by Capt Craig Lambert
November is here and I love it. This is by far my favorite time of the year because of the great opportunities that this month will offer to the coastal angler. First and foremost on my mind is the flounder run. Big giant doormats are out there and they are feeling that urge to start heading out to the gulf on their annual migration. You can bet I will be there to intercept them! The speckled trout and redfish are also fattening up for winter and they are in that feeding mode so it is on like "donkey kong" for them too. Basically November is like X-mas for both the hardcore and amateur angler.He'll reel it in, he'll eat it but he won't touch it!
Hardcore flounder anglers, including myself, will be set up all along the Galveston ship channel and surrounding areas. The flounder run usually isn't too popular with the speckled trout enthusiast which is fine with me. While they are wading the marsh outlets with topwaters for big trout I will be working the ship channel for large flounder. Fighting big 5 and 6 pound flounder is a thrill that I can't get enough of and I will happily catch them all day long. This is a style of fishing made for the bass angler because of the technique and tackle. Med to Heavy action rods work best for a strong hook set and a little shorter than 7 ft so you can do a lot of flipping in to wall corners and vertical jigging. This type of technique will land you not only numbers but large flounder if you time it right. Typically Thanksgiving week is the peak of the run for the females and the smaller males have already begun their migration.Coming soon to a flounder hole near you!
My feelings on flounder rigs and baits are simple. Gulp, Gulp and more Gulp! I will typically use a 3/8 oz jighead and a white 3 or 5 inch Berkeley Gulp Shrimp. But all types of plastics will work. I do suggest some type of scent added by spray or roll on if not using a scented bait like Gulp. No live bait is needed unless you want to throw a tandem rig. If someone is having a hard time getting a good hook set then I will put a tandem rig on for them which will consist of a 12-18 inch piece of 30 lb monofilament with a #6 or #8 treble hook and a live shrimp. This works like a charm and will allow that angler that is missing a lot to finally catch a few. Perfect size griller!
The specks are moving shallow and the wadefishing is about to really pick up. Like everything else weather will dictate this transformation to shallower waters. As December approaches colder water temperatures force those fish to go shallow looking for warmer waters. As they move up on to the shallow flats the anglers will follow. Stalking their pray through mud and stepping over oyster and clam shells like a ninja with the utmost stealth is how you have to sneak up on those big trout. Targeting marsh drains during afternoon outgoing tides is best for catching some really nice specks. The key is to find active or nervous bait. Slicks are an obvious dead giveaway but being able to spot nervous bait being harassed from specks is key. Being able to read the small signs of fleeing bait on the surface will put more fish in the boat than any other skill you have learned as a coastal angler. Jack is still hanging around!
The birds have been working often at low light conditions and during hard outgoing tides with regularity. November is again the best month for finding and catching fish under the birds. Bird activity can be found all over the bay system and in my opinion the afternoon outgoing tides are usually best. Trinity Bay, East Bay and West Bay will all have areas of good bird activity in the coming weeks. Our next major cold front that really drops water temperatures and water levels will really kick things in to gear and it will produce the bird activity to peak for several days after the front. This will kick off a few weeks of the most outstanding fishing of the year. So are the big Uglies!
Remember to TAKE A KID FISHING!!!!