There is nothing like the chill of red ear lobes as you motor down the ICW to East Matagorda Bay. The oranges, blues, yellows and lavenders of a calm autumn sunrise is what makes November in Matagorda so special.
I rarely see sunrises on the bay in November, rather, my sunrises occur on a duck pond or in a goose spread, but my sunsets will be in East or West Matagorda bays. I get stretched pretty thin hunting and fishing from daylight to dark, but the long days are rewarded with the best month of combined casting and shotgunning.
Afternoons on the bay are just as profitable as a morning affair, and with less boat traffic. Deep shell holds the ticket for big ole' specks, and the most beautiful bronze redfish usually mix with trout.
I like throwing topwaters around diving or sitting gulls - seems to warrant a bigger fish. Slicks point the way as well.
About four falls ago, large sand trout, the kind that strips drag, began showing in East Matagorda. Of course, we all know sand trout don't eat topwaters, but they do readily scarf Bass Assassins. Big sandies are bonus fish; and, despite the negative wrap they get for mushiness, I like to add a little lemon juice before they hit the freezer.
Chicken on a Chain, glow-chartreuse and new colors like natural glow and orange glow represent the white shrimp migrating through the bay.
Schooling redfish dominate in West Bay. I like to Power Pole on the north shoreline and wait for a school of reds cruising the grass line. Every rod waits for my command and we cast 10 feet in front of the "V" and the rodeo begins.
Back bays like Oyster Lake and Crab Lake hold lots of redfish and a few trout under working birds. Shell Island and Twin Island are great spots as well. On the incoming tide the fish will be right on the shell, but a falling tide puts them in the mud and shell where drifters toss soft plastics and live shrimp.
Though November, flounder regulations are reduced to 2 fish per person, there are some big flatfish to be caught on the edge of the ICW while wading. Bass Assassins tossed along the Chinquapin Reefs and worked gingerly along the mud usually takes the odd flounder while filling a stringer of specks and reds. Spots like Boggy Cut and the reefs around Bird Island are solid spots for their proximity to migration routes of shrimp.
Our blast and cast trips should see plenty of action. Habitat on the prairies improved with late summer rains and the duck flight looks to be a good one. We are anxious to see how the lack of rice on the prairies will affect feeding patterns of snow geese and specklebellies. Marsh hunters should see a better year since rains sweetened brackish ponds and sparked new growth of widgeon grass. On the bays, redheads, pintails, widgeons and scaup will continue to be the mainstays.
Pray for rain to the north on the Highland lakes of Buchanan and Travis. Lake levels determine whether LCRA gives water to rice farmers in the spring. Farmers, waterfowl hunters and surrounding communities and businesses can't afford another year without rice.
Enjoy the wonders of nature and when you gather around your Thanksgiving table praise the Almighty for all that He has given us.