The View: November 2014

The View: November 2014
Is there a better month than November for all things outdoors?

Speckled trout, redfish, flounder, pintails, teal, gadwalls, wigeons, snow geese, specklebellies, whitetails... daylight to dark.

Daytime highs and nighttime lows are perfect, sunrises and sunsets are brilliant, and rods and guns are tested.

With nippy air blowing from the north, water temperatures plunge, tides recede and marshes dump shrimp, shad and crabs. Fish sense this and readily wait for the buffet to be set.

It's a tough choice for me–East or West Matagorda Bay–it all depends if you want to concentrate on trout, redfish or both.

Obviously, the mouths of bayous and marshes on a falling tide are fall hotspots. Places like Oyster Lake and Crab Lake are good choices, while back lakes like Lake Austin and Boggy are also players. Live shrimp under a popping cork, plum Bass Assassins, Gulps or small topwaters worked across points are choice offerings.

Don't be surprised if birds work in the back lakes, especially on a strong falling tide. Stay back from the pack and gingerly work the covey so not to spook the fish. I can recount past autumns where one flock of birds filled a limit of both trout and reds; and, if mild weather persists, expect November patterns to continue well into December.

Waders should work the same terrains, but more methodically. In East Matagorda Bay, Boiler Bayou, Kain Cove, Hog Island, Catch-All Basin and Brown Cedar Flats hold solid trout since all of these spots have varying degrees of mud bottom. Super Spooks, She Pups, Skitter Walks, Catch 5s and your favorite soft plastic gets the job done.

If you prefer staying in the boat and anchoring with live bait, the fall offers excellent redfish and black drum action. Shell Island, Twin Island and any other piece of shell holds fish with live shrimp under a popping cork.

Watch for oyster boats dredging shell and remember that spot for another day. Harvested reefs are especially good the next day when things have settled out after being overturned by the dredging.

There is always the bull redfish run if you prefer to tangle with a brute. Large reds are caught at the jetty and beachfront on cracked crabs and mullet. The beauty of the Matagorda jetty and beach is you can drive right up to the water and fish–no boat required.

Sight-casting to redfish along a muddy grass-line is always fun, too. Watch for ripples, wakes and jumping shrimp near the grass and wait for the freight train to pass. Then toss a spoon, shrimp or soft plastic in front of the school and loosen your drag. Listen for crunching jaws when a large school of reds work through the grass. Small crabs do not have a chance.

It's one of the coolest things in the wild to see 25- to 50 garnet backs and turquoise tails waving on the surface. Throw the bait ahead of the pile and wait for the mob to find it. It's a rodeo with three bent rods and drags crying for mercy.

This is why I love November.