds this month too. As long as we don't get a bunch of rain to freshen it up too much, it should be good. We've been catching reds on topwaters up there already, and the trout fishing should improve once cooler weather settles in and stays for a while."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204
Redfish, redfish, and more redfish! We are having some crazy days, with incredible numbers of slot reds being caught. We have been catching them on live shrimp, VuDu shrimp, gold spoons, and small topwaters. Shorelines close to local rivers have held good numbers, back lakes and creeks off major bays are also holding lots of fish. The best trout bite has been in the surf lately and the mid-bay reef bite has shut down almost entirely. The early fronts blowing through have flattened the surf, and we have been catching easy limits of trout on the beach on topwaters and Paul Brown Lures. Flounder fishing and gigging has also been good, with lots of fish between sixteen and eighteen inches showing up. North winds have cleaned the water and put the fish on the move. November should continue to hold good fishing action as the bays are full of bait from one of the wettest years on record for Palacios. As temperatures drop, be on the lookout for bait on mudflats close to our local rivers, and also in the deep holes in the Palacios Harbor.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service - 361.983.4434
Lynn says he expects to be targeting bigger trout in southern parts of his area in November. "We will probably be wading the flats in warm periods between the cold fronts. I like to stay in shallow areas which are close to deep water. On a normal day, we like to wait until mid-morning to leave the dock. This time of year, the trout tend to stay deeper overnight and come out onto the shallow flats as the sun warms up the water. We like to work areas with a soft muddy bottom and dark grass beds when fishing this way. Once the water cools down a bit more, we should see an improvement in the bite on slow-sinking lures like Paul Brown FatBoys, MirrOlure Catch 5s and Catch 2000s. These plugs look like small fish and are effective for catching larger than average trout, because the big trout like to eat more fish than crustaceans. So, another thing that's important to keep in mind this time of year is the location of bait, or the food the trout like to eat. It's not necessary to have rafts of mullet, but the presence of mullet or other fish is a key."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake will be smack dab in the middle of cast and blast season come November. "I spend a lot of time in the air boat, running in the back lakes where we do our duck hunting. Lately, I've been seeing a lot of trout in the shallow backwater areas, in knee-deep water. If it stays warm heading into Thanksgiving, they will probably stay shallow like that. What's weird is the redfish thing, lately. I've been catching reds out in the surf near Cedar Bayou all summer. They are still out there right now. A few trout too, but the reds have been more consistent. I'm actually catching more out there than in the bays lately. Of course, in the cooler weather next month, I also like to focus on shorelines where the back lakes dump out into the main bays. In the afternoons, with the tide moving out, areas like that produce some hot action at times. I like to throw topwaters quite a bit this time of year, and of course my soft plastics come into play regularly as a backup. I've been throwing Norton Sand Shads quite a bit on recent trips, in the strawberry/white color."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata [email protected] - 361.563.1160
It's time to pull out the breathable waders and check them for leaks, because the water temperatures are on the way down, making it a little uncomfortable to wade wet. And don't forget your ForEverLast Ray Guards. With deer hunting season about to start, the boat traffic should be on the decrease, and this will translate into the fish catching being on the increase. The trout will be feeding on perch, shrimp and finger mullet in three to four feet of water. I'll be fishing with suspending lures like the MirrOlure Catch 5 in natural colors, but I will keep my Bass Assassin Die Dappers rigged on eighth-ounce Spring Lock jigheads close by. The redfish population is in great shape, and they will be traveling in groups of two to four in water depths of twenty four inches or less, along the edges of grass lines, drop offs and channels. Live shrimp under a popping cork will work very well for trout and redfish. Sight-casting in less than twelve inches of water with green, shrimp-flavored Fish Bites continues to catch reds and drum.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez - 361.937.5961
Tide levels continue to be extremely high in the Upper Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay at the time of this report. This tends to scatter fish into extreme corners of the hypersaline estuary, according to Joe. "I have been seeing redfish with their backs out of the water in places which have been bare sand for years. This tide has been high a lot for the last couple years, and we now have grass growing in places on the bottom where we rarely saw water in the past. This puts a premium on boats which will run shallow. We are finding schools of redfish in the shallows in places like NightHawk Bay, the Meadows, Yarbrough and the Middle Grounds. Again, I stress, these fish are not in areas close to the deeper water in most cases; they are far up into areas which we have not been accustomed to searching for them previously. We are also seeing a few big trout mixed in with the reds. Of course, catching the fish is pretty easy at times. Best bet is to throw a paddletail well out in front of the fish and reel it close in front of its nose; it's possible."

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
Red tide two years in a row! Another fish kill along parts of PINS and South Padre Island. All things considered, this episode was light compared to last year. Hopefully the next norther will put the kibosh on this nuisance. Meanwhile, the mullet migration is in full swing and the jack crevalle and red drum are right there with them. Jacks and reds should be available all along PINS with good clarity on cut mullet and lures. Remember that any red longer than 28 inches has to be tagged. Expect lots of Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Bull sharks should be abundant along with large blacktips. November is one of the prime months for big tigers. Shark fishermen take note: the largest mullet you can legally take and use for bait during October through January is 12 inches! Later in the month, we should see lots of pompano and whiting in the surf. Fishbites and peeled shrimp get them every time. Two to three days after a norther are always best. Flat tire alert: PINS beach drivers are advised to avoid running over fish skeletons!

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge 956.944.4000
Fishing has been really good around Port Mansfield lately. Redfish have been holding north and south of the East Cut and this should continue through November, at least. The larger ones will be making their way to the Gulf to spawn; that is the reason for the schools collecting there. Best depth for reds has generally been knee-deep to mid-thigh. We have been hitting them at first light with topwaters and switching to weedless spoons as that program begins to wind down. Mid-day finds us waist-deep for trout. We are working over grass with potholes, throwing plastics mostly, on eighth-ounce heads. K-Wiggler Ball Tail Shad in Mansfield margarita, red/white tail, and pumpkinseed/chartreuse tail have been our best producers lately. If you have no luck in that depth of water, try drifting the deeper grass beds. At times, a Gulp! under a popping cork will produce trout in this deeper water when a plain jig will not. It's also good to try the spoil dumps located along the ICW. This time of year, they produce nice trout and the occasional flounder.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty 956.943.2747
Signs point to fall/winter fishing possibly being the best of the year, as evidenced by the recent netting of a nice twenty seven inch snook coming on a Berkley Gulp! under the FP3 cork. We used to catch west side snook regularly; in Airport Cove, on the first bank north of Cullen's, and around the first point across from the marina in Laguna Vista, back in the days before the freeze in '83 wiped out the mangroves. Now, South Bay, the Arroyo or the Ditch produce more snook. We've been adding flounder and limiting on reds more often than not, but the numbers of trout have not bounced back like we would have hoped with all the high water this past month. We're still catching some long, mostly skinny specks, but size should improve throughout the rest of the year. Freddy says, "Fall fishing is exciting in the Lower Laguna Madre. We're going after the fish with FP3 corks and three-inch Berkley Gulp! shrimp in new penny and pearl; if it ain't broke don't fix it!" Please hep us push for no more open bay dredge disposal.