Capt. Billy Norris
The fishing has been fantastic over the course of the last month! During November, the bite was great in both the backwaters and nearshore. The water temperature has started to cool down into the 70’s, which has brought in our fall fish. Looking ahead to December, the water temperatures will continue to fall and bring in our winter species.
November’s backwater fishing was primarily focused on snook and redfish. We caught tons of snook, with some days getting a strike on seemingly every cast. As the water cools, the snook will begin to push farther into the backwaters and up into the rivers as they follow the warmer water. Right now, they are heavily populated near the passes and on the beaches, but will soon start to make the migration. This allows for some great snook fishing in some beautiful wild Florida areas around the oyster bars, mangrove islands, and docks. If you decide to venture back far into the estuaries, remember that it can be challenging to navigate these areas if you are not familiar with them. Estero Bay is an extremely shallow bay outside of the marked navigable channel, so if you are not sure how deep an area is, a good rule of thumb is to stay inside the channel. Even though we are now allowed to go full speed outside of the channel, it is highly recommended to slow down and trim your engine up when heading across the flats. Redfish were also very abundant over the past month, with many big overslot fish being landed. October/November are two of the best months for redfish, and this year didn’t disappoint. It is clearly evident that the closure due to the 2018 red tide is having a drastic positive effect on the populations of both snook and redfish.
The nearshore bite has also been stellar! The amount of bait up and down the beaches is shocking, more than I have seen in many years. Giant schools of mixed threadfins, pilchards, pinfish, Spanish mackerel, jacks and more are so thick that one throw with the cast net is almost impossible to lift back into the boat. Around the giant schools of bait, we have been catching large tarpon as they migrate down the beaches following the food source. Kingfish have also started to show up. Although not in big numbers, we have caught some beautiful kingfish over the last month. As the water continues to cool, the big schools of kings will arrive, so be ready to fire up the smokers! Also, sheepshead will show up soon as the water temperature continues to drop. Fishing over the past month has been great, and will continue to be excellent through December so call and book your trip today!