Pro Tips: November 2009

Pro Tips: November 2009
Work the color change in the sloughs during frontal passage.
After receiving much needed rain in September and early October, I am hoping November will provide improved fishing conditions. The effects of the 2009 drought will not suddenly go away with the sweetening of our bays but it should improve our catches. Only time will tell but I am very optimistic that the recent rainfall and falling water temperatures will have a positive affect on our fishery. I'd still like to see Cedar Bayou open but for now I am happy for the rain and the forecast for more looks even more promising.

Late October and November is an excellent month to visit the middle Texas coast. Cooler temperatures signal the outdoor world that change is coming. The changes in weather patterns create "feeding up" in our game fish as well as migration to spawning grounds for our local flounder. Baitfish sense the changes and start moving to the deeper bay waters and channels. The combination of these two factors creates some of the year's best action and I am curious to see how the cooler water temperatures, shorter days and reduced salinity affects our trout bite. Even though I have targeted redfish more than ever the past few seasons, I will always will be a trout fisherman at heart. No other fish gets me as stoked as a trophy-sized speckled trout.

I will be concentrating my efforts on shoreline drains, not just the mouths, but every bend and also the areas where the drains meet the back lakes. During the first few cold fronts I expect the best trout to be in the bends closest to the area where the drain opens into the lake. As the gamefish population feeds through the bait supply and water temperatures drop lower, I anticipate trout will drop back towards the area where the drain meets the bay.

Understand that during tide movement the fish will move from one bend to the next searching for the best ambush points. Water movement is critical. As tides fall the trout and red fish will actually swim up into the drains, staging in bends where current is strongest. On incoming tides the fish will pull out of the drains and stage at the entrance on the outside. I look for the dark green holes in the drains where trout will congregate in the clear water. A two foot change in depth is tremendous in a drain that might average two to three feet at normal levels.

It important to remember that the water in the lake will be very clear as water temperatures drop during October and November. This clear water will be pulled through the drains and finally meet up with water of greater color in the open bay. The line where clear meets dirty is an absolute dream zone during the passage of our first few fronts of the season. Many have been the days that I could see the doubt in client's eyes as we pulled away from the dock with 20 to 25 mph NE and bay water looking like a root beer float. Amazement sets in as soon as the boat eases into the shoreline and the clear water is observed. To stand and sight cast to both trout and reds as they enter or exit a drain is a very common occurrence this time of year. With migratory birds of all species dotting the skies it can truly be an experience you will never forget. Local artists, Barnes, Booth and Cowan have captured this scene in many of their paintings and I have been blessed to walk into many of them.

Speaking of blessed, I have to say that I have been very blessed these past four years. I don't want to get anyone stirred up over the pros and cons of tournaments; just let me say what they have done for me. Tournaments have allowed me to fulfill sponsorship obligations and I have met some wonderful guys and gals, sharing victories and disappointments. I have learned that I am no way as good an angler as I once thought I was. Mostly I have had the opportunity to fish with my sons and my wife in these competitive events, spending quality time and creating memories I will always cherish. Special moments this past tournament season were; winning the I.F.A. Rockport with Jay Ray, catching a lifetime bass with Ryan, finishing second in the First Annual Majek Owners Tournament with Ryan, and winning the Guided Lure Division of the world's largest women's fishing tournament with my wife Renee'. Perhaps insignificant to much of the outside world, but Super Bowls for me. I wish everyone could experience the joy I have found fishing with my family. I could not have done any of these things with my sponsors and the help of special friends in the business. The list is too long but you guys know who you are and you know how much I appreciate each one of you.

I know times are tough so take care of your families first, I'll be here waiting and practicing until some of you can come again.

"May your fishing always be catching," Jay Watkins