It’s hard to beat Matagorda in November if you love to hunt and fish. Very few places in this world offer world-class duck hunting in the morning and world-class trout and redfish action in the afternoon. What a blessing to live here and make a living doing what I love.
Duck season runs November 6 through November 28 and reopens December 11 through January 30. Most days we will hunt the mornings and fish during the afternoons. If you are not a waterfowler, we have plenty of boats to get you on the water at dawn. However, if you like to point a shotgun and bend a rod the same day, November is the best opportunity.
Good numbers of fish will be in the Diversion Channel this month. It's a lot like bass fishing - pitching baits to timber and fallen logs from previous river rises. Don't be afraid to toss a topwater along the bank. Solid trout hang on the edge in 5-8 feet of water and will bang a Super Spook, Skitter Walk or She Pups.
Birds will work throughout the month over solid trout. East Bay, West Bay, Tres Palacios Bay, all are players and all will give up good catches of trout on topwaters and soft plastics. West Matagorda Bay has been hot for trout over shell while wading. Half-Moon Reef in West Bay is always good when the wind allows. This month soft plastics and topwaters are both a good bet and don't be surprised to find birds working near the reef.
Bull redfish have been found along the beachfront. All the jetties are players as well. The Matagorda jetties are holding lots of redfish on cracked blue crabs, mullet, and fresh table shrimp. As always, this time of year encourages slot-sized redfish to school in bunches of two dozen or more along the grass line. Spots like Shell Island, Twin Island, Cut Off Flats and Zipperan Bayou near Matagorda are good spots. Mud Lake and Crab Lake are players along the shorelines with live shrimp.
Spots like Boiler Bayou, Don's Pipeline and Alice are holding good numbers of Gulf trout. Their white fillets are perfect in ceviche and also battered and fried in peanut oil. We enjoyed an influx of sand trout in October and it really took the pressure off our speckled trout population. Many captains have been encouraging clients to keep sand trout for table fare and let the specks swim.
The Freeze of 2021 put a strain on our trout population and it’s up to us to be conservation-minded and release more than we take.
As with most November days, we will be duck or goose hunting the mornings and fishing the afternoons. Afternoon fishing is just as productive and there is no better place to dupe a trout on a topwater as the sun falls below the horizon.
Again, please be mindful of our diminished trout population and consider catch and release. When birds are working and shrimp are jumping, it is easy to think there are “plenty of trout in this bay.”
The fact of the matter is: we have had some great trout-catching days in 2021, but we know, and TPWD’s population survey data proves that our numbers are down. We will eventually recover, but the rate of recovery will be determined by the attitudes and practices of anglers.