What’s Not to Love?

What’s Not to Love?

If you could contact every Texan that purchases a hunting and fishing license and made a survey, asking them “What month do you most look forward to?”, I am willing to bet that a majority would quickly answer November. From the hunters aspect, deer season is getting kicked off and the rut will fall somewhere during this month in many regions of the state. Also, duck and goose seasons begin for the diehards of wingshooting, who never quite get their fill during early teal and dove season. They should be excited and rightfully so, they wait all year for a short window to spend time outdoors and harvest their favorite species.

If you were to ask anglers the same question, I would be willing to bet the results would be scattered. There are a multitude of reasons as to “which month” and depends heavily on how you like to fish. Trophy trout anglers will have a completely different answer than say fly fisherman, who will also have a different answer than dedicated tournament anglers. However, when it comes down to all-around best fishing, November gets my vote.

I am sure by the time you are reading this we have experienced a few cold fronts; nothing too serious but certainly enough to drop the temperatures and get some things moving. The change of weather we get to experience during November just makes all things outdoors that much more enjoyable. The cooler temperatures make it so one will not fatigue as easily and lends to making all day trips a possibility. It is also a major driving factor of the mass migrations of shrimp and baitfish from the marshes to the Gulf. The cooler weather is a signal that winter is near and that it is time to make their way out. As they begin to move, every gamefish is schooled up and waiting to take advantage of their departure.

When it comes to enjoying the little things of being an outdoorsman there are two things that come to mind. One of them is listening to the marsh light up in all directions from duck hunters at the exact minute shooting time arrives. The other is being on the south end of Sabine Lake at first light with you and a handful of other boats idling out, all looking for the same thing, birds working over migrating shrimp. Once it gets light enough and the first group becomes visible, the race will be on. Usually, whoever has the best eyes gets a good jump on the competition and you know they have spotted something when they suddenly take off full blast. By the time you make your way in that direction though, several other groups have popped up and there is no reason to start crowding. Those little moments, kind of the quiet before the storm, are what I truly love.

The good thing about this though, is that there are usually plenty of birds pointing you to exactly where the fish are. These scenarios really make for a fun day of fishing and are some of my fondest memories with my family and friends. Just a few tips that I have learned throughout the years when fishing the birds is to avoid topwaters and other lures rigged with treble hooks. I promise, I like watching a trout smack a topwater just like everyone else, but between the seagulls trying to snatch your plug and everyone getting in a hurry, it’s a recipe for getting a hook in you, or someone else on the boat. These fish are going to eat nearly anything you throw in front of them, and this is why I recommend lures with single hooks. Not only are they safer for you and your companions, they are less harmful to the fish and much easier to remove and get back to fishing.

When it comes to being back in the marsh, there is nothing quite like November. The redfish can be found in small groups or large schools; more than likely they won’t be alone. They tend to be gorging on the remaining shrimp that have yet to make their journey to deeper water, and by the way they act they don’t want any of them to make it. It really is an awesome sight to see them pushing in unison and working together to eat. When it comes to catching them, just put a lure somewhere in front of their face and hang on!

I know that for some anglers, November meant it was time to head to the nearest pass and load an ice chest with flounder. However, with recent regulation changes we are no longer allowed to harvest them during this month. But that does not mean we cannot still target them. Even though you can’t keep them, they are just as fun to target and catch. I have had better luck later in the month, on average, but when you get to an area where they have staged prior to migrating to the Gulf for spawning it can be a world of fun. Targeting marsh drains during a falling tide is a preferred technique that often yields great results. Anglers all have their own confidence lures, mine just happen to be a Chicken Boy or a small, green curly-tailed Gulp. My brother’s is the larger curly-tailed Gulp in Redfish Magic, jigged slowly on bottom. Don’t ask me where he came up with this but I can attest that it just flat out works.

Right now is the time that most outdoorsman have been looking forward to all year. Whether you are in a deer stand, duck blind, or fishing boat, there is definitely something to be happy about. You don’t get many days of the year where you can hear the screeching of gulls fighting over shrimp while having a group of pintails whistling overhead. Combine all of that with twenty redfish pushing down the bank right toward you. What’s not to love?