Preparing for Winter Time
We are still in the midst of the off season here in the Florida Keys. A great time to come fishing though as the crowds aren’t around and you really have the water to yourself. I’ve been having some work done on my boat – fixing some things as well as adding a trolling motor and power pole. I’m really looking forward to having these additions.
I’ve been having some luck with snook and redfish around many of the channel run-offs and islands in the Everglades and around Flamingo. Live pilchards have been readily available and are great to have when snook fishing. They can’t resist a handful of livies pitched up near the mangroves where they lay and wait. It takes some patience to fish for snook,but when you catch one, especially a nice-sized one, it is well worth the wait!
You can also find some nice mangrove snappers mixed in snook areas which are a great choice for the table if you’re into catching supper. The one tough thing while it is hot is that bait doesn’t last very long. Snook fishing should get better and better as the water cools down a bit.
I’ve still been having some decent action with tarpon too. My last trip out we had a stiff northwest wind and I didn’t have high hopes for the day but we caught a few redfish early in the morning. The other guide I was fishing with saw some busting tarpon out in the distance, so we both went over and set up to fish for them. Mullet were swarming, so we both had a well full. Within a few minutes we hooked up but unfortunately lost ours, though we did catch another one later in the day! We later messed around with some snook with the last of our live pilchards.
One thing I always look forward to is fishing for Spanish mackerel in November. This is the time of year when they really start getting consistent. They fight hard and don’t require a ton of skill to catch, so they are a great target on general charter fishing trips this time of year. Roaming with them are the large blacktip sharks too, which if you’ve never wrangled with a big black tip you’re missing out! They can pull as hard as a big tarpon and put on a show just as spectacular, jumping and twisting out of the water.
Further out in the gulf are the cobia which can be very good in the fall. It’s hard to beat live pinfish for cobia if you’re fishing blindly around structure, otherwise a big fat shrimp is perfect if you’re sight casting to them.
Deeper in the Everglades from East Cape and beyond, the redfish fishing should get better and better. During winter cold fronts which will start occuring in November these areas are a favorite of mine to fish. Black drum, sheepshead, and snook can also be found this time of year in the deeper creeks and canals. Live shrimp is usually all you need, especially when the water temperatures really dip low.
Good luck on your fishing adventures and catch ‘em up!
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