Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   


 sonja sommerfeld | tpwd


Taste of the Coast

November angling brings saltwater table fare.


Florida pompano are a favored table fare all along the Gulf Coast. Here in Texas, they can be locally abundant in the fall along beaches and pass areas. The average fish weighs between 1 to 3 pounds here, and there are no size or bag limits. Most “pomps” are found in sandy areas, where they pick off sand fleas and other critters near the bottom.

Anglers typically use rigs fished near the bottom with small hooks baited with shrimp, but will also use small spoons, jigs and mullet-looking artificial rigs. A common method along the beaches is to fish double-drop leaders with FishBites and peeled shrimp out over the second sandbar.

Long rods are a necessity to reach fertile pompano grounds. The most popular area to target pompano is in the surf — south of Corpus Christi from Packery Channel and on the beaches of Padre Island National Seashore. As the month gets colder, the better fishing is farther south toward South Padre Island. Don’t forget they’re great eating; prepare them “half-shell” on the grill or bake them whole in the oven. SS

 sonja sommerfeld | tpwd


South Texas' Coleto Creek is a largemouth bass angler’s favorite winter destination. Popular baits include spinnerbaits, rattletraps, crankbaits, jerkbaits and soft plastic baits. When fish are less active, try pitching with jigs or plastic worms in cover. Heavier rods and lines are necessary when fishing thick cover. As the winter temperatures drop, deep-water bass fishing will be better using crankbaits, Texas-rigged worms, Carolina-rigged plastics or jigging spoons.

The water at this reservoir is generally clear throughout the year, while the bigger creek channels are typically stained. Small coves and protected creek channels stay fairly clear.

Habitat includes rocky banks, flooded timber, shallow brushy flats and creek channels. Additionally, stands of native aquatic vegetation and hydrilla provide excellent habitat in most areas of the reservoir in some years. Artificial fish habitat structures were recently added to Coleto Creek. RB

 Clemente Guzman | TPWD


This small but overlooked East Texas reservoir is a fun largemouth bass fishery. Cover consists of flooded timber, brush piles and limited docks and boat houses. Cattails and other emergent aquatic species can be found in areas along the edge of the reservoir. Volunteers and TPWD staff have been supplementing cover and habitat with aquatic species such as pickerelweed and waterwillow. Artificial fish habitat structures can be found, too.

Crankbaits are fished on main-lake points; spinnerbaits are fished around the flooded timber. Popular soft plastic baits include worms, tubes, grubs and soft jerkbaits.

Crappie are also prevalent in Holbrook. Fish the standing timber in the upper end of the reservoir and in the vicinity of boat houses, brush piles and bamboo “crappie condos” with live minnows and crappie jigs. RB

 roy Heistermann

Upper Gulf coast, Southern flounder

Southern flounder, a great-tasting fish, are commonly found in the silt and clay bottoms of the upper Texas coast, especially in Galveston Bay and Sabine Lake. After the first cold front in the fall, they move through the channels and pass to the Gulf for spawning: the “flounder run.”

During November, you are allowed to catch flounder only using a rod and reel. When trying to hook a flounder, most anglers use mud minnows or small shrimp and mullet, the flounder’s favorite meal. Others have great success with soft plastics on jig heads, especially when scented like their prey. Use a heavy, braided line since this species has sharp teeth and will bite through thinner line. Remember to slowly bounce your bait or jig along the bottom, since flounder like to lie in wait and strike their prey.

Look for slow-moving currents in grass and mud/silt mix. Fishing is usually more productive during this time along the bayou mouths, marsh drains and shorelines as flounder move toward the pass to the Gulf. Around Galveston, fish along the rocks, ship channel and structures — flounder accumulate here before heading out to the Gulf. On the south end of Sabine Lake, fish the mouths of bayous where flounder feed and stage before leaving the bay.

The daily bag and possession limit in November and early December is two fish, 15-inch minimum. SS

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