The Change of Seasons

By: Capt. Bart Marx

November begins the cool fronts in Southwest Florida to start coming down from the north. This makes it tough for those long runs offshore in search of grouper and snapper. Before the fronts get here the wind blows from the south and when the front passes it starts blowing from the northwest. In our area, we must run out about thirty miles to get out to one-hundred-foot depth where there are some nice fish. Now with the State of Florida changing the regulations on different species make sure you check before you run out that deep to target what’s actually in season. The wrecks and reefs out there can be holding yellow tail snapper, blackfin tuna, and amber jacks. I am old school I still use an anchor. I know that the anchor lock trolling motors are becoming very popular and no pulling the rope. But to me the jury is still out whether the trolling motor running keeps the snappers down on the bottom. When I fish the reefs and wrecks, I like to anchor close to the edge of the structure and chum the snappers up to the surface. This is when all you need is a hook on your line to match whatever you are chumming with and let it float down with the chum. And when you watch your line coming off your spool when it picks up speed flip your bail and wait for it to come tight and FISH ON. The amber jack and tuna will come up in your chum slick too. And the man in the grey suit will come to collect taxes! When I am done playing that game and, on my way back to shore, I’ll look for anything floating as I may find some tripletail hiding to ambush any baits that swim by. In October, stone crab season opened and there are plenty of buoys all down the coast to check out for these hard fighting good eating fish. They will eat most any small live baits and most artificials like DOA shrimp. When I get into the 50-75 ft. range, look for lanes and mangrove snappers. They like the natural ledges the best with just a little relief and or grass on the high side of the structure. Start with frozen baits, spanish sardines, frozen shrimp, squid.  When the bite gets and also when it starts to slow down this is when I start some live baits like shrimp and greenbacks. This excites the bigger fish that have been laying back. And with the cold fronts starting this is when the migration of the bait and the pelagic fish. Spanish and kings will start heading south for the winter. I often help clients shorten their learning curve on their own boat with a training session and teach how to use the tackle either inshore or offshore.