On Galveston: November 2013

On Galveston: November 2013
Sitting here to write this I am patiently waiting for the first good cold front of the year that is forecasted to arrive this weekend. Even though the fish are still biting really good and the patterns haven't really changed much over the past several weeks, I know a good norther or two is needed to shake things up and set the stage for late-fall and early winter. For wade fishermen especially, that first good front always mean heavy trout start moving up to the edges of the flats and the morning and afternoon topwater action can be phenomenal when they're running the mullet and shad to the surface.

Flounder are starting to ease up on the flats near bayou mouths, points, and drains. Redfish are generally shallow along sand bars, guts, and grassbeds in the upper end of Trinity Bay. Small trout are in the rivers, bayous, and back lakes waiting for the big dump of the shrimp crop as a good cold front approaches. The table is set for some great fall action, but we need fall to show up, and it's about to.

Our bigger fish patterns have remained about the same; schools of big trout are still deep in Trinity and East Bays as they've been all summer long. What's about to happen is our patterns are about to flip as the smaller shallow fish will go deep with the fall shrimp crop and our larger mature fish will go shallow along shoreline flats, towheads, and reefs for the remainder of fall and into the winter. This is what I live for; targeting the bigger fish along protected shorelines in three feet of water and less.

This is when feeding preference changes and lure selection comes into play allowing the diehard angler that has waited all summer for a shot at the year's best and heaviest trout. Whether you're a topwater enthusiast, soft plastic expert, spoon roller, MirrOlure chunker, or into slow-moving suspending like the Maniac Mullet or Corkys, it's all about to come into play if you love to wade fish.

The weather gets so nice you just have to go whether the wind is up or not. Wade fishing allows you to fish more days and enables you a better shot at a fish of a lifetime in the Galveston complex as the better fish begin to inhabit protected and wade-able waters. You have numerous shorelines available on different winds, especially the prevailing fall and winter wind directions.

In the fall, behind cold fronts, we pull a lot of northeast winds which are prime conditions for the upper ends of East Galveston and Trinity Bays. Northeast is also good for Tabbs Bay and Burnett Bay, and all the backwater areas up the San Jacinto River watershed. As water temperatures drop, fish movements begin, and you have a chance to use your locating skills to stay on them. Slicks often become less prevalent as we move into the fall season; that's when paying attention and staying on the baitfish really come into play.

Rafts of mullet along shorelines are a no-brainer along with pods of active shad and jumping shrimp. The more subtle subsurface clues quick flashes and slight ripples around structure are the ones that often pay the biggest dividends for bigger trout, though. Learning to detect and interpret these requires time on the water and a keen eye but the rewards can be substantial.

Bird action out in the middle of the bays is a fall favorite and crowd pleaser and I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot of it soon, as it is without a doubt the easiest and quickest way to box a limit. Me – I'd just as soon pass on it, given the crowds and generally "just keeper" size of most of the fish. But, it's all up to you to choose the way you want to spend your day on the water.

Fall is in the air and I wish all great success. Please respect your fellow fisherman, practice catch and release when you have a nice mess for dinner, and enjoy the great outdoors.