November offers lots of options for fishing the backcountry
by Capt. Greg Stamper
Fishing during the month of November can be very good because there’s plenty of different species to go after. During November the weather often dictates the plan, so if we get lucky like last year then it will be good all month! With that said, as we get bits and pieces of cold front tails, the windy days will make things a bit tougher -- especially if the high pressure gradients reach us. On the days that the wind blows hard, we’ll predominantly target the fish in the backcountry, where we can hide from the wind a bit. The North winds and Northwest winds can make things a bit sporty, and puts a bit of a hamper on the bite at times. However, get the right days with the soft winds and the fishing can be fantastic. Fish still have to eat and when you have those nice days or weeks, the bite is on. Our temperatures can range from the 60’s in the mornings to highs in the low 80’s, making for some cool early morning rides and pleasant afternoons. As air temperatures cool off, anglers begin to pay more attention to water temperatures as we would like it to stay in the mid 70’s for another month!
When fishing nearshore this time of year you still have chances at tarpon, cobia, and kingfish to name a few. Calm mornings with east winds give anglers options to run outside along the beaches and see what’s going on. Tripletail begin showing up in full force hanging out on any piece of structure available. Most tripletail won’t be big, but occasionally you’ll be rewarded with a solid size fish. Often this time of the year the nearshore wrecks and reefs can also be great times, so it doesn’t hurt to check out a few of them with live baits, our trolling plugs.
There’s lots of options for fishing the backcountry waters as redfish, snook, and trout are all available and willing to eat, minus the first day or so after a cold front comes through. Snook are now in their winter homes and settling in. Fishing docks along our bays and rivers can be a fun time, as long as you’re willing to lose some tackle. Snook will also be along mangrove shore lines, still hanging tight to the structure usually over sandy bottom. As the temperatures begin to cool off, you’ll also have a longer period to hunt your quarry since the water temperatures won’t be too hot after mid-day as they are during the summer.
Redfish will continue to be a good bet as redfish, and their cousin the black drum, will be the target more often moving forward. Redfish don’t mind the cooler water temperatures and should continue to be active thru December. Targeting redfish along oyster bars and other structure using shrimp or even cut baits like ladyfish will work well during November. Other options for those that enjoy casting will be spoons, jerk baits usually rigged weedless, and flies.
Sheepshead will begin to show up more and more especially as the water cools off. Most of the sheepies won’t be fat yet, but they will be eating as their spawn will start up as soon as things cool down even more. The sheepshead will be found both on our wrecks and reefs, and targeting these sly bait robbers can be difficult at times. Small hooks and pieces of shrimp verse the entire shrimp work well. Often when you feel a sheepshead picking at your bait, you can simply move it a foot or two away to finally trigger that fish to commit.
The passes throughout the region will continue to be a great spot for action, and occasionally we’ll have a few visitors like bluefish show up. Most of the fish in the passes are smaller in size starting late this month, but if you’ve got kids then that’s a great way to get you day started. Besides you never know when a pack of mackerel, pompano, or jacks may storm by and clean house.
Capt Greg Stamper