Reports & Forecasts: November 2019

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service – 337.598.3268
Without question, November ranks as the best month for fishing Calcasieu. Weather conditions open up plenty of opportunities for targeting the main three species, trout, reds and flounder. Speckled trout will be abundant throughout the northern end of the lake. Most of our fishing will be done from Turner's Bay north to Lake Charles. The fish will be schooling, and birds will show us where, normally along channel edges, over reefs and on shallow flats. If numbers of keepers is the goal, shrimp imitations work best. For bigger fish, larger, slow-sinking lures work better. Redfish will mix with the trout under birds. They'll also gang up around the mouths of cuts and bayous. The weirs are always a great place to target reds. The banks adjacent to them have less traffic, and can be most productive. Flounder will start staging up to move down the channel. We'll intercept them on their way throwing Gulp! swimming mullet on quarter-ounce heads, rigged on a tandem rig, not so much because we're trying to catch two at a time, but because the extra weight helps us keep them down in strong currents.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - silverkingadventures.com – 409.935.7242
The summer-like patterns were still producing best when James gave this report. “We've got so much freshwater in some of the bays, it makes things tough. If it's calm, and you can get to the fish out in the middle, it's okay. But that kind of water just won't hold up with much wind. We've been doing best fishing areas closer to the channel and to the west, where the water has more salt in it, and we can get out of the wind easier. The trout bite has been decent at times, so we're catching good numbers of fish, sometimes around structures and on shorelines, at other times in the bayous and drains. Average size has been running kind of small, which is typical for late-September. Once we get a few stronger fronts through, the water temperature and tide level will drop, and we'll see the action perk up for bigger trout. Wading will still be a good bet, and we'll start to see the patterns set up where we can catch more fish in open areas of West Bay, concentrating on muddy streaks in the water. We should also have birds working on a daily basis by then.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service – 409.996.3054
Jim likes to split time between the fields, marshes and bays in November, hunting ducks and targeting trout and redfish. “We'll be duck hunting a bunch this month. There's been so much rain, it's hard to say whether this will make the hunting better or not. Normally, lots of water on the inland fields makes hunting better there than in the marshes close to the bays. We'll do both until we get it nailed down right. As for fishing, it's been okay, on days when we don't have too much wind. Normally, in November, we get fronts strong enough to move some water out of the marshes and drop the overall tide level in the bay. That helps the shoreline bite for bigger trout pick up. So, waders who are willing to stay out late in the afternoons and into the early part of the night will start to see improved action for the bigger trout in places like the Refuge Shoreline and other parts of the bay close to the Pass.  Topwaters, tails and twitch-baits all work well at times, depending on the water temperature and clarity.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service  – 979.849.7019 – 979.864.9323
Randall mentioned that the shrimp migration was already cranked up in earnest when he gave this report. “They are already moving out of the marshes into the back-lakes and sloughs. All the waterways leading into and out of the coves and lakes have been producing well. With the warm weather, topwaters are working well, especially the white One Knocker with the red head. On some days, during lulls in the topwater action, soft plastics are working much better. When throwing them, you just can't beat a Norton Sand Eel Junior, when there are so many small shrimp in the water. For me, the glow/chartreuse one works best lately, rigged on a three-eighths ounce Norton Screw-Lock jighead. I also like to use a Norton Quick-twist, number 14, which eliminates the need to tie knots when changing lures. As we get into November, the fishing will most likely continue to be about the shrimp migration. The main action will likely move out into the main bay, closer to the Pass, as the days go by. With stronger fronts and cooler weather, we'll still have some excellent topwater action at times, but the soft plastics will steal the show more often.”

Matagorda | Bay Guide Service
Charlie Paradoski – 713.725.2401
“The month of November is one of the best for fishing in the Matagorda area,” Charlie says. “We've got tons of fish in both bays right now, and action is steady. You can catch some fish pretty much any way you want to do it. People who want to stay in the boat will have plenty of opportunity for catching numbers of trout with a few reds and bigger trout mixed in. We'll have birds working the shrimp migration in November. Waders will also be able to do well on the shorelines of both bays. We still have plenty of reds holding tight to the banks, and of course the biggest trout are usually caught by waders throwing topwaters and twitch-baits in the same places. Various patterns work for waders this time of year, including targeting grassy patches on the south shorelines, and working the edges of reefs and areas with scattered shell and mud on the bottom closer to the ICW. Reading the wind and tide and staying on the better side of the bay is a key to consistent catching. Overall, it just doesn't get much better than a crisp month like November for fast catching in Matagorda.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam
www.palaciosguideservice.com – 979.240.8204
We're still waiting on fall patterns to kick in fully, and are still having luck fishing summer-like patterns. We've been catching trout over deep shell and around well pads in West Matagorda Bay. Mainly, we've been throwing live shrimp rigged about four or five feet under popping corks for best results. On average, our trout have been running about seventeen inches, with a good many pushing the twenty-inch mark. Our redfish bite continues to sizzle. Tide levels have been high almost all the time, and the reds are far back in the marshes. Crawfish-type lures like the Matrix Craw and PowerBait craws have worked best when thrown in the grass. We're catching great numbers of fish in the lower end of the slot. Flounder have been on the move, and we're catching a few most every time out, using live mud-minnows rigged about a foot under a cork. Average size of the flatfish is about seventeen inches too. By October, we should see cooler weather and the onset of true fall patterns working on a daily basis. Redfish should be schooling and chasing shrimp, birds should be working over trout, and flounder should be set up around drains.

Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service – 361.983.4434
Lynn expects to be dodging fronts on a regular basis and hitting back-lakes and shorelines for both trout and redfish in November. “When the stronger north winds start to blow through, the fishing becomes steadier in a couple of ways. The bigger trout like to move into the back-lakes where there's a good mix of grass and mud on the bottom. They don't bite quite as good in the cool mornings like they have all summer, but once the sun heats up the grass beds, they usually bite pretty good in the middle of the day. We throw a lot of topwaters this time of year, trying to get the big trout to take a bite. And, we do catch a lot of redfish in these same areas when we're working this drill. If tides are lower, the shorelines adjacent to the drains leading into the shallower areas generally produce better, especially when the water is actually moving out of the shallow coves and lakes and into the main bays. November has great potential for producing big trout in Port O'Connor, so it's a fun month to be out on the water.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake will be working the first part of the regular duck season, making mostly cast and blast outings, during November. “I saw a few ducks starting to straggle in over the last few weeks, and there are a couple stronger fronts in the forecast, so I expect they will show up right on time for some steady shooting. When we finish our hunts, we like to start off looking for both trout and reds in the airboat, mostly in the back-lakes and drains leading into them. The bite is better for reds on average in those areas, but we do catch some nice trout in there too, mixed in with the herds of reds. Mostly, I like throwing topwaters this month. It's usually still pretty warm, and with the changing seasons, the fish seem aggressive and ready to attack them on most days. We don't use bait at all this time of year, so when the topwaters aren't working, I rely heavily on my old favorite soft plastics, Bass Assassins and Norton Sand Eels, usually in dark colors like pumpkinseed and purple, always with a chartreuse tail. I do throw the pearl/chartreuse one at times too. ”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – rz1528@grandecom.net – 361.563.1160
Decent amounts of rain have fallen recently on the Upper Laguna Madre, but I'd say we could use even more. Some of the storms in the Gulf have pushed water into the bays and contributed to very high tide levels on a consistent basis. Between the run-off and the bull tides, we have plenty of places with ample water to run around in. We do have some brown tide in both the Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay, but fishing continues excellent for both trout and reds in both systems. I've been doing best with live shrimp rigged about fifteen inches under Bass Assassin Kwik Korks. Using the live bait, we're catching a good mix of trout up to twenty-five inches, reds up to thirty-three and some black drum within their slot. In the clear parts of the Lagoon closer to the bridge, I've been throwing Bass Assassin Elite Shiners in colors like Mama's 14K, meat hook and salt and pepper/silver phantom, rigged on sixteenth-ounce Assassin Spring Lock jigheads. These lures have been producing more trout than reds, but both are biting them well.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez – www.sightcast1.com – 361.877.1230
High tides and hot water temperatures have the patterns stalled in the Upper Laguna Madre and around Corpus Christi, Joe says. “With so much water in the Lagoon, it pays to have a shallow-running boat. We've seen lots of trout and reds over sand, in places which are normally hard to access without a boat which runs in inches of water. On most days, catching the fish has been pretty easy once we find them; the searching is often harder than the catching. Things will likely change pretty dramatically in the next month or so, when fronts start arriving more often and bring air and water temps down some. Strong fronts with quite a bit of west in the wind can also push water back out of the bay. When these things happen, patterns along the ICW and in channels connected to it tend to pick up. With water cooling off and falling off the flats, trout and redfish tend to stage on the edges of the channels. When fishing channel edges, one of the main keys is to pay attention to the amount of wind and current and adjust the size of the jighead to match the situation.”

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
361-877-3583 | Oceanepics.com
November is regarded as one of the greatest months for surf fishing, with highlights that include feeding frenzies of slot and over-sized red drum, jackfish, Spanish mackerel, and a few late tarpon. The mullet migration is in full swing. For anglers gathering bait, the 12-inch max length rule applies October through January. Cold fronts will be reaching the coast soon. Anglers will typically do well to wait two days after a front passes for best driving conditions and fishing opportunity. Large spoons tossed into feeding frenzies will draw strikes from all the gamefish species mentioned above. Black-tip and bull sharks will be plentiful and can often be seen cruising knee-deep waters early in the mornings. Caution when wading is advised, even though these sharks have very little interest in attacking or eating people. Large tiger sharks are also a possibility as they make their final visit to the surf to feed on the plentiful jacks. November is usually clear of tropical weather and red-tide events. Keep an eye on the weather. Storms associated with frontal passages can push tides to the dunes and lightning can be particularly dangerous.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza
Snookdudecharters.com – 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge – 956.944.4000
Now's the time to pull out the waders and test them for leaks. Last thing anyone wants on a chilly morning is to discover a hole in the waders. November hotspots include The Saucer and the flat stretching toward the cabins along the ICW. West Bay and the spoil humps just north of Bennie's can also be very good this time of year. A run to the north is a good plan when conditions allow. The west shoreline can be ideal too, from the oak mottes to Glady's Hole. East-side flats also produce well, if the wind has the west side mucked up. Other great areas in the fall are The Game Warden's Shack, Dubb's Island, Butcher's Island and Wagner's Bar. Best plan is to key on bait activity, slicks and working birds. Every pothole on a flat is likely to hold a fish or two. I like to start off my days with a Spook Junior or One Knocker; preferred colors are pink/silver, bone/silver and woodpecker. My favorite soft plastics are Kwiggler Ball Tails and Willow Tails. Trusted colors in those include bone diamond, Lagunaflauge and plum/chartreuse. Keeping an eye out for arriving fronts is wise this time of year.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Aaron Cisneros | tightlinescharters.com – 956-639-1941
Tides have been running very high in the Lower Laguna Madre, with all the storms and their association with the fall equinox. Even though daily air temperatures have been climbing into the 90s pretty much every day, trout have been showing up on shallow flats with the higher tide levels. Trout fishing has been steady, and we've been catching good numbers of fish ranging from eighteen to about twenty-two inches, with an occasional whopper thrown into the mix, mostly working waist-deep water over grassy bottoms dotted with large, sandy potholes. Soft plastics like the Kwigglers Ball Tails in Mansfield Margarita rigged on eighth-ounce heads have been most effective. Best presentation has been a quick one, with some slow fluttering action in the potholes. As usually happens with extremely high tides, redfish have moved to back bay areas, where they're feeding on shrimp and small crabs. Small topwaters like Spook Juniors have been producing fairly steady responses from them, but soft plastics are working better on average. We're expecting an uptick in the consistency of the bite once temperatures decline a bit more; this happens most every year about this time.

 
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