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The Bite in The Bay: Let's Go Fshing in November

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On: Mon, Nov 4, 2013 at 9:09AM | By: Captain Woody Gore

Snook season is open and greenbacks seem the bait of choice. We have also been catching them on cut bait lying on the bottom. Anglers using live bait should have no problem finding plenty of greenbacks, threadfins, or pinfish. It’s not unusual for a juvenile Snook will chase down a greenback, but the larger fish are usually disinterested in pursuing any fast swimming bait. Instead, they seem content to take damaged or dead bait off the bottom. A simple technique I have been using to slow down my live bait is to break its back or cut off the tail fins.

If you’re an artificial lure angler, topwater lures do well on an early morning grass flat. Topwater lures are loads of fun, especially the unanticipated explosion, when least expected. My topwater choice includes MirrOlure’s Top Dogs, or 7M’s, then later in the day switching over to soft plastics on a jig head.

Redfish seem to be on every grass flat and are eating live and dead baits. We are catching plenty of nice size fish with many in the thirty-plus range. Grass flats with broken bottom, submerged oyster bars and mangrove shorelines throughout the bay hold hungry Redfish. Greenbacks, dollar size pins, cut bait, and patience do the trick.

On the other hand, if you are interested in something different, perhaps it is time to try artificial lures. Fall and winter are great times to use them. Artificials give the fish a look at something different, like color, shape, and action or any one or combination of might entice them to strike. Some lures float, dive or suspend and usually require a learning curve, but that is half the fun. Fishing artificial lures is a talent, but one you will surely enjoy once you have mastered the techniques. It’s always been my experience that the best way to learn to fish artificial lures is never take live bait along; this way you will not tempted switch if you do not catch something right away. It’s called it fishing what you brought.

Spotted Sea Trout action’s on the upswing with good reports when fishing strong tide days around deepwater flats. They are eating shrimp, pinfish, and greenbacks. Deeper flats, good moving water, and a popper cork or free-lined greenback or shrimp prove deadly in catching nice Trout. In addition, some great action on calm days with topwater artificial lures like the MirrOlure 7M or Top Dog Jr.

Cobia can show up on the back of large Rays and Manatees. Check buoys and markers and keep an eye out when Mackerel fishing using a chum bag. Have a good rig ready because they tend to pop up at the most inopportune time… like when you are not ready. Many times, we have been fishing for Mackerel and looked behind the boat to see one or two Cobia hanging around the outboard.

Mackerel action should remain strong as long as we have bait. Look for the diving birds and you have probably found a school of Mackerel, Jacks, or Ladyfish; also look for schools of threadfins or glass minnows and you will usually find the same thing. Try using 40# to 50# SeaGuar Fluorocarbon Leader with long shank #2 or #3 hooks. No need to go expensive on the hooks, you loose plenty. Free line the baits in the current with a #3 split-shot weight.

Black Tip Sharks are following the Mackerel with schooling fish in the 15- to 25-pound range willing to eat live bait. Rig like you would for Mackerel and enjoy the fun on light tackle.

Mangrove Snapper have flooded Tampa Bay grass flats, bridges, markers, and docks; fishing with small greenies and shrimp should produce some nice-sized fish often tipping the scales around the one to three pounds. Lighter Seaguar fluorocarbon leader, small slip sinker, a # 1 hook and you’re in business.


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