Reports & Forecasts: November 2018

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268
We're excited about the upcoming November fishing. North winds and outgoing tides provide an endless buffet flowing from the marshes. The fish are gearing up for winter, so they endlessly gorge themselves this month. Trout and redfish will be found in mixed schools at this time, so catching both in the same area is common. Our most productive way to fish will be under birds. Most of these opportunities will present themselves on the northern end of the estuary. As water temperatures drop, our water typically clears up. This makes for excellent sight-fishing opportunities. Redfish will be found in various places in November, along shallow shorelines, at weirs, and lingering in marsh ponds. Flounder fishing also heats up at this time. The ship channel in Cameron will become a flounder superhighway. They’ll use it to make their way to the Gulf for spawning. This makes catching them relatively easy, since they’re confined to this small area. If we used just one word to describe November, it would be awesome!

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242
In the coming month, options will become numerous for anglers in the Galveston area, James predicts. “Lately, we've still been fishing what's basically a summer pattern, working reefs and shell pads in relatively deep water close to the ship channel. With all the hot weather, seems the fish don't want to move. But, come November, we should be able to catch 'em in more places, in more different ways. Wading shorelines and coves can be good. Working slicks and reefs out in the middle can too, depending on the type of weather and whether we are targeting numbers of trout or bigger ones. This time of year, we throw the hard baits a lot, the 51 and 52M MirrOlures, Catch 5s, MirrOdines. Of course, if we're wading, we favor the slow sinkers and the 51s, and we fish the 52s more out of the boat. I don't throw topwaters a lot, but others in my boat catch plenty on 'em in November. Rat-tailed soft plastics tend to work well once the shrimp migration starts up and the birds are working. In a tough bite, throwing the Bass Assassin Sea Shads works well.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
Freshwater running into the back end of East Bay has made a mess of things in some places, but in other spots, fishing has been really good. “People were really whackin' the redfish and croakers in the salty water around Rollover Pass over the last few days. We've had some working birds in the bays, and fish being caught out around the reefs in the middle lately. It's been basically a continuation of the summer pattern. Looks like we're about to get a decent cold front, so things will change. If we don't get any more rain, the catching will pick up once water temperatures cool down. Wading should become more productive, especially in places where the incoming tides push salty water into the bays. Fishing with lures like topwaters and slow-sinkers should become better, and we'll start catching more of the bigger trout. I'll be fishing quite a bit more, and hunting ducks too. Teal season was outstanding; we shot about 700 birds. I expect the hunting for the big ducks to be exceptional too.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323
Randall expressed his excitement for the fishing prospects in his area in November when he gave this report. “I'm looking forward to some great fall fishing around here in November. I'm already seeing encouraging signs of a big shrimp hatch coming. We'll mostly target our fish around marsh drains on outgoing tides, since that's where the predators set up to take advantage of the buffet of food swept out of the shallow areas into the deeper parts of the bays and channels. On incoming tides, I'll focus my efforts on wading and drifting around shell piles, keeping an eye open for working flocks of birds. After the monsoon rains we experienced in September, our water looks like tea in lots of areas, but the fishery is healthy and catching is steady. Favorite topwaters in November include the blue/chrome Skitter Walk and the bone One Knocker Spook. When we're throwing soft plastics, we prefer the Norton Sand Eels and Bull Minnows in colors like chicken on a chain and salty chicken.”

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service - 713.725.2401
November is one of the best months to fish the Matagorda area, Charlie says. “Fishing has been great lately, with lots of shrimp in the backwater areas. Once we get some cold fronts passing through and the water dumps out of the marshes, we should have birds working all over both of our bays. Fishing will get easier for a while for numbers of trout, and numbers of redfish will pick up too. Lately, we're catching plenty of trout ranging from about twenty four to twenty eight inches, with a few stretching close to thirty. Action on the big trout should improve too, once the water cools down a little more. Most of the big trout will be caught by folks wading coves, shorelines and other shallow areas of East Bay, throwing topwaters and slow-sinking twitch baits. Some will be caught by people fishing with the same lures and soft plastics out of the boat in areas too deep for wading, especially places with scattered shell covering a soft, muddy bottom.  You just can't beat coastal fishing in a cool, pleasant, productive month like November.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204
Fishing has been pretty steady in our local bays, despite the twenty inches of rain we had recently. The freshwater running out of the rivers has pushed a ton of our fish way out into the far reaches of our bays, into saltier water. Our trout have been coming from deep reefs in West Matagorda Bay, taking live shrimp rigged four to five feet under popping corks. We've also been catching a few on three-inch white Gulp! shrimp on quarter-ounce jigheads. Our redfish bite has stayed pretty consistent, they've just moved further out into the bay. We're still seeing small schools around Hotel Point and Palacios Point, but not the size we were seeing before the rains. DSL in magic grass has been a hot color as of late. Floundering has picked up quite a bit this month, and we've had some good nights sticking limits up to eighteen inches in the saltier areas of the bay. November should be a great month, with tons of bait in the bay and lots of fish being caught. The bite on Paul Brown Lures will be good on area flats close to deep water, and with all the bait present, the bird activity should be great in locations close to the Tres Palacios River.

Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service - 361.983.4434
In November, Lynn plans on fishing in some of the same places and in the same ways as he has throughout the early part of the fall. “I'll still be fishing areas with a mix of sand and grass along area shorelines known to produce big trout. We'll be targeting the big trout with a sharper focus once some cold fronts with legitimate punch pass over the coast. Cooling water temperatures usually make the bigger trout more active this time of year. We'll throw topwaters some of the time, as long as it isn't too cool, but we'll start to spend more time throwing slow-sinking twitch baits like Paul Brown Lures, Catch 5s, Catch 2000s and the MirrOdines and SoftDines. This is a great time of year to fish with those, throwing them around the sandy pockets in the grassbeds close to the shorelines and working them slowly to and through them. We'll use soft plastics some too, on the tougher days, especially after frontal passages, but will generally stick to the lures that look more like small fish, since they look most like what the big trout like to eat.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
In November, cast and blast season kicks off in earnest. “Duck and dove hunting are both good this time of year, and we like to start our days off in the marshes, hunkered down in the duck blinds. After the birds stop flying, or we shoot our limits, we like to fish our way out of the marshes and into the bays. Fishing for reds can be good in the marsh lakes at times during November. If we're seeing plenty while running around, we usually spend some time targeting them in there. We spend most of our time fishing grass beds and reefs along shorelines in the main bays, staying in depths around waist-deep, throwing topwaters and twitch baits as long as the fish will take 'em. I also like to throw my old standby Norton Sand Eels in dark colors with chartreuse tails when things get a little tougher and won't hesitate to tie on the split-tail Gulp! lures to deal with a really slow bite.  Fishing has been what I'd describe as excellent for quite a while. We're catching plenty of trout on most trips, with some really nice ones. All the freshwater runoff behind the big rains didn't seem to affect our catching much at all.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – [email protected] - 361.563.1160
Fishing continues to be good. All the rain we had recently has helped our part of the Laguna Madre. People planning on doing some wading should inspect the waders for leaks and make sure the ForEverlast Ray Guards are in good shape. The trout are in two to three feet of water early in the mornings, staying in these depths well into the day. Dark lures like Bass Assassin Die Dapper chicken on a chain and drunk monkey have been working very well. I’ve been rigging them on sixteenth-ounce Assassin SpringLock jigheads or about fifteen inches under an Assassin Kwik Kork. Dark three-inch Berkley Gulp! shrimp will also work very well under the Kwik Kork. There are still a few redfish schools in the Laguna Madre. The key to getting them to cooperate is to approach quietly from upwind and not drift or run through them. For those who like to sight- cast, there are many reds and black drum on big flats with less than twelve inches of water. They're consistently taking shrimp-flavored Fish-Bites rigged on sixteenth-ounce jigheads.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez – - 361.877.1230
In November, crowds on the ULM and in Baffin Bay tend to thin out, with lots of folks heading to other places to hunt doves, ducks and deer. When crowds thin out, opportunities for sight-casting redfish, drum and trout tend to increase. Tides continue to run high as of the time of this report, putting plenty of water on top of the shallow crowns of spoil banks and sandy humps throughout the ULM. Water clarity remains good throughout most of the area too. This month, when passing fronts tend to have some strength and produce lower temperatures, sight-casting opportunities are often most numerous under bright skies once the water starts to warm back up. Calm conditions don't help, of course. Best conditions include good light, clear water and winds of medium speed. On dreary days, or on the colder ones immediately after fronts, fishing around ledges where shallow water drops off into channels and basins will be more effective. On those days, a low and slow presentation with a paddletail often works best.

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
361-877-3583 |
By the time this report is published we should have experienced a few highly-anticipated cold fronts. The mullet migration is currently running full tilt and red drum and jackfish are in the surf in great numbers. Lines baited with mullet could produce jacks, mackerel, bluefish, and occasional sharks. Pompano should begin to appear later in the month; the first schools to arrive usually include the largest specimens. Fish-Bites and shrimp are effective pompano baits. One of the most thrilling surf angling opportunities occurs as hordes of jacks storm the beach. Casting large spoons, topwaters and swimbaits at them is incredibly fun. If they see it, they’ll usually try to eat it. Pound for pound, jack crevalle are one of the strongest fighting fish in the surf. Blacktip and bull sharks will be abundant, with some large tigers prowling the surf at night. Tigers are suckers for bloody jackfish baits. November’s surf fishing can be great, but anglers need to keep a keen eye on the weather. The beach is no place to be when a strong norther roars over the coast.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza – 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge – 956.944.4000
It's been a grind lately; extremely high tides and lots of rain haven’t helped. In coming weeks, look for reds schooling on the flats north and south of East Cut. We have yet to see a full-bore redfish run, but I expect we will soon. Giant schools of black drum are patrolling the guts and small channels along the East Cut. Small pieces of dead shrimp or blue crab are old standbys to catch them, but a pearl Gulp! shrimp will work equally well on a slow retrieve. On light wind days, fish the west shoreline anywhere between West Bay and the Oak Motts, and never overlook the ICW spoils. Good topwaters have been the bone One Knocker, Spook Junior and pink Skitter Walk. If tops aren’t producing, try the Mansfield Margarita or bone diamond KWiggler Ball Tail Shad on an eighth-ounce jighead. Work the edge of the drop-off to the deeper side. When casting to deeper water, let the lure sink several seconds, then work it slowly. The Saucer and the flats near the cabins south of town along the ICW are dependable spots for both trout and reds in the fall. Work the potholes!

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | – 956.943.2747
FP3 corks have been bringing in limits of reds daily for a couple of weeks since the last full moon. Despite lots of brackish water, the redfish bite has been hot in areas where fish are concentrated by higher water levels. Trout have been harder to locate, which is usually the case when you have any volume of freshwater runoff; we’re still catching a few, with some over twenty-six inches. We've had quite a few reds that go twenty-seven, but no taggers. There are reports of flounder around, but we haven’t seen any. Freddy says, “Rig your FP3 leader at sixteen to eighteen inches when throwing it shallow and remember to stop after the first two or three pops and let the bait settle. Try using Berkley Gulp! three-inch shrimp in pearl or glow and snip it off on the end so the hook will go in easily. The bait will snug up to the jig head and not split, making it last longer. If you use screw-on heads, you won’t have to reset as often.” We're looking forward to a great season of winter fishing and even bigger redfish. Help stop open bay dredge disposal!