What are the best species for a Tampa Fishing Guide to target in November. This question has many answers.  Although November is usually the season where cold fronts begin to make regular appearances, it is also a month where some of the most diverse catches of the year are made. At this moment, 1-4 pound mangrove snapper and medium sized Spanish mackerel are available inside of 30 feet over rocky bottom. Snapper are notorious bait stealers and line shy by nature, but by "tackling down" (using smaller hooks and lighter leader) and being patient, limits can be had. Spanish mackerel will generally be around most areas with rocky bottom that hold bait.  Simply drop a chum bag and do some additional chumming. If these fish are in the area, action should start within 15 minutes.  If not, relocate. Moving thru the month of November, Kingfish should start showing up. Bonita, grouper,  and of course, sharks are additional possibilities when fishing these same areas. Pinfish and whitebait are all that's needed for bait.

Coming back inshore, there are still significant quantities of redfish available. Although the big high tides of summer are waning, redfish can still be caught off the bushes in open flats, channel edges and along spoil islands. Pretty much any bait will work for these aggressive diners but cut baits, due to their ability to stay on the hook, are a great choice. The red tide pushed away the redfish for a good chunk of the summer but they are back and finally, some larger fish are showing up. 

Snapper Kingfish and Mackerel off Clearwater Beach

Recent Tampa Fishing Charters have seen an occasional big winter trout but fish are not here in numbers yet. Hopefully, one or two more fronts will light the fuse.  Historically, their arrival is just a week one side or the other of Thanksgiving. With current water temperatures in the mid 60's, whitebait is available so load up the live well.  These big trout will eat the free-lined whitebaits with reckless abandon. This being the case, when fishing whitebait, expect action quickly...translation, move actively until fish are hooked.

Fall Redfish Clearwater

November represents the last open month for snook.  For anyone who hasn't heard, the FWC ended their red tide closure for snook, trout and redfish on October 12th.  All are now harvestable based on the existing regulations for each of these species.  For snook, one 28 - 33 inch fish can be harvested per angler during the months of April, May, September, October and November. For the first year in many, Tampa Fishing Guides have been catching numerous very small snook...sub 18 inches...which is confirmation that fish have been effectively spawning during the closure. Also, in recent weeks, a legal snook has been landed on numerous charters. Some guides are reluctant to kill these great gamefish but customers who land one on a paid charter have every right to take one home to eat it and the eating is good. 

Good Snook Fishing in Tampa

Long story short, the list of different fish that can be caught in November is long and, on a 6 hour trip there is time to venture offshore first thing, catch 3-4 species and then come back inshore and shoot for the slam. Fishing behind the cold fronts is a total non starter but the warming trends between these front can provide great and diverse fishing.

Good luck and good fishing.

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