South Padre: November 2019

South Padre: November 2019
Rusty Ransom is a magnet for big snook.

It's been several weeks since I took delivery and I am enjoying the comfortable ride and shallow water performance of my new Majek Illusion. I want to say thank you to everyone that helped provide a smooth transition into the new boat. From the impressive demo rides with Russell O’Riley and Gerardo Santana to the three visits to the Majek shop with Jimmy and Johnny Majek, I received first class treatment all the way. Big thanks also to Dustin Hoover at Ron Hoover RV and Marine in Donna, TX. Everybody went the extra mile and I appreciate it very much.

The first weeks of fall have traditionally been tough for me but we are experiencing a considerable uptick in our catches this year.  During the summer months we lacked the usual heavy concentrations of baitfish but as the water is beginning to cool we are once again noticing large schools of mullet in many areas. No doubt, this will  contribute favorably to fishing success in coming weeks and months.  

November is known for excellent redfish action and from what we’re seeing so far we should be in great shape. The good news for anglers is they will be eager to crush whatever gets in their way. With elevated tides I expected the reds to move high on the sand flats but the best areas of late continue to be back-lakes, spoil humps, and pothole-riddled grass flats.

I look for improved topwater redfish action during the traditionally longer feed periods in November. However, if they’re unwilling to commit to the floaters we’ll have our trusty KWiggler Ball Tails and Willow Tails with us on every wade. Top color choices will likely be Plum-Chartreuse, Turtle Grass, and Mansfield Margarita. If you are working grassy areas I recommend the Willow Tails rigged on the weedless Willow Maker jigs.

There is currently no shortage of undersized trout, which is a good sign for the future of the species. Please handle and release them with care as they all have potential to become a trophy. A moderate number of bigger trout are beginning to show but I do not have confidence to predict any trophies just yet. That will come later as the water temps continue to cool.

Best trout catches of late have been over mixed sand-shell bottoms and grassy pothole areas with lots of finger-sized mullet and pinfish present. Fresh slicks have been the most reliable sign of feeding activity. While the smaller trout seem willing to grab your lure just about any time, the better keepers have been coming when the tide is moving and also during solunar feeding periods. Limits of decent keepers have been common in thigh to waist-deep water when we have a solunar feed during morning hours. I expect that like the redfish, the trout will move shallower and feed for longer periods when the water cools later in the month. Hopefully we will begin to see better topwater action when that occurs. For now, though, it has been more of a KWigglers soft plastic bite with limited topwater interest from the better trout.

This has been a great year for snook ever since late-spring and continuing into early fall. Numbers have been almost unbelievable with many personal-best fish for my anglers. November’s cool down will kick off the winter snook season in deeper water and if it's anything like last year many anglers are going to be smiling. The tactics will change as a slower soft plastic presentation will be required. Slow-sinkers and diving crankbaits will also work well in deep water.

Flounder have made a great recovery and November promises to produce lots of flatfish along the edges of major channels as the spawning run hits its peak.

It will soon be time to don your waders, usually a week or so before Thanksgiving. If you already own a pair, it's time to test for leaks or tears. If you think it might be time to upgrade with a new pair, I suggest asking for an early Christmas present. The Simms G3 and G4 are the best waders available, bar none. If you are a duck hunter or hard on your equipment, the G4s are the way to go. Fishing Tackle Unlimited has three fully-stocked locations in the Houston area for all your Simms needs.

Capt. Wayne Davis and I will be presenting a seminar on Saturday, December 14, at FTU’s Katy store. Our topic will be Trophy Fishing Tactics with a Conservation Minded Approach. Mark your calendar and plan to join us. I expect it will be entertaining and enlightening for all.