The Halloween decorations are put away, the candy is mostly gone and the nonstop Black Friday ads are back. It’s enough to make you want to turn off the tv and radio and go fishing. Tampa Bay, in November, is outstanding fishing and there is a wide variety of fish to be caught–from the flats to the deeper parts of the channel, along the Skyway and up into the rivers.
While the rest of the country is already dealing with lower temps, raking leaves and gearing up for ice and snow, here in Tampa Bay, we are fishing. Tampa Bay has year-round fishing and November is another outstanding month to fish the flats, rivers and deep channels of the Bay. The end of October brings the start of the cold fronts, but usually they aren’t much to speak of. As November slides in, the cold fronts get stronger and the temps dip. The water temps drop to the middle and lower 70’s, which triggers the fish to start feeding. As the bite fires off, we’re targeting snook, redfish, jack crevalle, trout, sheepshead, cobia and more. Remember that snook, redfish and trout are closed until May 2020–it’s catch and release until then.
One major bonus to fishing Tampa Bay in November is that when you find a few fish, there’s a good chance that the fish will hang out there for a while. During the warmer days of November, fish will be staged up on the flats. During the negative tides in November, look for snook and reds in pot holes and other depressions. If we get a cold front, look for fish on drop offs and near the mouth of the rivers and in the rivers. If it’s cold for a few days, look for snook, reds and trout up in the rivers. But, when we get a few days of warmer weather in November, some of those fish will make their way back out onto the flats.
Bait is usually readily available in November; it’s still on the flats unless we get a few major cold fronts, then it will be on the markers, bridges, and at the Skyway. If you don’t want to toss the net for white bait, you can get live shrimp and toss artificials. Live shrimp works great in Tampa Bay in the winter because that’s what the fish feed on naturally in the winter months. Winter is when I bring out the artificials for trout, snook and reds, and I usually do very well. Another bonus to November fishing is that you don’t have to get out at the crack of dawn to get to the fish. When targeting snook, reds and trout in November, you can wait a bit and let the sun come up and warm up the flats while the fish stage up and get warm on the shallows near the mangroves.
There are plenty of shopping days left until Christmas, so make a little time to get out on the water and go fishing! I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving.
Capt. John Rivers operates Rivers To Bay Fishing Charters out of Tampa Bay and Tarpon Springs. With 18 years guiding experince and over 40 years of fishing knowledge, he can assure you a professional / fun fishing adventure. Single or multi boat trips available. www.tampabayinshoreguides.com