November means shorter days and cooler temperatures. With our clocks turning back, the days have become shorter and temperatures have fallen. If the weather cooperates, November can be a productive month. Snook have started to move to their winter spots, redfish will be on the flats, although closed in our region, big trout will invade the flats and the mackerel will be around as long as temperatures stay warm.
The redfish bite was a good last month and should continue through November. I haven’t seen a lot of schooling fish. The fish we have been catching are in groups of 2-4 fish. On low tides, fish the edge of the flats. As the tide moves in, fish mangrove trees and oyster bars. When looking for a good flat, I look for the schools of mullet. Redfish and other game species like to hang around and feed on anything the mullet stir up. The key is to have a lot of live white bait to chum with. Live whitebait fished on a 25lb Berkley fluorocarbon leader and a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook is a great setup.
Snook season will remain closed but catch and release is still an option. Snook have started to make their move to their winter spots so look at some of the usual stopping points in our area. Tidal flow is important any time you are targeting snook. Target areas where the tide flows with good ambush points. Live scaled sardine (white bait) on a 30lb Berkley fluorocarbon leader with a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook free lined is a great snook rig. Remember to handle these fish with extreme care and as little as possible. We need to take care of the ones we have.
Trout season is set to close this month and remain closed through December if the FWC doesn’t change it. The FWC is asking for input from anglers on whether to have an open season year around for recreational anglers. Check out MyFWC.com for any changes. If season remains closed, catch and release is an option. The big “gator” trout will invade the flats in our region as temperatures continue to drop. Live shrimp or scaled sardines will work great but artificial lures are a lot of fun. It’s hard to beat a big trout crushing a topwater plug. Zara spook in a bone color is my favorite topwater plug. Play around with it and find out what colors and plugs work best for you.
Best of the Rest
We have had a great year for flounder. I like to fish sandy pot holes along any flat. Live shrimp or whitebait fished on the bottom will produce some nice flounder. Spanish mackerel should continue to keep anglers happy. If water temperatures hang around the magic number of 72 degrees, we should continue to have a good bite. Have a rod rigged for kingfish. Grouper will get active in our region. A great starting point is the ship channel. Troll a Manns Stretch 30 plug or a white buck tail jig and you are sure to score some nice gags. Be sure to keep an eye on the grouper changes coming down. Look for sheepshead to start to show up in our region. Most structure will hold sheephead. Dock pilings, rocks, and jetties. I like shrimp on a jig head. As water temperatures cool, more fish will show up.
Captain Will Shook is a full-time captain. To book a charter, call 813-732-5971 or visit