Fish Talk: November 2010

Fish Talk: November 2010
Fall is a great time for flounder – John Bining – four pounder.
Fall fishing is the icing on the cake, the cream of the crop as they say. October has always been a great month here in the Matagorda bays but, even as good as October can be; November is the ace of all months in my book. Leafing through fishing logs of thirty years brings back incredible memories and records of awesome catches. Success on trout and redfish is noted on nearly every page, weather and water conditions permitting of course, and trout longer that twenty-five inches are more numerous in November than all other months combined. I attribute this success to cooler air and water temperatures, fish feeding aggressively for longer periods during daylight hours and abundant bird activity as shrimp migrate from the marshes into the bays and then on to the Gulf. Throw all those variables into the mix and the outcome is lots of catching.

Another interesting bit of information I noticed while looking over past fishing records, while November has been the ace of all months for catching both numbers of trout and trout over twenty-five inches, there has been a steady decline in numbers of trout in general and especially big trout. I spend nearly all my fall days in East Matagorda Bay and, given its relatively small size, I fish pretty much the same areas with the same methods year after year. I carefully log each day's location, conditions and catches. This data tells me the fishery is declining and I truly hate to see that. The way things are shaping up I think we should see excellent November fishing and I am curious to see how this year's catch record stacks up against the thirty year data base I have built.

To give you a classic scenario of why November fishing is so thrilling for me, many times I will have my boat loaded with three or four guys headed toward the Gulf Cut in East Matagorda Bay to do some wading on the south shoreline. We clear the cut and low and behold we come upon a flock of birds and end up staying for the duration, never wading at all. Not every flock of birds will be covering big trout but when you come upon a group of birds working over three to five pound trout jumping every direction out of the water as they gorge on shrimp, your plan to wade the south shoreline can fall by the wayside. These types of experiences actually happen more frequently than most fishermen would believe on late October and November fishing trips here in East Matagorda Bay.

In my opinion, to be a better fisherman one should keep a fishing log or record of each fishing trip, memorable or not. This information will help in planning for future fishing excursions. I have noted some typical data I track to round out my record book and help me focus more on catching.

Date of trip
Number of individuals on the boat
Wind direction and strength
Tide direction water level
Water clarity
General weather conditions
Locations fished
Fish caught and size
Baits used
When did the bite start and how long did it last

If the job of taking notes during the trip and entering them in your logbook seems like too much work, then don't bother. But I will tell you as a professional; this routine has benefited me tremendously in planning and preparing my trips and has definitely contributed to my fishing success. For those data crunchers out there, look at it as inputs and outputs and I think you'll agree on the validity and reliability of data collection.

As for lure suggestions, you know me; I'll be sticking with my Bass Assassins, Corkys, a few She Dogs and perhaps the Eddie Douglas Broken Back Special. Another tidbit I ran across when looking over my fishing log that I'll pass along over the years red and white has been my most productive color of soft plastic for November in East Matagorda Bay. There you go; this tidbit of information would have been lost in space had I not noted it in my fishing log. Hope everyone has a great month of fishing and hunting.

Until next time; good fishin' and God bless. -Capt. Bill