Steinhatchee November Fishing Report
November is cool in two ways. One, is the weather, which can be likened to outdoor air conditioning. The other, is great fishing. When the hot-ish weather of early fall declines, noticeably sustained coolness, the fish get a marathoners appetite! Cool weather with cool fishing.
Preface: Baitfish of all sorts are receiving the atmospheric message to start moving south for warmer conditions. Local reef fish—grouper, sea bass and such, as well as pelagic fish—kingfish, Spanish and such, get the same message as they see the southern migration of food on the move. The movement of food is one trigger. Excessive heat makes fish slow down, while coolness makes for, call it playfulness; water temperature. The second trigger is pulled. Survival for the up coming cold season triggers fish to stock up while food is available, or follow the food train. Now, this is more-than-likely, the last month of the year to catch a cobia—my favorite fish. Cobia will both be cruising the flats southward, or hanging on high relief structures offshore. Fresh live bait is the best option, especially if the bait instinctively swims down when free-lined. That is so the live bait is seen from top to bottom. Jigs and artificial eel-like baits are also effective, and can be presented to more numerous targets quickly.
Kingfish, large ones, will be trailing the bait pods moving south. Fresh caught bait, spoons or hard baits worked around the bait pods, work very well. This is especially so in the early mornings, or late evenings. Artificial lures should best mimic the natural prey, both size and color. Spanish mackerel will also be tagging along.
Grouper remaining in home waters during winter, will feed prolifically in preparations to survive the winter. Translation: Long runs to deeper cooler water aren’t necessary. Frozen bait is more effective than hotter months. That said, I still use live bait and fresh cut bait. The near shore grouper bite will improve dramatically, so trolling is an effective fishing method.
Trout and red fishing is historically off the chart. That statement is validated considering the jump in the inshore guide business. Fish caught inshore are locally measured by the number of five-gallon buckets filled with fish.