By Captain Danny Guarino
November, and a little more comfortable. What a pleasure to be outdoors. As always, November kicks off the annual migration of fish headed for warmer waters south of our area or into the local creeks and rivers. Fish will seek a comfortable area in regard to both temperature and habitat.
Spanish mackerel will hang around until the water temperatures drop through 70 degrees, then head south. The best concentration of mackerel will be just off the gulf beaches, a bit of a run from the SouthShore but well worth it. When fishing Mackerel a little heavier tackle is a must. Try using a 50-pound test leader and at least a 20-pound test line. Big live pilchards will work fine on a 1/0 or 2/0 extra-long shank hook.
Snook will head into the rivers, creeks, and deeper water of Tampa Bay looking for warmth. I would expect the snook bite to be even better in November than it was in October where the Southshore bite was wonderful. Live bait is my bait of choice when looking for Snook. I like to have a pilchard about 3 inches long free lined on a 10-pound test using a 1/0 circle hook with a 25-pound fluorocarbon leader. The lighter line and leader are not readily seen in the clear cool waters of November.
Trout will be on the deeper grass and some of the deeper spots in the Manatee and little Manatee Rivers. Try fishing trout with a DOA shrimp under a Cajon thunder or some of the wide verity of soft plastic tails along with a jig head. My rule of thumb is to use live bait on warmer days and artificial on the cooler days. Lighter tackle using 10 pond test and 15 to 20 pond test leader I like to use circle hooks in sizes 1 or 2.
Redfish will move near the many oyster bars that fill the backcountry of Tampa Bay. Try using a pinfish under a bobber. Another good way to catch Redfish is to use cut-up ladyfish or pin fish. The dead bait ad’s a little sent to the waters. When fishing with dead bait you must have patients and do expect to catch plenty of catfish.
November can be a great month to fish the Tampa Bay area waters. Get out and try your luck but stay safe and have a great time.
Capt. Danny Guarino is a lifelong resident of the Tampa area and semi-retired fishing guide on Tampa Bay. 813-956-2010