Galveston Bay Fishing in November

November 1st, 2016

bigfloundahBy Capt. Joe Kent

If you took a survey of boaters in the Seabrook area and asked which month they found to be the most enjoyable on the water, the answer most likely would be either October or November.  While both months are enjoyable to be on the water, November likely would get the edge.

Barring cold fronts, the weather is normally very stable and temperatures a far cry from the summer and early fall heat.

While conditions are pleasant to be on the water, anglers enjoy both the climate and the fishing, as fishing often is at its best during November.

Flounder are usually on the move and just about any fishing spot around the Seabrook, Clear Lake area is a good candidate to find flat fish.  All along the Clear Creek Channel and its offshoots, like the marinas and boat basins, flounder will be found close to the pilings and bulkheads.

This same scenario holds true for areas surrounding the mouth of the channel where it empties into Galveston Bay.  Shorelines on both sides of the mouth produce some nice flat fish during early November, as flounder are leaving the back bays and lakes to make their winter home in the Gulf of Mexico.

While flounder gigging is a popular method for taking the flatfish, during November it is outlawed and the daily bag limit for pole and line anglers is reduced from five to two.

While anglers are limited to two fish per day, the size is larger on average than at other times of the year.

While flounder get the attention of numerous anglers, speckled trout and reds are the focus of the majority.

The same areas around Clear Lake that are noted for flounder also are good for red fish.  One area that seems to turn on in the fall, especially in November, is the cut from Clear Lake into Lake Pasadena or Mud Lake as it once was called.

While the best odds for speckled trout are going to be in Galveston Bay, reds also will be found schooling near them, especially in active feeding areas.

The Seabrook Flats and other locations all the way to Sylvan Beach are known as trout territory in the fall and winter.

Anglers fishing Sylvan Beach say that November is the best month to find specks schooling in that area.

East of Kemah, along the shores of Galveston Bay, trout will be found feeding all throughout the late fall and winter.

During the time when the HL&P Power Plant was in operation at Bacliff, trout and reds would be caught in good numbers outside of the plant’s spillway.

As November progresses, many anglers opt to make the trip across the bay from the Kemah-Seabrook area to fish Trinity Bay.  Thanksgiving is one of the best times to fish that area and the ride over there is not that long.

Among popular choices for Trinity Bay are the numerous gas well shell pads that exist throughout the bay, the shell reefs near Beach City and the north shoreline close to the mouth of the Trinity River.

While November is one of the most active months for many people, hopefully you can find time to enjoy some of the excellent fishing and crabbing that are prevalent in the Galveston Bay Complex.

Are you ready for prime fishing time on the water?

October 1st, 2016

Photo: Kelly Groce

Photo: Kelly Groce

By Capt. Joe Kent

October is likely the most popular month for outdoor activity whether camping, hiking, fishing or hunting.  For coastal anglers it is a time when lots of action begins to take place on the fishing scene and conditions are inviting for the whole family to get out and enjoy the water.

Cooler weather, which also translates into cooler water, ignites fishing, especially with the big three, flounder, reds and trout.

September, as we often mention, tends to be a transition month when trout and other fish migrate from their summertime refuges in deeper waters back into the shallower waters.  Depending upon how soon the temperature drops, we normally see fish entering into their fall fishing patterns by early to mid-October.

What are those patterns?  Well, any seasoned fisherman or fishing guide will tell you that bird action in the upper and back bays will get underway and anglers with boats will have an easy time locating schools of trout thanks to diving gulls and pelicans pointing out the fish.

Wade fishing and kayaking during October takes preference over fishing from a boat, especially in the back bays and other shallow water spots.  All of the big 3 can be found in the shallower waters and wade fishermen along with kayakers definitely having an advantage over the high powered bay boats for catching fish.

The cooler temperatures and shorter days send signals to fish that winter is on its way and it is time to put on extra layers of fat.

While most summertime fishing tends to take a mid-day break due to intense heat and direct sunlight, the fall action often is ongoing throughout the day, especially on cloud covered days.

Fall fishing is highlighted by the annual flounder migration or flounder run as it is called and that usually begins in mid-October.  During October anglers continue to be allowed their five fish limit and are permitted to take flatfish by gigging.  Beginning in November that all changes as a reduction in the bag limit from five to two per person per day takes place.  Also, flounder gigging is prohibited that month.

For anglers around the Seabrook/Kemah area, October begins the prime time for fishing Upper Galveston and Trinity Bays.  Again this year we saw a mass migration of fish out of those areas in the late spring due to another year of spring floods.  Conditions finally settled, the salinity levels returned to normal and now trout are returning.  Based on reports from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, we should be in for a banner season on trout and reds this fall.

Now is the time to get prepared for all of the action ahead.  For flounder fishermen, get your tackle and baits now before the panic sets in as the flounder run begins.  By late October many of the tackle shops will have limited inventories of flounder rigs and the more popular varieties of Berkely Gulps.  Other popular baits such as Chicken Boys and Flounder Pounders tend to be picked over as well.

Live bait such as shrimp, mud minnows and fingerling mullet should be widely available.

For anglers targeting other species of fish now is the time to make certain you have the right equipment including popping corks and that your equipment is in good working order.

Have fun with the family this fall and go out there and catch some nice fish and crabs!

Take advantage of September to prepare for Fall fishing

September 1st, 2015

David Luna battles a big red at the jetties.

David Luna battles a big red at the jetties.

By Capt. Joe Kent

For inshore anglers, September is a transition month for fishing.  With the noticeably shorter days and a time when that first cool front crosses the upper Texas Coast, fish begin changing their patterns.

The shorter days probably are the big signal, as lately the water has not been cooling significantly during September.  Regardless of what triggers the movement, trout begin to migrate out of their deeper summertime havens and start heading to shallower waters.

The first cool front will be a key to getting things in motion, especially for trout.  Flounder begin waking up when the days are shorter, as that alerts them that winter is not far away and that they better start thinking about the big migration.

While the peak of the flounder run or migration to Gulf waters is not until November, the flatfish become more active.  Reds on the other hand start preparing for their fall spawn capped by the big “bull red run” in the surf.

Don’t be surprised when you find more flounder on your stringers in September.

Don’t be surprised when you find more flounder on your stringers in September.

This year, expect Trinity Bay and Upper Galveston Bay to be in great shape following the spring floods that flushed all of the salinity out of those areas.  The hot, dry summer did wonders to replacing the salinity level and, with all of the nutrients left behind from the floods, fishing should be great.

While inshore fishing still is good during September, it is the period from mid-October until early December when fall fishing tends to be red hot.

Considering that pattern, September is a good month to prepare for fall fishing by servicing the equipment you have been using all summer and that includes your boat.

Restringing your reels is a must if you have been fishing in saltwater and especially if they have been exposed to a lot of sunlight.  Changing the size of the line is an issue you may be confronted with as well.
The decision on whether to restring with heavier or lighter weight line depends on the type of fishing you plan for the fall compared to how you fished during the spring and summer.

An example of this involves those who fish the jetties and other areas during the summer where rocks and debris are present which usually require a heavier line than wade fishermen would use.  Your individual circumstances will dictate the answer to that question.

Brannon Vickers with a slot redfish.

Brannon Vickers with a slot redfish.

You should clean and oil your reels, perhaps not as thoroughly as after the season; however, a lot of salt tends to work its way into the inner workings of your reel during heavy use in the summer.

If you used your outboard engine a lot during the summer, say close to 100 hours, an oil change for the lower unit should be considered and lubrication of the moving parts covered by the cowling is recommended.  One benefit to changing the oil is to check for water which indicates a leak.  Lots of repair costs can be saved by early discovery of water in your oil.

If you perform the service, look for water running out upon removal of the drain plug and also milky colored oil.  Both are signs of seal leaks and hopefully the discovery is made before internal parts are damaged.

Check your inventory of tackle, as some items become scarce during the flounder run, especially popular flounder lures and riggings.

Once you are satisfied that you are ready for the fall action, then you can start thinking about planning your first fall trip.  This fall should be a good one for the Big 3.

Bay Area Houston Magazine