By Neil Taylor and capmel.com kayak fishing staff contributors
Around the state:
It is time. 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!
The Tampa Bay region– 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 after basically a complete absence in 2017. 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 favorite 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. More important in December and January, be ready for it. 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” (if, and I mean IF they arrive. One thing is for certain: 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?
I love kayak fishing. Never tried it? What are you waiting for??
In the Southwest “Suncoast” area of Florida, Steve Gibson with Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing: November is the month for big spotted seatrout and flounder. We expect trout in excess of 5 pounds on a variety of artificial lures. We also anticipate plenty of “doormat” flounder on light jig heads with grubs and shad tails. In addition, redfish action should be good on the flats and in sand holes. Snook should be plentiful at night around dock lights.
The East coast of Florida,
November will continue to be windy as we transition into the winter months. As the cooler temperatures continue the water will cool as well. It is time to change your fishing tactics. Slow up your retrieves and practice patience and stealth. Trout will be found in deeper areas to evade the cooler waters ranging from 3 – 5 feet. Look for them warming in sand holes on the flats and waiting for an easy meal to drift by. You might even find a few slot redfish in there too. Snook will be found along mangroves and drop off as well as back bay areas. Breeder redfish continue to be found is large schools and black drum are starting to make a strong appearance in all of the northern lagoon system. Flounder will begin its annual spawning migration out of the Sebastian Inlet. Tarpon have been caught in many parts of the river and will be found in many canals and areas like the Sebastian River.
In the Big Bend of Florida’s Panhandle, Robert Baker at TnT Hideaway- November is drummy around the curve of the Gulf coast. Speckled trout will also be hot in November but a lot of the fun will be with the “other drum”, red and black. Redfish will be fighting off the cooling waters to feed on “whatever you put in front of them to see.” Black drum will be ganged up around the region as well, ready to be exercised by kayak anglers. http://www.tnthideaway.com/
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 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.
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, www.capmel.com site administrator