November fishing is hard to beat
While too much wind can put an end to a great bite over night, the first weekend of November was a good one for local anglers fishing Sabine Lake.Gale force north winds on Thursday pushed a world of bait filled water out of the marshes and bayous before dropping to more manageable gusts the following day.
By the time Saturday morning arrived the wind had all but died and we were greeted with a little ice on the boat, but otherwise perfect conditions.The sun thawed things out quickly, the wind was never a factor and the fish were eagerly awaiting Mother Nature’s buffet.
Lutcher Theater Director, Jim Clark, and Messiah Rock producer, Ken Gentry, survived the initial bone chilling boat ride and we caught fish all morning long.Had Jim not had to make a quick trip to Natchitoches to pick up his son that afternoon, we would never have quit as early as we did.
The bite just kept getting better and better until we had used up every available second around noon. We begrudgingly cranked in our lures and turned our backs on a great bunch of fish.We quit in the middle of a final stop that produced five trout in the 3 to 4 pound class on almost as many casts!
We will get back to what worked for us, but I want to take a minute to perhaps help at least a few folks avoid spending extra money with the Parks and Wildlife Department. The first involves flounder and it is obvious that there are still fishermen unaware of the fact that the limit is two fish per person during the month of November.
The limit for every other month is five.That topic came up last week while talking with three fishermen on the water that already had six in the box when they boated a seventh fish.They asked another angler in a boat nearby if the limit was five or ten and he shouted back that it had been lowered to five.
When I eased over on the troll motor before leaving and told them that it was two in November, they thanked me for the information, but I can only assume that they released that last flounder.I personally think lowering the limit to two fish for a month is not the solution to helping the flounder replenish their numbers, but that won’t be a part of the discussion should a warden find you with more than two in the box this month!
Once the water temperature drops into the 50’s and stays there, the stripers will start doing their thing on the river and it is a blast.Over the years I have watched overly exuberant anglers keep as many as they could catch and argue over everything from limits to whether or not they were stripers or hybrids.
It matters not.Regardless of whether they or stripers or hybrids you can only keep five in combination and they must be at least 18 inches in length.Most local anglers release these turbo charged game fish anyway as they are far better battlers than table fare.
Lots and lots of local anglers castnet their own live bait and the majority of their catch consists of shad and mullet.As it gets colder the catching gets more difficult and the only available mullet are the larger fish in excess of 12-inches rather than the more preferred finger mullet less than six-inches in length.
When that happens, and it invariably occurs during the height of the redfish run on the river, some anglers will settle for cutting up the larger mullet that are too big to fish as live bait.That is perfectly legal for mullet up to 12-inches, but you are not allowed to keep any mullet over 12-inches in length October through January.I don’t know if a warden would go to the trouble of putting together a bunch of one-inch pieces, but it isn’t worth the gamble!
On the plus side of the ledger, I am surprised at the number of fishermen that do not know that while the redfish limit is three 20 to 28-inch fish per person, you can keep an additional fish if it is over the 28-inch mark and tagged with a red drum tag or a bonus tag.That fish will not be counted toward your three fish limit.
I mention the above regulations only because they seem a little more pertinent this time of the year and I find myself having to occasionally break out the rule book for fish I don’t catch on a day to day basis.The one that appears to be a certainty is that the cost of licenses will continue to increase while limits decrease!
The bite under the birds should only get better over the next few weeks.Just how many days the wind allows us to take advantage of that easy bite remains to be seen, but November fishing can quickly end the sting of those bad summer trips.
The water clarity is better than usual for this time of the year so the color of the lure has not been as critical as the size.We have been fishing a lot of darker colors like morning glory and Texas Roach, but I have seen a plenty of fish caught on pearl and limetreuse tails as well.The better numbers for us are coming off shorter tails like the Sea Shad or Flats Minnow, but most of our larger fish have come on the longer Texas Shad or Trout Killer.
I really enjoy catching both trout and specks on topwaters, but I have been unable to put my MirrOdine XL on the bench lately.It not only catches fish when cranked over the shallow flats, but under the birds as well.My best two colors have been electric chicken and chrome-green back.
Don’t get crazy just because it’s easy right now.Remember how difficult it is most of the year and keep only enough fish to eat a time or two this week.It will not only help the fish population, but make it absolutely necessary for you to fish again next week as well!