By far the months of October and November are my favorite of the year for fishing on the Mid Coast of Texas.
Change is the theme during these magical days on the water. We get cold fronts knocking on the door as the heat of the Summer seems long gone and we usher in a Fall feel to the air that makes me think of times gone by and times to come. Memories of cool fronts plowing through on a Thursday night ahead of a Friday fishing trip. The times of blasting off South of Corpus on a Friday at day break heading for the Land Cut facing strong Southeast winds only to return on Sunday struggling to point her into a stiff North wind. Yes this is the time of the year when change is the norm and we welcome it with open arms.
The reality is to fish when you can fish! Luck may have it that timing on these weather changes will occur when you can be on the water to take advantage of them and by that I mean a pre-frontal bite can be fabulous. A good friend and mentor of mine, Michael Curlee often calls me the day before a frontal passage and wants to know if I’m wade fishing in the fog! The warm humid air builds up just before a norther at times and the fish can be on fire! If you miss this short time window don’t be discouraged from donning the gear and getting out here.
A few years ago when I was a new guide in a lineup of veterans I mentioned to the lodge owner that I didn’t think the bite would be on at all and we might just be spinning our wheels out there. He gave me some advise that I have lived by from that point on which was…PROVE THEM WRONG! At first I didn’t know exactly what he meant but then it dawned on me that I was talking myself out of fishing on my game plan and giving it a good try. I was letting the forecast and the naysayers dictate my day on the water. I put my head down that day, blocked out the negative thoughts and information and made a decent day out of it.
It is hard to go wrong in October and November because this is the time of year when the shrimp are plentiful, the fish are eating and the weather is cooperating. If you are a live or dead bait angler there should be plenty of availability at the bait stand to fill your wells. Prefer tricking the fish this time of year when you get on the water? Go with what you know and be open to new tackle and techniques you learn along the way. Some of my most memorable days on the water during this period of full moons and harvest time are wade fishing in waist deep water catching fish on every cast. I may have been having speckled trout bite my lure two, three, four times before hooking the fifth and wondering if there were really that many trout following my soft plastic. This is a time you will remember and think about for years to come. Fish are hungry in the Fall and it’s hard to go wrong on what you present for their appetites. Focus on movement patterns of the different baits in your lure selection, think about what is happening with the water temperature, we are often decreasing in degrees on a Fall morning into the low 70s and with the rising sun may reach 75 degrees. These fish are fired up like you are at a Friday night football game! Expect the bite to be immediate and vigorous and the fish to have increased stamina. It’s about oxygen in these cooled waters the fish have not experienced for months in some cases. The same is true for you as you enjoy the cooled air and water temps.
Don’t forget the ducks! Hunters will be in some of your best honey holes at the beginning of November so be sure and pay attention to these guys and give them room. Usually the hunt is done by 9 or 10am and they are picking up decoys and getting back to the casa by then so I strongly urge you to be considerate and move on to another location to start that wade in the time when the sun is just about to come over the horizon-shooting time is one half hour before sunrise. Look for boats parked in non traditional spots and think about where you would want to be on a hunt, did you hear someone say something to you? It could be a hunter hollering that you are too close! It’s much easier to move a wader than a hunter because of the flocks of decoys set out hours before you may have even heard your fishing alarm go off.
The great outdoors is there for all to enjoy and cherish and we are so blessed that we have the Mid Coast of Texas to fish and hunt and bird and enjoy. This of all years is a blessing because we have endured many obstacles with the weather not to mention the political and other environmental factors and interests. I want to be of age somewhere in my mid 80s like my dad is right now and take my kids and their kids fishing and hunting in this wonderful, resilient, natural resource we call the Middle Coast and pass on this feeling and experience to them. Their future depends on our actions and care for the resource right now and while I believe we are doing the best we can with it I wonder what we could do better.
Maybe that’s our challenge over the next 10 to 20 years, how can we help make this gem of the Texas Coast better, more natural, more fruitful and more beautiful while enjoying it’s bounty and taking our fair share of fish, fowl and other game deemed appropriate and responsible by the state and federal guardians elected to do so by the people.