H opefully, the main thanks we will be giving this November will be because the unusually heavy rains that plagued the Texas Coast have stopped.
Even affected inland areas through the winter, spring, and early will have at least returned to a more normal level. Yes, droughts are bad things to live through. However, having lived through several situations of real, no nonsense high water, to me flooding rains are worse.
Fresh water influx to the bays is not only beneficial, but necessary for a healthy marine ecosystem—but the salt water world, by definition, needs to be mostly salt water. Assuming that a more normal rainfall schedule has returned for the fall, we will be thankful for that and the chance for good to excellent inshore fishing on the upper Texas Coast.
Texas is a “Red” state, so is November still a “red” month. Our redfish are known as channel bass on the east coast, and are actually a large member of the croaker family. Examine a red’s mouth and it is obvious they originally come from the factory best equipped as a bottom feeder, majoring in crabs and other shellfish.
Personally, I’ve caught quite a few reds, most of them in the “bull” category of 20 pounds or heavier, and have yet to use a crab for bait. The mature, breeding age reds have mostly been caught on fish—live finger mullet or fresh cut bait from larger mullet.
I have seen reds caught on large shad and on squid, as well. Once I even caught one on a large chunk of bonito dangled from a small boat just past the breakers in hopes of enticing a shark. Smaller, “rat” reds will take dead shrimp as well as—or sometimes better than—live ones. They will also feed on just about any small baitfish, from mullet and shad to mud minnows.
When using lures, I’ve had the best luck with baitfish or shrimp imitations, mostly soft jig-tails or silver spoons. Despite the under-slung mouth, however, reds will hit mullet imitation plugs—even top waters.The explosion of a fair sized red on a top water plug can be very impressive.
At this time of year, reds may be found in the back bays and brackish bayous to open bay reefs, in passes and river mouths, and in the surf. Their abundance, varied diet, the way they pull on a tight line, and the fact that they are delicious on the table in a wide range of recipes are all reasons they are among the most sought after inshore sport fish on the Texas Coast.
The best thing about the Texas coast at this time of year is that even those targeting redfish will catch their share of speckled trout and flounders, with probably a few croakers and maybe some “Gulf trout”—and this without changing tackle, baits, techniques, or fishing spots in most cases.
Location: Everywhere, bayous, bays, surf and some distance offshore.
Species: Redfish, speckled trout, flounder, croaker. They are all good.
Bait: You can’t go wrong with natural baits, from shrimp and small crabs to shad, croakers, mud minnows and mullet. When choosing lures, select those that imitate these baits—whether top-waters or sub-surface lures. This is an excellent time of year for those who enjoy using a fly rod on bay flats.
Best Time: Daytime temperatures are pleasant, and the nights have not started getting cold, so either is comfortable. Best bet is to fish the times, concentrating on periods of current movement—whether in or out.
Email Mike Holmes at [email protected]