In November, what's the best species to target on a Tampa Fishing Charter? The answer to this question may certainly be angler specific to some degree but the bottom line is this.  There are many opportunities. Just a few short miles off the beach, kingfish in excess of thirty pounds prowl the schools of thread fin herring and mackerel, looking to fatten up for their continuing trip south. By locating concentrations of both of the above dinner items, it's a safe bet that kingfish are around.  Sabiking thread fins and then slow trolling them back through the schools of bait on stinger rigs is an age old approach to successfully catching these predators. If larger fish are being targeted, mackerel may represent a better option however.  The trick here is that mackerel not only must be caught on site, but must be speedily transferred to the stinger rig as they die quickly. When this task is accomplished properly with a 12 - 15 inch mackerel, hang on. Anchoring and chumming can provide great entertainment as well. Large mackerel in the 3 - 5 range have dominated the scene over the last week so catching them on light tackle is great for a family fishing adventure.  Just about the time when the prospect of catching a kingfish has been forgotten, a drag starts screaming incessantly and the fish is on.  Hooking a large kingfish on medium spinning tackle on anchor is a few notches up the excitement scale when compared to a fish hooked trolling. 5000 series spinning reels spooled with 300 plus yards of 20 pound braid will handle most fish although it's best to anchor with an anchor ball as an insurance policy for when an oversized fish shows up.


What's the best dinner fish to target right now? Quality keeper mangrove snapper are currently populating near shore reefs and, on some days, will respond well to aggressive chumming. Light lines and careful, natural presentations are the key to this fishing and a high degree of skill is required to catch these fish. Fishing over the last few weeks has been inconsistent.  On some Tampa Fishing Charters, limits are achieved, while on others, a fish or two is caught and then the bite just shuts down.  This is most likely a function of dealing with educated fish that are regularly pressured.  It isn't that these fish really leave these reefs at this time of year. Grouper are also beginning to move into 20 - 30 foot depths so, if out on the reefs pursuing snapper, make sure to pack a grouper rod or two and test out a few of those near shore grouper numbers.

What fish represents the biggest surprise over the last month? Snook.  Water temps are still holding in the low seventy degree range and this has kept these fish active. What's interesting is that the fish are not just being caught in the backwaters but still out on the beaches. Almost every trip where snook have been targeted, they have been caught and not just the smaller male fish either.  Quality fish are being landed. Large whitebaits seems to be the preferred choice (as usual) but an occasional fish will still eat a grass grunt.  In years past, many Tampa Fishing Guides would have started to shift their focus away from snook come November, but as long as water temperatures hold, this fish will remain on the target list for every inshore trip.

When fishing in the Tampa / Clearwater area, what other fish represent good species to target now? Redfish and seatrout would be the logical answer. For whatever reason, redfishing in St Joseph's Sound has been slow.  Fish can be caught but more effort than usual has been required.  On the seatrout front, these large winter fish have not arrived yet in significant numbers but it is a very safe bet that the next cold front or two will deliver these fish. Tampa Fishing for large seatrout get's no better than this area.

During November, is you want to get your younger kids out to breath a little salt air, take them on Captain Nemo's Pirate Cruise.  The children are entertained by the pirates while you sit back and enjoy a cocktail. If mountain biking is of greater interest, try Alafia River Park, a 6200 acre park located just southeast of Tampa.  Bike trails are available for all skill levels and the park also offers a range of other activities. Good luck and good fishing.

 

 

 

 

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