by Capt. Greg Stamper
November has begun and this month gives some of the best fishing available. With the cooling of the waters to our North, fishing in Southwest Florida will be great. Cold fronts will be the only concern during November as that’s about the only thing that can slow a bite down for a few days. Typically, as cold fronts push through we will watch the water temperatures. A drop in water temperature can stunt the fishing for a few days at a time.
With a little luck, we won’t see many cold fronts and day time temperatures will be in the low 80’s with mornings in the mid 60’s. These perfect conditions are conducive to good fishing both in the backcountry and along our nearshore wrecks and reefs. Redfish, snook, and trout will be the major back bay targets, as well as tarpon, cobia, kingfish and tripletail in our near shore waters.
So now that we know what we’re dealing with let’s talk about how to use that knowledge to our advantage. On the days when the wind is low and preferably East, patrolling the crab buoys and markers is a great option especially for sight casters. Tripletail are a popular species for anglers of all skill levels, and are in good numbers throughout the area. This run and gun type of fishing also tends to find you coming across other pelagic species often.
Bonita can be found quiet often and can be seen from miles away at times crashing schools of threadfins. Cobia are making their migration South following the same bait as the tarpon, so if you’re paying attention you’ll have shots at both. You’ll also see free jumping kingfish this time of the year. If you have a plug already rigged up and ready to go a quick troll around those areas will probably get you one.
Now on days with wind I’ll be fishing the back bays, rivers, and creeks. The redfishing will be good and you can target them many ways. Cut baits, shrimp, skipping baitfish under bushes, or artificial lures are all very popular depending on your anglers’ skill level. We’ll begin seeing more blackdrum, mackerel, and sheepshead as the water temperatures push closer to the low 70’s. This usually starts toward the end of the month, however its Mother nature driven so you never know.
Snook if they haven’t already moved into the winter haunts, they will now. Targeting the creeks and rivers is a good start when looking for the line sider. Bait shouldn’t be a problem and if we don’t get to cold to fast it should be here.
Our passes and nearshore areas will give those looking for action plenty to do. Targeting these areas when the wind isn’t coming from the West is a good bet. As the sand in these passes gets moved around bait becomes plentiful for lots of fish. I prefer throwing jigs tipped with a piece of shrimp. This technique will work for an array of species from pompano all the way to ladyfish. When fishing passes a rarely anchor down. Simply setting up long drifts through different depths of water will give you the best idea of what depth fish are in. Often starting near the sand bars is best. Tides move in and out also produce different bites so experimenting a little often helps.
Capt. Greg Stamper