November Fishing and Diving By: Capt. TJ Shea

Not unlike the big box stores setting up for Christmas in October, the time to celebrate the season comes early for the anglers of the Gulf of Mexico in November. Afternoon thunderstorms have passed, as has the need to run 60+ miles to find cooler water while hundred-dollar bills cycle through our injectors.  You can feel the change with the first cool morning breeze–a sign of cold fronts coming to drive water temps back into the “magical” 70s. Magical to those who love to chase the elusive torpedoes known as kingfish, and the biggest of the year are sure to light up our Raymarines with the right bait.  As a good friend likes to remind me, while Spring kingfish fishing is for everyone, Fall is for the real anglers.

Beyond kings, the Fall brings us near shore gag grouper bite, which is a thing of beauty. Resident gags have been here all year, but the warmer water temps tend to give them lock jaw.  The cooler water temps restore their desire to hunt, and we are glad to provide the baits. Thanksgiving is synonymous with relining our heavy conventionals with 80-pound Ande mono and making sure the drag washers are ready for the tightest setting.  Our advice this time of year is to take full advantage and enjoy this fishing season.  Looks like big changes are in store for all of us starting next year, and it seems that gag grouper may be the biggest fishery affected.

The luxury of running 5-20 miles to catch quality fish is the best present of all. Get your rods ready, and fuel up those vessels to make November the most wonderful time of your year anglers!

This is the season to start breaking out the neoprene, if you’re of the scuba persuasion. For six months, board shorts and bathing suits with a rash guard have been all most of us have needed to enjoy time at depth. Snowbirds may look at us funny for sliding into a 3, 5 or 7 mil wetsuit while they hop in donning what we consider summer attire, but that’s just fine.  The cooler temps normally give us cleaner, clearer water, which always makes for better diving.  For us that love to get our fresh catch of the day with a spear gun, we will dive dive dive.  The window, before weather becomes the biggest factor, is shortening; so we must take full advantage of every beautiful day we get.  This time of year, we often help our diving community exhaust those built-up sick time hours over these precious few weeks.  You never know what you are going to get between Halloween and Christmas; but, one thing is for sure.  You must take advantage of every day mother nature gives you to enjoy what you love.  Good conditions are not a given between now and when the ball drops on New Year’s Eve.