November is known for its change in weather and trout. There are many estuaries to choose from in Tampa Bay that are holding good numbers of trout willing to eat anything in front of them. The trout being caught are averaging anywhere from 15 to 20 inches, and many fish 25 to 30 inches are being brought to the boat. With the Fall season having an epic start, I estimate the trout bite to carry itself into January.
Target areas for catching these fish are mangrove lines and grass flats adjacent to any good span of mangroves or light structure–preferably fishing the mangrove lines during higher tides and the grass flats on lower tides. Finding moving water is key to locating fish. Still water will hold fish, however I find that many fish looking to eat are in areas of moving tides. When it comes to fishing for trout, you must maintain stealth in your approach and pay close attention to the activity presented to you on the water’s surface. I make it a habit of noting any disturbance on top of the water. I wear a pair of polarized sunglasses to reduce the glare on the water and spot fish. Wearing polarized sunglasses can also help locate pot holes that may hold fish as well as “swash channels.” These are small lines made into the bottom from current flow. Fish often use these swash channels as a pathway to venture on the length of a shallow flat.
Choice baits for trout this month are scaled sardines and live shrimp. I present these baits free-lined with a 2/0 to 3/0 hook on 25 to 30-pound fluorocarbon leader. For artificial baits, the Highwater Fishing Lures in a “Hot to Trot” color pattern has been working well on a 1/4 oz jig head. When determining where to soak your baits, anchor your boat up or drift in any of the areas mentioned before, depending on tide and where the most water is moving. Be patient, you may have to wait for the bite to start picking up. However, when it does, the wait is well worth the effort.