Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fly Fishing Florida in November

This is one of my favorite months for fishing both inshore and the coastal gulf waters. Seasonal species like cobia, Spanish and king mackerel will pass through our area as they follow warmer water and baitfish south. Albies (little tunny) will thrill fly anglers and tripletail will also provide sight casting opportunities. Reds and trout will feed aggressively in shallow water and snook will stage around bars and docks and bridges in the ICW. Deep grass flats will have a smorgasbord of activity with trout, blues, Spanish mackerel, flounder, pompano and more.

Trout will be aggressive on both shallow and deep flats this month and will feed longer during the day due to cooler water. You may find big trout in skinny water early in the day where they should be aggressive on fly poppers or Gurglers. Later in the day, my Grassett Deep Flats Bunny and Clouser flies fished on an intermediate sink tip fly line on deep grass flats will work well. A popper/fly combo may also work well. Tie on a popper, add 30” of leader tied to the bend of the popper hook and put a smaller, lightly weighted fly behind it. Make sure you pause after each strip to allow the trailer fly to drop. I like deep flats that have a good mixture of sand and grass and good tidal flow, such as the Middleground and Radio Tower flats, Stephens Point and Bishop Point in Sarasota Bay. Trout season closes this month and will remain closed during November and December in the south region. It is inevitable that you will catch trout, especially since so many other species will be found in the same water this month, so handle them gently. You can get more details and boundary information at .

Reds will also become more aggressive this month. You’ll find them in potholes and along bars when the tide is low or along mangrove shorelines and the top of bars when the tide is high. They will feed on a variety of baitfish, including finger mullet, pinfish and pilchards, but as it gets cooler their diet will shift more towards crustaceans (crabs and shrimp). I like to target reds on a rising tide beginning at low tide. Less water means they should be easier to locate. I prefer sight casting whenever possible but you’ll probably need to do some blind casting to locate them. Best visibility for sight casting will be on light colored bottom on top of bars or along mangrove shorelines. When blind casting, focus on mullet schools and seams where grass and sand meet. Start with short casts and then lengthen your casts to avoid lining fish that you may not see. My Grassett Flats Minnow or crab fly patterns should be good fly selections when sight casting. North Sarasota Bay is one of my favorite areas for reds in November.

Snook season remains closed, so use tackle heavy enough to catch and release them quickly with minimal handling. If you need to remove the snook from the water to remove the hook, be sure to hold them horizontally and support their body. You’ll find snook around lighted docks and bridges in the ICW where you can cast small white flies, like my Grassett Snook Minnow, around shadow lines. Fish peak tidal flows for the best action. I like to fish the area of the ICW near Venice known as “snook alley” for snook at night. On the flats, snook may be staging along sand bars or in potholes when the tide is low or along mangrove shorelines when the tide is high. I would use a wider profile baitfish pattern, like a Deceiver or EP fly for snook on the flats. The same areas of north Sarasota Bay that hold reds will also hold snook in November.

Deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay will have a lot of variety and action this month. In addition to trout, you may also find blues, Spanish mackerel, jacks, flounder and pompano. I like to drift and cast ahead of my drift with lightly weighted flies fished on intermediate sink tip fly lines to locate fish. Surface activity or diving birds may also indicate the presence of blues, jacks, ladyfish and Spanish mackerel. A fly popper/fly combo is also a good choice especially when blues and jacks are around. I fish the same deep Sarasota Bay flats that I fish for trout when targeting these species.

Fishing the coastal gulf in the fall is one of my favorite things to do when conditions allow it. Look for albies (little tunny) and Spanish mackerel feeding on the surface. You might also find ladyfish, blues, jacks, sharks and even tarpon in the frenzy. Terns are one of the best indicators of baitfish and predators. Get ahead of schools of breaking fish by following the birds and cast small white flies on intermediate sink tip fly lines to them. They will also take Crease flies and fly poppers if they are the right size. “Match the hatch” by observing what size baits that fish are feeding on and duplicating it with the same size fly.

More info

Bookmark and Share


No comments: