Sea Trout is the state’s most popular game fish and southwest Florida is no exception; our waters boast some of the best trout fishing in the state. Few would disagree that sea trout are the mainstay of Florida’s recreational fishery; they are often referred to as “the people’s fish”. Unlike redfish, snook, grouper, or tarpon, trout are much easier to target for all anglers, and they are great on the table. Trout should be plentiful and feeding heavily on bait fish, then as we near the end of the month shrimp will become the top bait.
Speaking of redfish and snook, November can be a great month for both if it doesn’t get too cold to quick, which is unlikely. Snook vacated their summer homes around the beaches and are relocating throughout the inshore waters. If it remains relatively warm they may be located feeding over inshore flats, oyster bars, shorelines, and sand or potholes. If it turns cold quick they will seek shelter in protected areas like canals, creeks, rivers, and shorelines with deep water. The large schools of redfish that prowled the inshore flats over the last few months will move offshore or break up. It’s still possible to run across a school but most reds will be in pairs or small bunches. Look for tailing reds over shallow flats on the lowest tides and hanging in the same areas as snook over higher tides.
Gag grouper season is open throughout the month with larger fish moving near shore and inshore. Most anglers target grouper in the deeper Gulf waters, but if you find some underwater structure it could hold some dandy fish. Docks, piers, bridges, or any typ of underwater debris is a good place to look, and it doesn’t have to be very deep. I have caught fish over 30 inches in less than 5 feet of water.
For action, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and jack crevalle, all speedy hard fighters, are feeding on baits schools. Expect an increase in species like pompano and sheepsheads as the month gets cooler. Large sheepsheads are moving from offshore to near and inshore, target them around the same areas mentioned for grouper, along the beaches, and around oyster bars and mangrove over hangs.
As the waters of southwest Florida continue to cool this month there should be plenty of good fishing to keep anglers busy. Plus if you enjoy nature and wildlife we are getting into the best time of year. As we approach the holiday season there is no better place to spend a day than on the water and away from the crowds.
“Catch the Action” with Captain Bill Russell