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November Fishing Forecast

Fishing has been great in Florida Bay the past few weeks and I look for this trend to continue through November and into December.  Look for the schools of bait and feeding fish won’t be very far away.  I have been doing well using pilchards and finger mullet hooked in the back with a ¼ oz. HookUp Lure.  The key to getting a bite is to differentiate your bait from the rest of the school which is accomplished by the jig head which makes your bait appear injured.  Predators are programmed to feed on the weakest fish in the school because they are easier to catch.  I use the HookUp Lure to slowdown the bait causing it to swim erratically as if it is wounded of sick.  When running around the bay keep an eye out for patches of dirty water along the shoreline, this is usually an indicator of mullet activity.  When you find the mullet moving along a shoreline, take some time to work around the edges with the push pole or trolling motor.  Many times the fish will use the shore as cover from predators as they move in and out of the bait schools to feed.   The normal 10 lb set-up is sufficient for use with small mullet and pilchards. 

This is also my favorite time of year to get in some night fishing.   As those mullet schools move through creeks and passes the snook and tarpon will be on the prowl.   They like to sit in an eddy or current break where they expend less energy as they wait for the bait to be swept by in the current.  You will know when the fish are feeding and where because they will be creating quite a ruckus on the surface as they inhale the finger-mullet.  The snapper bite has picked-up as well with some of the biggest fish of the year being caught in inshore waters at night.  Pilchards and sardines are slower and easier for the snappers to eat.  If you only have mullet, cut up chunks and use them attached to chartreuse HookUp Lure for the best results.  Pick just about any creek or bridge in the upper keys for a great time after the sun goes down. 

If you’re a live bait fisherman, this is probably your favorite time of year for fishing in Florida Bay.  There are acres of finger-mullet, pilchards, sardines and pinfish around the bay right now.  If mullet is your bait of choice, look for the large patches of muddy water which are filled with those “candy” sized mullet.  The pilchards and pinfish can be found on grass flats adjacent to creeks and canals.   Ripples on the water and flashes of silver will give away the location of the schools.  I hang a block of chum over the side of the boat to attract them into cast-netting range.  As a reminder, Everglades National Park does not allow the use of cast-nets larger than 10 feet.  A good net for pilchards and sardines in the backcountry is an 10’ with 1/4” mesh size.  For the mullet, use a larger mesh size to ensure the net will sink before the mullet slip out from underneath.  The hardest part of live baiting is not only catching, but keeping the bait alive.   A good livewell system is a must for keeping baitfish frisky throughout the day or night. 

'Til next time, Tight Lines and Light Winds…….

Captain Lain