Fish Talk: November 2011

Fish Talk: November 2011
Willard Kirby and Sandy Johnson brought along a few “essentials” for a day of bay fishing. Capt. Bill said it might have set a new world record!

I have always kept detailed fishing logs and my normal practice is to pull them out every couple of months and review past years' weather patterns, feeding patterns, and fishing success to prepare for the days ahead. Having done so recently it stands out that November is almost always a month to remember in terms of numbers and quality of the trout we catch. While not a trophy month in the purest sense, I am pleasantly reminded of some very memorable catches my clients and I have made over the years.

November is a study of the effect of weather on fish behavior. It usually begins mildly with weather and feed patterns quite similar to October but long about the middle of the month it develops a character all its own, and depending on the frequency and severity of the fronts arriving from the north country, Thanksgiving and the final week can actually be a tad wintery. Judging by their feeding habit during November, it seems as though the fish are on steroids.
The reason for this is that trout, reds, and flounder sense the approach of winter and feed up, as they say, in preparation for it, the same as all wild creatures.

All Texas bays will come to life again. Our slowly cooling water temperature sends a signal which activates our fish populations to gorge their bellies on just about anything they can get their mouths on. As a matter of fact, these fish become maniacs – pulling, jumping, and fighting, more so than any other time of the year. I can't wait to get my line stretched.

One of the greatest things about the fall season is that there are plenty of places to fish this time of year. East Matagorda Bay will be prime for wading shorelines (north and south), reefs, and chasing birds. Some local hot spots include Little Boggy Lake, Big Boggy Lake, and Austin Lake, all of which feed into the East Matty system. These lakes all lie to the north of the Intracoastal Waterway and depending bait migrations and tide levels (tide level varies greatly with each passing front draining the marshes and tidal lakes) can prove very productive at times.

Don't overlook the Colorado River, both upper and lower, along with the Matagorda Jetties. The lower river and jetties are always salty, but anytime we have prolonged drought the tide will overpower the river inflow and saltwater will push a surprising distance up the river channel ten miles or more! Naturally, then, trout and redfish push right up the river with the tide. Birds will be working in West Matagorda Bay, a ticket to a quick limit of trout and sometimes redfish too when everything clicks into place. Other area hotspots to consider are Crab Lake and Oyster Lake along the ICW southwest of Matagorda. As I mentioned, we'll not be hurting for fishing spots.

Seeking refuge from weather; the Colorado River and Diversion Channel will be go-to places when a strong norther rips down the country to the coast. It's just a good, safe area when our conditions make bay crossings impractical, and you might be surprised at the fish you can find there.

You have probably noticed that my bait selection doesn't change much but along with my standard diet of Bass Assassin plastics, MirrOlure She Dogs, and She Pups, I will be adding my trusty Paul Brown Original Corky and Corky Fat Boy to my November lineup.
So there. I do make a few changes every once in a while! My preferred Bass Assassin colors at present are Morning Glory, Roach, 10W40, Hot Chicken, and Chicken-on-a-Chain, to name the top five. Whenever I get under the birds and find the trout feeding with abandon I'll usually rig some of my old faded-out and mottled plastics just to use them up. This is a great opportunity to get rid of those mixed bags of baits that everybody seems to accumulate.

Archery deer season opened the first Saturday of October, and the general deer season opens the first Saturday in November all across the state. I'm sure that a great number of outdoorsmen and families will be deer hunting instead of fishing, so I hope and pray that everyone has an enjoyable, safe, and productive hunting season along with a great Thanksgiving. Save a few days for fishing and be sure to check the marine forecast before leaving the dock. A wicked November norther is nothing to fool around in; always go prepared!

Until next time; God Bless. -Capt. Bill