November provided great fishing for a wide range of species and this continued on into the first week in December.  Kingfish up to 40 lbs gathered just a few miles off the beach about a month ago and, with continuing mild temperatures and NE winds, they never left.  Fish could certainly be caught on anchor but slow trolling, as usual, was the real ticket to consistent hook ups. On most Tampa Fishing Charters, once large schools of thread fin herring were located, the hardest part of the day was typically over.  Sabiki up a few dozen "threadies", drop a couple back on stinger rigs, start slow trolling and hang on. Although many of the fish were in the 12 - 14 pound range, most days produced a fish in the 20 lbs range and 3 fish over the last two weeks came in over 30 lbs.  Unfortunately, the party is likely over as the cold front that just arrived promises 3 - 4 days with night time temps in the high forties, so the remaining fish are probably headed to their winter homes well south of us. Time will tell.

Tampa Fishing Charters for Kingfish

Tampa Fishing Guides also got another benefit from the good weather...strong snook fishing in November.  Strong is a relative term in that, in many Novembers, catching a stray snook would be good in Northern Pinellas County.  Although fishing wasn't as good as in snook prime time (late April thru July), this past month fish continued to hold in some of their summer locations in decent numbers, as well as their normal fall locations on spoil islands and in the backwaters.  This resulted in numerous trips where multiple snook were caught, including one day where 15 fish were landed...with half a dozen being quality fish.  Snook may be an occasional possibility in the backwaters in December should the weather warm back up and hold for a 2 - 3 days in a row.

As is always the case with spring and fall time periods, Tampa / Clearwater Fishing Trips of greater than 4 hour duration allow both nearshore and inshore fish to be targeted.  Kingfishing early and then returning to fish inshore on the stronger parts of the tide allowed many multiple species days. If the snook wouldn't cooperate, enough of the larger winter seatrout have moved in to make these fish a realistic target. Whitebait, as is always the case at this time of year, was the bait of presented with no bobber or split shot.  Another advantage of targeting the trout this way is that numerous other species will inhabit the same areas as the trout.  Fish on this list would include Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle, and some larger than average bluefish.  Up north, a large bluefish might top the scales over twenty pounds.  Here, 1 - 3 pounders are the norm, but fish approaching 5 pounds have been caught on several charters over the last few weeks. Less common, but still a possibility, a good sized flounder or pompano might be part of the mix. Moving forward, trout numbers will only improve and if fishing is anything like last year, it should be excellent. Bluefish, jacks and mackerel may stick around through some of the cold as well.  Redfish are another winter possibility but more effort will be required to find larger specimens during the colder months to come.

Tampa Clearater Fishing for snook

If you're interested in learning more about the fish available to be caught as well as the myriad of other fish swimming around Florida, visit the Florida Aquarium in Tampa...a great family day trip. If seeing and swimming with one of Florida's most recognized wild animals, the manatee is on your list, hop on a Crystal River Manatee Tour. These mammoth, docile, marine mammals are surely one of Florida's most interesting creatures.  Good luck and good fishing.




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