November in Southwest Florida is sneakily one of the top months to spend outside.
Sure, a cold front will sneak through occasionally, but the dry air behind them usually warms back up within a few days. This sparks our inshore fishery, triggering most of the usual suspects into feeding frenzies as they ready themselves for the real winter to begin.
Let’s start with snook . . . November is a transition month for linesiders . . . And they are everywhere! You’ll still find a few stragglers on the beaches and passes, but the flats and backcountry are absolutely loaded. Put a whitebait under a mangrove and hang on . . . If you don’t have a bite in 10 minutes, move on. While we aren’t loading up on the 20 lbers like we do during the summer, catching 30 snook in a day isn’t difficult, with a couple in the slot.
Redfish are also all over the flats. On those hot fall days, you’ll find them under the sticks alongside the snook . . . But, don’t be shy about prying the flats for schools, either . . . For specific areas, think the flats in front of Bull Bay, or the Clam Fields in Gasparilla Sound . . . That is, if you can get the wind to cooperate . . .
Trout fishing is about as good as it gets right now . . . We haven’t been targeting them on most charters, yet still coming close to limits while chasing snook and redfish. Find deeper grass (I look for 3-5′) and use mirrodines or pinfish under a popping cork.
Tarpon have moved up harbor, and are still around in fishable numbers. This is the time of year for the lazy man to tarpon fish – put out a couple of ladyfish around the bridges in the Peace or Myakka rivers and crack open the adult beverage of your choice. And wait. Incoming tide seems to be better than outgoing, but don’t hold me to that.
Last, let’s not forget the highlight of November . . . When all time and earth stands still and the wonder that is duck season begins again. I’ve been scouting at least one day a week and this is shaping up to be a really strong duck season for the Florida waterfowler’s . . . Divers are beginning to trickle in, but the first phase is really about teal, and I’ve found teal in most of the haunts they should be in, in better numbers than in the past few years.
Wood ducks are thick this year as well. We are looking at as good a wood duck crop as I’ve seen in years. Plenty of mottleds around, along with the aforementioned divers filling out straps.
I still have a few openings for duck hunts in Phase II . . . Hit me up to see some of the premier waterfowling Florida has to offer, or we can chase those tarpon and trout and snook as they continue to move into their winter haunts. E-mail me at [email protected] or find me on social media @travisthompson