November is the month of great feasting in our homes as well as in our bays. With cooler water temperatures, gamefish seem to instinctively know that winter will soon be here and they really dig into the chow. With plentiful bait supply they usually do not have to work too hard to find a meal and they sometimes feed all day with mullet and pinfish becoming staples when shrimp make their way to the Gulf. There will definitely be short periods when every cast is met with a strike but some amount of action throughout the day is a November trademark.
Currently, the fish are still hard to consistently pattern; no doubt each day has been totally different. And just when you think you have them figured out, the very next day they play a better disappearing act than Houdini. Very light winds have helped us find redfish with their backs out of the water and their tails in the air. Stealth is always the name of the game when they are feeding like this. First light has been the best time and always remember that running the boat too close will shut them down like somebody threw a switch.
It has been my experience that when you find fish up skinny they will usually spook at the slight disturbance and this makes lure selection very critical. The 3-inch Zara Puppy which has no rattle and creates very little wake is perfect for this application.
Another bait that made a believer out of me instantly when I finally tried it was the Kelley Wigglers Ball Tail Shad in the new Smoke and Mirrors color that Capt. Wayne Davis gave me with specific instruction to try it in clear water. Being the stubborn person that I am I put them away for three months and only just tried them recently when this clear-shallow feeding pattern got going. Five reds on five casts and not a single fish spooked as it appears very natural in the water!
Aside from the redfish we are targeting in shallow water, there are a few large schools of redfish showing up on the east side, but as the temperatures cool down some more this month, look for those schools of fish to move closer to the Queen Isabella Causeway as they head out to the Gulf of Mexico through the Brazos Santiago Pass. A good time to target these migrating reds will be in between fronts on the north and south jetties, its not a secret that both jetties seem to be annual hot spots during the peak of the redfish run.
The trout fishing has improved. We are still catching a lot of little ones but catching limits of keepers has gotten a bit easier as the water temperature cools down. Topwaters have been working in the morning hours when they seem most aggressive. Our most productive wades have been thigh to waist deep over scattered grass and sandy potholes. In the shallower flats (knee deep) with potholes, there has been plenty of trout action but mostly smaller fish. Historically, right around Thanksgiving is when we really see the bigger trout starting to show up and you can bet we anxious to see them. The durable Kelley Wiggler Ball Tail Shad in plum with blue metal flake is a must in your box this year and also suspending baits such as the MirrOdine and Paul Brown Originals. If you are a topwater fan, never quit throwing them simply because some guys say it is too cold. We use them all through winter when the conditions permit.
Already a few mild fronts have made it to the coast but it has been my experience that we need that first cold blast to drive the larger trout to muddy bottom which makes so much easier to pattern. Gulls, terns and pelicans will become some of our surest indicators of solid feeding action between cold fronts. Cooler weather also means we will bringing the waders out of the closet very soon. If you happen to be in the market for a new pair I highly recommend the Simms brand built from the GORE-TEX fabric. Check out Fishing Tackle Unlimited in their two Houston locations and you can also learn more at www.SimmsFishing.com. They are not cheap, but are made in the USA and you get what you pay for. If you are a hard-core winter wader I also suggest you seriously look at purchasing their Guide Fleece Bib for all day warmth and comfort. Happy Thanksgiving!