COASTAL FORECAST: Matagorda

COASTAL FOCUS: Upper Mid Coast
October 25, 2017
COASTAL FORECAST: Galveston
October 25, 2017

Marauding Speckled Trout and Redfish

I was kyak fishing along a shoreline, but wasn’t getting any action. Then I saw splashing in a cove about a hundred yards away, so I headed over there. A school of redfish were bashing their way over oysters in three or four inches of water, chasing grass shrimp.

I paddled to where I thought they were going, quietly lowered my anchor and readied my fly rod with a little pink Clouser fly, and then waited. I was about fifty feet from the shoreline and the redfish came along, herding grass shrimp, and I cast the fly so that it would swim in front of them. The little pink Clouser fly wasn’t swimming for more than two seconds when it was eaten by a nineteen-inch redfish that put up a rod-bending fight, was landed, and then released. Then the redfish school turned around and came back giving me another cast in front of them. This time an eighteen-inch red quickly took the fly.

Fishermen drift fishing under the birds in the Diversion Channel.

In November several factors come together to cause fish to feed actively—there is a lot to eat; white shrimp are making their way through the bay system and going offshore to spawn; grass shrimp in shallow water are abundant; and blue crabs and bait fish are prolific. Fish are also stimulated to feed by signs of winter, the shorter days and cooling water.

On November 20 last year my wife and I were marveling at more than 1,000 sandhill cranes flying over Oyster Lake. All were calling at the same time and making a tremendous racket. The evening was crisp with temperatures falling from 67°F to 50°F in just two hours.

As the setting sun touched the water, I noticed gulls and terns hitting the surface and slicks popping up, so I positioned my kayak within casting range and let loose with a Plum/Chartreuse colored Texas Tackle Factory Killer Flats Minnow. As soon as the lure dropped under water and I wiggled it a bit, it was gently bumped. I set the hook and a large trout came out of the water shaking its head back and forth trying to rid itself of my hook It was successful.

I changed tactics by loosening the drag. If a fish tried to throw my hook, I would still have a tight line, but not so tight that the hook would pull out. I also let the fish play with it a while before setting the hook.

The bites were so light because a norther had come in, causing the water temperature to drop from 68°F to 60°F. As darkness set in, I enjoyed every cast being a hook up and caught about twenty trout to get my limit of five respectable keepers.

The wind often comes from the northeast in November, and on many days it blows hard—more than 15 mph, making it tough to take your boat in the bay.

However, the Colorado River and the Diversion Channel are sheltered enough that you can enjoy drift fishing on these strong-wind days. In middle November last year we were drifting through birds diving on shrimp at a turn in the river, just north of the intersection of the Colorado River and the Intracoastal Waterway.

Speckled trout were forcing those shrimp to the surface and when we mixed our Bass Assassin soft plastic lures in with the shrimp, they were hit. In colder months, when the river is fairly clear and there hasn’t been a lot of rain, or LCRA has not sent fresh water down river, trout can be caught all the way up to FM 521.

Coming out of Braggs Cut and going south or left you are in the Diversion Channel, which is deep enough (8 to 15 feet) to hold fish when the water is cold. Birds often work shrimp in this area also.

On a light northeast wind you have the option of drifting either East or West Matagorda Bay, or Turtle Bay, just west of Palacios. My experience has been that large trout are more likely found in East Matagorda Bay than the other locations.

Even on a 15 to 20 mph northeast wind, you can enjoy a good day of fishing in November. If you happen to be on the water on a light wind day and the tide is moving, your chances of an exceptionally good day are very high in this month of cooling weather and water.

 

Trout from Piers at River Parks: There are two parks on rivers in Matagorda County, FM 521 Park and Carl Park. Given the right conditions of mostly clean salt water and cool winter water, both can be good places for catching speckled trout. FM 521 Park is located where 521 crosses the river. It has a pier, porta-can rest rooms and is wheel chair accessible. Carl Park is close to the intersection of FM 2853 and FM 521. A long boardwalk along the river is for fishing, and it has a launch ramp. The park has picnic tables, but no rest rooms.

Email Mike Price at

[email protected]

THE BANK BITE

Trout from Piers at River Parks: There are two parks on rivers in Matagorda County, FM 521 Park and Carl Park. Given the right conditions of mostly clean salt water and cool winter water, both can be good places for catching speckled trout. FM 521 Park is located where 521 crosses the river. It has a pier, porta-can rest rooms and is wheel chair accessible. Carl Park is close to the intersection of FM 2853 and FM 521. A long boardwalk along the river is for fishing, and it has a launch ramp. The park has picnic tables, but no rest rooms.

 

Email Mike Price at [email protected]

Return to CONTENTS Page

Comments are closed.