Mid-Coast Bays: November 2016

Mid-Coast Bays: November 2016
November is known for its beautiful weather but there could be a few powerful fronts reaching the coast. Smart-phone weather apps are your friend!

Fall fishing season is in full swing with mostly beautiful weather on the Middle Coast. So many exciting changes are occurring. While leaves turning color are definitely eye-catching, I am more excited about the changes on the water. With cooler temperatures, every living creature seems to have a little more zip in their step and fish are becoming more active and willing to accept just about anything thrown at them.

Now we all know that with cooler weather comes cooler water temperatures but just how cold the water is, or will be, is dictated by how frequent and severe each passing cold front will be. A sudden 10-degree drop in water temperature can be the deciding factor in where you will need to concentrate your fishing efforts.

Let's discuss our options. If we are enjoying great fall weather and a cold front has not passed in a week, more than likely the water temperatures will be hovering around 70-degrees and this opens many doors. This temperature is neither too hot nor too cold. Bait should be plentiful everywhere and game fish have no reason to seek warmer or cooler locales. Anglers can concentrate efforts in muddy back lakes or sandy outside shorelines with equal success, perhaps even some of the many shallow reefs in San Antonio Bay.

With all that being said, if we do happen to get a really chilly cold front that drops the water temperature overnight, then the areas you will want to concentrate your fishing on will be different. The warmer muddy bottomed back lakes are where fish will seek refuge from the cooler air temperatures since the muddy bottoms attract more radiation from the sun and the water will be warmer. Fish will also congregate along deeper drop-offs and deeper reefs for the warmth deeper water provides. Are you getting the picture?

This is the season when artificial lures really shine. On a recent trip with a client we discussed the degree to which bass fishing techniques and freshwater lures have influenced saltwater angling. One lure we discussed in particular was the 4-inch Stanley Ribbit frog rigged on a 5.0 Mustad Ultra Point hook. I laugh a little when I think of this funny looking lure. Many years ago when Gary and I were competing in as many redfish tournaments as our schedule would allow, one of our secret weapons was the Stanley Ribbit. I have to admit it's not a glamorous lure but it is irresistible to big fat redfish that live in the back lakes. Even though it can be used in very grassy areas, I have more success with the Ribbit when the grass has started to die off and the water temperatures are not summertime hot.

Mann's Waker is another lure that came to light after some of us discovered the Baby 1-Minus and Mid-Minus freshwater crankbaits. While the Minus plugs proved to be good producers in saltwater, the downside was they would tend to dive too deep and foul bottom grass unless fished very slowly. Designed with shallow saltwater in mind, the Waker does not have this problem. You can slow roll it or burn it. The diving depth is only about 3-inches either way, and you can cast it a country mile. The croaker color has been the one that I've had most success with, probably because it mimics so many of the redfish's preferred forage species.

Another tried and true performer is the good ol' gold spoon that's been around a lot longer than any of us. On days when I drift back lakes I keep at least one rod rigged with a 1/2-ounce weedless spoon. Not only are these babies real eye candy to redfish, they are also an easy lure to cast and make perfect presentations with. To avoid line twist it is best to include a barrel swivel, either between your braid and leader or with a split ring on the spoon itself. With the swivel on the spoon you can also tie direct with your braid they both work. If you get a chance try one or all of these baits in the next couple of months when searching for hard-pulling redfish, I firmly believe you will not be disappointed.

I know that November can be a busy month with so many focusing on deer and waterfowl, and of course Thanksgiving will be here before we know it but, you really need to squeeze a few fishing trips into your schedule as well. The weather between fronts can be just gorgeous and the trout and reds will be feeding like no other time of year.