November 2020

By Neil Taylor and kayak fishing staff contributors

Around the state:

Around the state, kayak anglers and kayak fishing guides are making their “plans” for cooler weather. Hurricane season winding down for this year and if cold fronts are spread out, November will be a stellar month for the paddle-fishing anglers. Late November marks the start of the part of the year where you may have to “dress for it.” The water and air temperatures are falling, particularly in north Florida, Gulf and Atlantic coasts.

It’s been a long hot summer.    October for a lot of kayak anglers around the state was not too much different from a summer month.    November:  there will be a chill in the air but hopefully not a bitter trend of that.   There should be very good stretches of weather this month and hopefully plenty of spans of time with light winds.   Some folks will have a crack at king mackerel.   Others have already had those opportunities pass and are catching drum, redfish and sheepshead in their region.    But for everyone:   Opportunity.    Give thanks for the fun that November will bring!

Statewide, kayak anglers will take advantage of big low tides around the full and new moons to access fish others won’t be able to get to by other methods. Tailing redfish, topwater action for various species and slow-and-go bumping of lures for flounder in the deeper troughs will be great options for the kayak anglers. Flounder have been a big story around the state in the areas away from Tampa Bay.

November is starting out with considerable wind.   That should change. 

The Tampa Bay region

The eleventh month of the year is a great time to plan to do a lot of fishing around Tampa Bay. Peak time for pelagics, usually comfortable weather and opportunities for just about any fish you can name.   The forecast looks great for a variety of options this month. 

Weather dependent, without question, November has a lot of the best fishing opportunities of the year.    Things that cannot be ignored:    King Mackerel.   Redfish.    Invading numbers of large speckled trout.  The final flounder flurry? (They just haven’t been good)    Sheepies on the flats.   Everything with “kayak fishing decisions” is going to be based on weather patterns and water temperatures.     After so many months of hot, hotter and hottest: November has potential for fairly even weather but also for more harsh conditions.    I call it “the lottery” that also applies to the month of April.     With very mild conditions, November action is perhaps as good as it gets.    If the lottery is not coming up with your favourite numbers (wind and overnight low temperatures “cold”) then head to the backcountry, rivers and creeks to seek shelter for yourself and to also locate fish that are escaping the elements.    If there is a great stretch of weather:  Anticipate stellar action on the main grassflats all over the region.    Sheepshead will be in the shallows, being mistaken for redfish on the bigger low tides.    Flounder action has some time left before most roll out for “winter.”    Flounder haven’t been good for about five years.   One thing for sure:   It is time to find out if you still own a waterproof jacket.     The fishing will be great this month.   It may be in short sleeves and maybe even breaking a sweat.    If not, do you have the fortitude (and clothing) to hack it?

The Tampa Bay region southward will hold onto some warmth for at least part of the month, and cold fronts will dictate just what “changes” are in store for the central and south part of the state. For those in the northern areas: They are already breaking out their gloves, hand warmers and warm caps for their kayak fishing.

The migration of king mackerel will have them stay in the Tampa Bay area the entire month unless there are tougher fronts that send the water temperatures down rapidly and push bait schools to the south. “Kayak kingfish” outings should be done with good planning and taking care to avoid dangerous situations such as high winds combined with strong currents. Have an action plan should you get into any kind of trouble fishing this kind of deep-water situation. Keeping a big kingfish in a kayak is going to require a large fishbag, which are available and can be lashed down to the kayak.

Coming soon:  The big negative low tides of winter!

In the Southwest “Suncoast” area of Florida, down in the Southwest “Suncoast” area of Florida, Steve Gibson with Southern Drawl guide services (Sarasota area) will be using flies to connect with “a little bit of everything” including trout, redfish, snook, mackerel, jacks and flounder.  The arrival of cold fronts, pompano will arrive from other areas.  

The East coast of Florida, they are chasing a mix of black drum, large redfish and some flounder.   November usually means a strengthening of the bite and better opportunities with summer done.   Search them out.  There are big fish to be tangled with over here.  

In the Big Bend of Florida’s Panhandle, Around the Panhandle region, the talk is about speckled trout, redfish and flounder. The kayak anglers around Panama City enjoyed some grouper, snapper and king mackerel fishing to start fall and will have some more action for those species as the autumn season continues.  Just how cold will it get how fast??

In Northeast Florida:  Action is holding up for redfish, trout and flounder.    The action will be good, but challenging compared to the great weather of September and October around the area.    Be cautious of fronts changing conditions but be aggressive and catch a lot of fish!

In the greater South Florida area:  Kayak fishing will be fun and exciting.     The Everglades will have awesome action for a lot of species.   Trout, redfish and snook; plus tarpon and sharks.    Extreme kayak angler options exist off the depths of the Keys or the lower Atlantic region.    Pelagics are available, particularly with the arrival of “true” Fall weather and they will be around for many months.    Big bruiser bottom dwellers are also an option.    November is other anglers’ September in S. Florida.

The tip of the month:

Get ready to “layer up.”   For kayak anglers around the state, November means the certainty of colder air temperatures.     Multiple layers of clothing are smart.   If the outer layer is waterproof:  You win.    After seven months of “stay wet, stay cool” you need to change your thinking to “stay dry, stay warm.”    Wet clothes out in the wind can make for a chilling experience.     Dress the part and fish in the cooler months!   Visit a local outfitter such as Bill Jackson’s in Pinellas Park to get the right attire.  Dress right but don’t drown:  If you are layered up or wearing “waders” you should go ahead and wear your PFD or have it in immediate reach.    Should you end up in the water, you may need the flotation.  A mild month and you can dress like it’s summer.  But if it gets cold, you may need to adjust.  

Need help learning how to kayak fish?   Hire one of our guides on staff for your region and take advantage of their knowledge and sharpen your own skills!

Get out and into the action but as always: Be careful out there! Neil Taylor, site administrator

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