STEINHATCHEE – November Fishing Report
Fishing is Expected to be Awesome
Barring strong cold fronts rushing down from the north, November fishing is expected to be awesome! With the hope that the air/water temperatures will slowly cool, local and pelagic fish will get the itch to feed. The big incentive is the migration of bait fishes south. The local fish have to seize the opportunity while forage is still available, while pelagics dine and travel with the southern moving food truck. It all boils down to the fish are in the mood to eat, and that, my friend, is good for fishing.
Furthermore, every predatory fish has been well released from hot, low oxygenated water, and free to hunt in cooler waters, higher in oxygen concentration. I don’t like eating outside during the heat, but will fire-up the grill when things cool off.
Redfish will be moving around the hard rock bottom along the coast. Jigs, gold spoons or top-water plugs early in the morning, late of the day or during overcast conditions. Those not willing to jig and plug all day, can anchor up for a spell, a short distance from a section of rocky bottom and lob chunks of mullet or split crabs. It’s a good way to give the casting arm a rest and have lunch.
Trout will be moving back to the shallow waters on the flats. For bigger trout, try a floater/diver plug or a suspending hard bait.
Spanish mackerel will be zipping around the flats and baits pods nearshore. Little Bank is a great area to target Spanish. If thirty-pound leader isn’t enough to prevent cutoffs, then twist on a short section of #1 or #2 wire using a Haywire twist. Take time to learn the twist, because store bought leaders are crap, and thin wire will improve your success. Never keep more mackerel than can be eaten fresh, as frozen Spanish quickly turns to cat food.
King mackerel love to eat Spanish or bluefish, and will even surprise anglers on the grass flats. It is worth the time to set a float rig behind the drifting boat. Number four to five wire is best for a leader. Cobia, tarpon or shark are also likely to crash the party.
Florida snapper (grunt) and sea bass are abundant. The larger fish are in the 45 to 50-foot depth. The bait is anything including mini-marshmallows. I use a tandem jig rig tip with a small squid strip. Once you hookup, wait a couple seconds for the additional fish.
Grouper fishing has been tough with the abundance of red snapper. I’m not one to gut hook red snapper trying for grouper. One way to select out the ubiquitous red snapper, is to use large live or cut bait. Another, is to troll deep diving plugs. However, red snapper will still hit the plug at times.
If the cold fronts aren’t severe, cobia will still be lingering along the coast in November. It is the last month to give them a shot.