The Northshore's Premier Outfitter

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Geaux Time

Coastal Fishing Concepts 
With Capt. Charlie Thomason 
Fall is finally here, and with the passing of our first true cold front at the beginning of the month, the fall migration of all species of fish, bait, and other creatures is in full swing! November is always one of my favorite months that I look forward to every year because with the seasons changing this month, temperatures can fluctuate drastically. Still, nature will keep everything in tune for fishing. I am sure many of you have already been catching speckled trout, redfish, black drum, and founder during October. Still, this month, things are gonna cool off, and the fish are going to begin the true movement from coastal waters to the interior marshes of the Northern Gulf.
Artificial baits will become more prevalent among inshore anglers due to us fishing under birds when the shrimp make their movement from inshore to offshore. This month is when the old "double rig" comes back, and anglers can daily catch two speckled trout at a time, each cast, until the ice chest is full of the silver wonders that we all so cherish and love. With the threat of changing size and creel limits, please keep up each day with the limits and when you need to impose those on your fishing regiment. Another great artificial bait I love to throw this time of year is one of MirrOlure's classic series bait, the 52MR!!! This bait is proven year after year to be one of the most productive not only on catching fish but the larger fish that you are targeting. From my experience, this bait can be used year-round, but during November and December (our Fall Season), this bait will produce the larger fish in the schools of speckled trout and redfish you are targeting. There is an abundance of colors to suit any water clarity, weather, or condition that you are confronted with during your trip. This bait can be used in somewhat shallow water, deep water, across flats, or oyster beds with crazy good results. These baits have a sink rate of one food per second, so if you are fishing ledges or deep holes, just counting off your depth will ensure that you are working the bait at the ideal depth for the fish you are attempting to target.
Proper presentation is key while using this bait; due to the placement of the eye on the bait, it will be retrieved with a steady slow to medium retrieval rate and will slightly tilt the nose down with a built-in flash and 3-D fiery red eyes, which we all know is irresistible to all game fish we target. My favorite technique is to retrieve steady with a quick pause, then twitch; after the twitch, allow the bait to fall about one second, then begin retrieving once again. This somewhat erratic movement of the bait causes an instinctive follow, and then the pause and drop of the bait ensures an aggressive strike from the fish. These baits have been in production for years and have caught many inshore anglers' personal bests. You can purchase these baits online at academy.comor from one of your local tackle stores. My personal favorite colors for these baits are the 808, 11, 18, and CH; these color patterns will allow me to fish in any conditions or water clarity that I might encounter during the fall and winter months.
There is one exception to the rule of the 52MR: if you are a Wade angler or someone who loves to fish waters from one foot to three feet, then you must choose the 51MR. The reason is that the 52MR has the eye where you attach your line on the upper head of the bait, causing the downward tilt of the nose of the bait, keeping it at the deeper depths you will be fishing, but for anglers that target fish on flats or wade fish the 52MR will run too deep, so MirrOlure developed the 51MR where the eye of the bait is on the nose of the lure keeping the bait shallow as you retrieve your line. Redfish love this bait in shallow waters, and if you are an angler who loves to fish shallow for big trout, the 51MR should be a staple in your arsenal.On a last note, you need to make sure and tie a loop knot when tying the bait on; this allows the bait to run true and freely as you twitch and pause the bait. I recommend using a 12-15 pound fluorocarbon leader when using the bait; never tie the braid straight to the lure; the three treble hooks will ruin your day!! If you're unsure how to tie this knot, please go to my YouTube channel (@captcharliethomason), and I have multiple videos on the proper way to tie this knot.For you live bait anglers, the popping cork method is the bread and butter of our coastal techniques and will still be your top-producing method until water temperatures stabilize to the lower 50s. I will transition from a normal Kahle hook to either a 1/8th or 1/4 ounce jighead under a Versamaxx Bolt popping cork. I will thread the shrimp onto the hook with the hook being exposed out of the shrimp. (video also on my YouTube channel) I normally look for signs that the fish are present this month, like slicks, birds, or bait present in high numbers. These signs will be the way to keep up with the schools of fish due to them migrating in earnest to the inner marshes; as the tides flow inward and out, gamefish will follow right behind them, always in the hunt for their next meal.
Lastly, if you are an angler who loves to chase redfish in the marshes, this is truly your time to shine. The waters of the interior marshes will clear up, and the redfish will take on that infamous orange color that we love to see. Sight fishing during the calm, high-pressure days after a cold front is ideal, and you know as well as me they can't resist a 1/2 ounce gold spoon or any inline spinner bait traveling past a drain or point! This year, we have had a bumper crop of 14-18 redfish that flooded our marshes of eastern Louisiana, so remember the legal size is 16" to 27", so measure each one with a pinched tail and closed mouth to get the proper legal measurement.
Enjoy November catching; hope that you catch lots of fish on that 52MR, and most of all, enjoy your family during the Thanksgiving Holiday. Heck, maybe, just maybe, you could squeeze in one of those "Black Friday" trips; it's always a great day on the water!
See ya on the water, Capt. Charlie Thomason