South Padre: November 2021

South Padre: November 2021
Texas Women Anglers rounding out their learning with catching.

The time of the year I so much look forward to has finally arrived. November for me is all about cooler days, cooler water temps, and aggressive feeding patterns. Speaking of cooler temperatures, I am excited about my new Simms G4Z waders. This is my first with the zipper-front and the ease of getting into them, the comfort, and breathability are absolutely second to none.

Over the years, I have found that consistency in finding and catching fish is best accomplished by studying and understanding fish movements and feeding patterns. Several factors influence movement and one of the main ones is seasonal water temperatures. Fish will move to different depths and areas to acquire desired temperatures and an onboard water temperature gauge is a great tool. November water temperatures will be generally very favorable all across shallow grass flats, so expect fish to remain skinny even in the middle of the day.

The second factor we must always consider is the availability of a reliable food source. Fish will stage near bait concentrations and when the bait moves they follow.

Third on the list is pressure. Boat traffic and fishing pressure often determine how long fish will hold in a particular area.

Fourth is tide movement and prevailing currents. Think of an elevator moving up and down inside a tall building. The same principle applies to fish movements, but instead of vertical, it’s horizontal. The tide pushes bait throughout our bays. So, following the bait movements, you can bet speckled trout and redfish will be in close proximity.

These are some of the factors you can begin to observe and there are certainly others, but paying attention to the ones I’ve mentioned will get you started in the right direction toward being consistent in your catching this fall.

Redfish catches have been strong the past six weeks. Consistently calm winds in early morning have been helpful in revealing their wakes in shallow water as we motor across the flats. Seeing such plentiful numbers is a sure sign that at least our reds made it through the February freeze in good shape.

We have noticed that redfish are starting to school in some areas but we also continue to see considerable numbers of singles and smaller pods. Based upon these observations I predict that redfish will continue staging in shallow water through November. Barring any significantly cold weather, of course, they should however return to the flats after the fronts pass.

Small topwaters should continue to be effective throughout the month although a chilly period might drive them a bit deeper and that’s when our KWigglers Ball Tails will really shine. I normally rig these on 1/8-ounce jigheads but, depending depth, I might switch up to 1/4-ounce to keep it low in the water column..

Trout fishing continues spotty at best, but the good news is that we have been catching more trout recently than the previous two months combined. We are finding them mostly in thigh to waist deep, and almost always adjacent to even deeper water. Catches continue to include many undersize fish and you can bet I have been preaching careful handling as they are the future of our fishery. A limit of keepers can be caught in a few isolated areas, but the majority of my clients have decided to practice full catch and release to help boost the recovery. This is solely their decision and I applaud their conservation efforts.

Cooler water temperatures should contribute to better trout fishing overall but I'm not expecting numbers anywhere near what we saw in Novembers past. We have recently found a few upper-slot specimens but these have been very few and very far between. Only time will tell how the winter trophy season will play out, and I will certainly be encouraging full catch and release to the extent possible.  

Go-to baits and methods of late have been KWigglers Ball Tails and Willow Tails on 1/8 and 1/4-ounce jigheads presented in the lower portion of the water column. This trout pattern should continue through November.  

Much of November's weather will be picture-perfect and suitable for long days on the water, which is a great contrast from the hot days of late summer. Boat traffic will become lighter as many sportsmen take their efforts to the fields and deer blinds. Keep in mind that wader season will soon be upon us and it is always wise to check for leaks before heading out on a cool morning. If by chance you're considering new waders, I highly recommend the Simms brand.

Happy Thanksgiving!  

Big Trout! Lady Angler Demonstrates Proper Release Technique