It’s that time of year we start to combine summer and winter fishing together. As cool fronts begin to arrive our waters are cooling down, fish are transitioning from summer to winter patterns, yet we still have plenty of mild days.
November can be a great month for targeting redfish and snook if it doesn’t get too cold to quick. Redfish can tolerate a sudden drop in temperature, but snook not so much. Snook are on the move from their summer homes around the beaches and relocating throughout the inshore waters. If it remains relatively warm, they may be found feeding over inshore flats, oyster bars, shorelines, and sand holes. If it turns cold quick, they will seek shelter from the cold in protected areas like canals, rivers, and shorelines with deep water. Large schools of redfish that prowled the inshore waters over the last few months well move offshore or break up. It’s still possible to run into a school, but most reds will be in pairs or small bunches. Look for reds tailing over shallow flats on the lowest tides and in the same areas as previously mentioned for snook.
As water temperature drops, gag grouper will become more abundant in near shore gulf waters and inshore. Most anglers target grouper in the gulf waters, but if you find some underwater structure inshore it could hold some good fish. Docks, piers, bridges, or any type of underwater debris is a good place to look, and it doesn’t have to be very deep, often less than ten feet.
For fun and action, mackerel, bluefish, small sharks, ladyfish, and jack crevalle are foraging on bait schools inshore and along the beaches. A short distance offshore bait pods get harassed by both Spanish and king mackerel, plus bonito, and an occasional blackfin tuna. Expect some big sharks hanging around the feeding activity as well.
As the month wears on and the water gets cooler, large sheepsheads are on the move and well relocate around structure in gulf waters offshore and inshore. Target them in the same areas mentioned for grouper, along the beaches and passes, and around deeper oyster bars and docks or bridges. Our first run of sheepsheads generally show on nearshore reefs and hard bottom or ledges. Last winter we had a great sheepshead run, hoping for more of the same this year.
Nearshore reefs are a good place to run into everything from tasty snapper to giant goliath grouper. Coordinates for all man-made artificial reefs are available to the public and make a great day trip on a calm day. Some of the most productive reefs are well within the sight of land.
With our coastal waters cooling down, it brings a host of fishing possibilities. As we move into our “Busy” Season and the holidays are in sight, it gets crowded in southwest Florida. There is no better place to be, than on the water and away from the crowds and traffic.
Please keep updated on all current fishing regulations for the area you fish. Redfish, snook, and sea trout remained closed for most of southwest Florida, however you can still enjoy catch and release fishing for all three species. Visit www.myfwc,com to get the latest rules and regulations.
For charter information please contact us at:
Gulf Coast Guide Service
Call or Text: 239-410-8576
Captain Bill Russell