Reports & Forecasts: November 2017

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268

November is shaping up to be excellent. We are seeing a lot of shrimp entering the estuary with each passing north wind. This should make for excellent bird fishing throughout the estuary. Trout and redfish will be schooling, and this makes for excellent fast-paced action. Shrimp imitations will work well rigged on quarter and eighth-ounce jigheads. MirrOlure Lil' Johns, H&H Sparkle Beetles, and Salty Grubs will be our baits of choice. Water clarity shouldn't be an issue, enhancing the appeal of natural colors like watermelon red, opening night, golden bream, and gold/red glitter. In stained water, try margarita, chartreuse ice, black and chartreuse, and purple and chartreuse. If fish are finicky for whatever reason, sometimes switching to a lighter jighead will produce more bites. Most of our fishing will be done north of Commissary Point. Turners Bay will be a hot bed for bird action. This is where we will spend the vast majority of our time in November. Good luck and see you all out there.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242

James expects an upturn in the catching once the downturn in the temperatures occurs. “We've had an inconsistent year, but I think we are set up for an excellent fall run. All the freshwater has sent fish into some unusual places for this time of year. The closer you are to the Gulf and a deep channel with salty water, the better the fishing is right now. The longer we go without big rains, the more the fish will return to their usual places. Lately, the wading has been really productive. We've been catching pretty fast limits of trout on a regular basis throwing Sea Shads and a new lure called the Lil' Boss, which is a fat-bodied soft plastic with a thick, thumping paddletail. The action of it is wicked, and it works great when you just slow roll it close to the bottom. Of course, we're catching pretty good on MirrOlure ShePups too, especially the bone one. We've got tons of shrimp in the back bays right now, so I expect the action around flocks of working birds to kick off real good once we get some stronger fronts around Halloween.”

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054

“The bay is really, really fresh right now. We didn't lose our fish, though. East Bay has plenty of trout, and as usual, the fishing is feast or famine, depending mostly on the weather. Normally, when the cooler weather arrives, our fish will move towards the back of the bay. This will be true as long as we have relatively dry conditions. Too much rain will keep the back bays fresh, like they are right now. Wading tends to improve in November along muddy shorelines protected from strong north winds. The fish generally won't stay on the deep reefs when the water gets really cold. They tend to move shallower, toward the shorelines. Strong, dry fronts will blow the tide out and help flush the backwater areas. Salty water can then return on the incoming tides after that. I'll be doing lots of hunting too. We'll be hunting ducks several days a week, staying in the blinds when the weather's nasty. I like fishing on the days with better weather this time of year, when warmer, calmer conditions occur between the fronts.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323

Fishing continues to return to normal after the hurricane, according to Randall. “We'll be doing some typical drills in November, focusing efforts on areas where falling tides pull predators and prey together on cool days. We pay plenty of attention to the shrimp migration this month, as the crustaceans make their way from the back bays toward the Gulf. Chicken on a chain Norton Bull Minnows and trick or treat Sand Eel Juniors are two of my favorite soft plastics to throw among migrating herds of shrimp. I like to rig them on quarter or three-eighths ounce ScrewLock jigheads. When tides run high between frontal passages, we like to hunt for the fish along shorelines and other shallow flats in the back lakes, targeting them with topwaters. The white Skitterwalk with red head stays in my wading box at all times when this drill is part of the plan. We normally catch plenty of slot reds and a few big trout this time of year in spots with a mix of mud and shattered shell on the bottom during the warm spells in the weather.”

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401

Charlie is optimistic about the options available to anglers in the Matagorda area in November. “We have a huge shrimp crop right now. As fronts drive the water temps down and the tide out of the marshes, we will see trout, redfish and flounder gather in the drains and bayous to intercept them. Of course, we should see birds working in open areas of both East and West Matagorda Bays as this plays out too. We've already been catching some bigger trout on the south shoreline of East Matagorda, and this should only get better in November, which is a great month to target the trophy fish over there. The average size of the trout on the south shoreline of West Bay has been good lately too, and of course, the coves over on that side are full of redfish, as usual. Another option this time of year, when the weather calms and the water goes green to the beach, is the surf. The beachfront still produces plenty of trout in those conditions, and waders don't have to worry as much about sharks as they do in summer.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204

Fishing has been tough for us lately. Our deep reefs and well pads have freshwater runoff keeping the water dirty, and our high tides have scattered fish. Trout have been hard to come by. We've managed a few keepers under the birds, and in some guts holding salty water. Live shrimp rigged under popping corks have accounted for best bites in the guts. Redfish are far back in the marshes. We have some huge tides right now, and it is tough to get to the fish sometimes. When the tides fall a little bit, some of the fish come out and you can catch a few on local shorelines. I am hoping by November everything starts to get back to normal. We need some cool fronts to come through and drop water temps and tides to get fishing going again. I still think bird action will be good in East/South/Turtle Bay once the shrimp start to migrate. I also think the redfish will start schooling again when the shrimp start to fall out of the marsh. These things aren't happening now, so November should be a great month once they do.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service - 361.983.4434

In the Thanksgiving month, Lynn expects to be working a couple different patterns. “The redfish tend to school up and move down area shorelines toward the pass. We catch them by staying up shallow and throwing small topwaters and soft plastics on light jigheads along stretches with a good mix of sandy and grassy bottom. Abundant baitfish normally key us into the right areas when we're trying to take advantage of this pattern. Higher tides and warmer weather for this time of year help too. When strong fronts reduce the water temperatures and tide levels, we have better luck targeting trout over a muddy bottom dotted with scattered shell. The fish tend to retreat to drains and deeper holes soon after the fronts hit, and then come into the shallows close by a couple days later, when the weather starts to warm up. In that situation, we like to throw slow-sinking twitch baits and soft plastics with paddletails rigged on light jigheads, and we like to work 'em low and slow. This normally accounts for some of our biggest trout of the year.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894

November is the start of duck season, so Blake will be doing lots of cast and blast outings. “Fishing has been really good lately, surprisingly so, especially for trout. We're catching some reds too, but lots more trout than normal. Tides are really high, so we've been focusing our efforts on areas with sandy, grassy bottoms tight to shallow shorelines. We are catching well on soft plastics like Norton Sand Eels in dark colors with light tails, as usual, and we've had a decent topwater bite on lots of days lately too. I expect these methods to continue producing as we move into the cooler days of fall. We'll start the day hunkered down in the duck blinds in the marshy areas, and target some redfish in the same areas on the way out after the shooting is over. Then, we'll move out to shorelines and shallow reefs in the bays later in the days to finish the outings. It's a great month to spend time in the outdoors. Rockport is on the rebound, and we're looking forward to seeing some of our regulars return to the Coastal Bend.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata - [email protected] - 361.563.1160

The water in the Baffin Bay area continues to look very good, but the water temperature is on its way down. When it’s time to pull out the waders, make sure that they don’t have any leaks because the water temperature is going to be getting just cool enough to make it uncomfortable. The trout will be in two to three feet of water, and they’ll be using grassy edges and potholes to ambush their prey. Chicken on a chain or sand trout Bass Assassin Die Dappers rigged on sixteenth-ounce SpringLock jigheads will trick 'em. Working the same areas with live shrimp under a popping cork will also contribute to success in landing healthy trout. The redfish are also in great shape, especially the schools of bulls that have been heading toward the Gulf of Mexico. The Die Dappers work very well on them as well. The sight-casing game is providing much fun with the water levels being a little higher than normal lately. Sight-casting has been producing many reds, black drum and trout, using Fish Bites in less than twelve inches of water.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | - 361.937.5961
With the cooler temperatures arriving in November, Joe expects to see a shift in the patterns available to anglers fishing in the Baffin/ULM area. “Once it cools down some more, we should have greater opportunity for sight-casting trout and redfish in the shallows. We have super high tides right now, which will likely fall out some behind the stronger fronts to come, but we'll probably still have plenty of water covering the really skinny flats. As long as the wind creates some ripple on the surface of the water, and the sun shines overhead, this will create plenty of chances to locate and target fish. The moderate water temperatures we typically experience in the first half of November facilitate this process. Once water temperatures dip down into the fifties and stay there, fishing improves along the edges of old channels leading off the ICW and in the main channel itself. Fish tend to seek the warm comfort of the depths this time of year when strong fronts send the water temperatures plummeting in a hurry.”

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
November is often regarded as the best surf-fishing month in Texas. The finger mullet migration is in full swing and mornings are filled with explosive jack crevalle action. Jacks will hit spoons, swimbaits, and topwaters. The surest bet, though, is live mullet. Speaking of mullet – winter rules are now in effect – 12” max. length. Mullet will also entice slot and oversized red drum. Oversized reds can be tagged and retained, but unless intended for mounting, should be released. Their coarse flesh is not nearly as good as the slot-fish. Tarpon should be available until around Thanksgiving. Spanish mackerel and bluefish should be abundant. We could see a decent pompano bite occurring late-month if the water becomes cool enough. Shark action will be steady on medium-sized bulls, large blacktips, and the occasional tiger. Harvey gave us tons of freshwater, and lower than normal salinity in the surf zone can be both good and bad – time will tell. Tides are running high with lots of storm debris on the beaches. Drive with caution!

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge 956.944.4000

Fish will often feed throughout the day as water temperatures continue to decline. Flipping baitfish, slicks and shrimp skipping on the surface are sure signs of feeding activity. Flocks of gulls and terns should become active along the edges of the ICW, especially up around Century Point. Birds have saved more than a few days for me. November is famous for topwater action. Days with light winds can be dynamite for trout along the northern stretches of the west shoreline. Redfish will also be present, but in skinnier water. Once the topwater bite slows, I switch to KWiggler Ball Tails and Willow Tails on sixteenth and eighth-ounce jigheads, depending on water depth. Over on the east-side flats, I like to start shallow and work progressively deeper until fish are located. November usually brings quite a few east wind days, creating the perfect scenario to head over there. The oysters along the south side of East Cut normally hold plenty of reds, and the flounder should be using edges of the channel in the same general area.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty 956.943.2747

Redfish catching has been awesome, as is expected for this time of the year. We have been limiting most trips, using FP3 corks with Berkley Gulp! Live three-inch shrimp in the lighter colors, with sixteen-inch thirty pound test monofilament leaders and eighth-ounce SpringLock jigheads, As we move farther into the fall season, we will begin to switch over to molting and new penny for a different look hopping and dropping below the corks. Trout have been a little more inconsistent. We have heard reports of good trout catches in the Mansfield area from my good friends at Poco Loco Bait and Tackle. For more information on how to rig up your FP3, visit on Facebook and catch Freddy’s demo. Trout fishing should pick up in our area as the Lower Laguna Madre waters begin to cool in coming months. Boat traffic has slowed considerably, but weekends can still be crowded with tournament fishermen, since some events have been rescheduled later in the year due to hurricane Harvey. Say no to open bay dredge disposal.