Although it was a bit warm for the Southeast Texas duck season opener on Saturday, Nov. 3, most hunters that had access to fresh water did very well with lots of limits that included teal, gadwall, pintails and widgeon.
Beaumont’s Kirby Richards reports that his group had an easy hunt Saturday morning at the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge.
“We got quick limits of teal early, but if we had waited another hour we would have had plenty of shots at bigger ducks like gadwall and widgeon,” said Richards, who has hunted McFaddin for years. “It was an excellent opener. My son said he had never seen so many ducks this early in the season.”
Ditto that for hunters at the J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area in Port Arthur. Hunters there had some pretty fast action on teal and gray ducks early. Hunters in that area, on both private and public land, report seeing good numbers of teal, gray ducks and quite a few widgeon.
A few mottled (black) ducks were seen on opening day. The season on mottled ducks opens on Thursday, Nov. 8.
Hunters west of Beaumont did well on flooded rice and plowed fields. Hunters there got easy limits of teal early. That’s pretty much the same story around Winnie. The key is having fresh water. If you’ve got access to a freshwater marsh or flooded rice, chances are very good that you’ve got birds. Richards says the area they hunted at McFaddin had just barely enough water to float a boat. One thing is certain — we need rain and like right now to keep ducks in Southeast Texas.
On the middle coast, duck hunters had fast shoots for redheads and a fair number of pintails and widgeon. Some of the best hunts were on bay flats out of Port O’Connor. Guide Dwayne Lowrey reports that he put his hunters on easy limits of teal, gadwall, widgeon and pintails while hunting a flooded field near Port Lavaca.
The front we got in last week, along with the full moon, moved lots of birds into Southeast Texas. But without a lot more rain, those birds will likely move south.
Slow deer hunts in the Piney Woods
On the deer hunting scene, it was kind of slow during Saturday’s opener. It was warm and the mosquitoes were very active. Plus, the number of acorns falling are keeping deer from coming to feeders. Hunters in the Piney Woods up around Jasper didn’t see too many deer around feeders. The best thing to do right now is to set up along game trails and along pipeline crossings.
A few bucks have been seen running does. This week and on up to Thanksgiving, the rut in East Texas should be going strong. Right now is the right time to be on stand as much as possible. Rutting activity should really pick up with our next good cold front.
Sabine Lake flounder are on the move
Anglers on Sabine Lake are catching good numbers of trout and reds under the birds. They are also catching big time numbers of flounder on the lake, in the pass and in the bayous. Keep in mind that from Nov. 1-30, the daily bag limit on flounder is two. And they can only be taken with pole and line.
Some of the best catches of flounder are at the mouths of bayous on falling tides. The Louisiana shoreline has been very good. Most of the flounder are being caught on jigs tipped with small pieces of pealed shrimp. One of the better jigs has been a 3-1/2 inch Wedgetail in black with a chartreuse tail.
Fishing under the birds is good but best in the afternoon hours like about three hours prior to sunset. Lots of reds are under the birds, along with improving numbers of trout in the 18 to 20 inch class. Rat tailed plastics rigged on 1/4-ounce jig heads are taking the heavier trout and reds. The key is to get down on bottom away from the smaller trout on the surface.
Robert Sloan can be reached by e-mail at sloan288 [at] aol [dot] com.