November 20, 2015 – November 26, 2015
Moving into late fall and we still have summer like conditions. We will be moving into some frontal conditions this weekend but it is still super warm. Look for mild winds and temperatures through early Sunday with some accompanying showers and occasional heavy rain and then the “cold front” appears with steady winds in the teens and gusts to the mid twenties…..all from the east / northeast that will extend through the Thanksgiving holiday. The weekend showers should chase anglers home and the windy conditions may keep them there. Although there should be some good to very good fishing opportunities with the winds staying east and northeast and chilling down the water temperatures. Another plus is the full moon come the holiday that is unusually mild….so you should have moderate tide movement through the week. Water temperatures the then are tumbling slightly into the mid seventies. All in all the water should stay clean and the change in temperatures could restart some action on fall species…….flounder, sheepshead, redfish and black drum.
The rather mild front may upset fishing conditions through the early part of the week but then the backwaters should settle down. Look for some resurgent redfish activity here as the water temperatures slide down. As the reds move back into the bay ( Rookery, Addison and Johnson) work the mid tides in the shallower bays with a tipped light jig over the shallower grasses and then move into the mangrove edges in the late incoming working shrimp under a popper up into the shaded overhangs. There will still be some snook around but most will be juveniles and exciting on the catch but must be carefully released. Snook fall for live bait (pilchards, sardines, threadfin) freelined into edges where there is good current movement. In the Passes look for the pelagics to return in the cooler water on the first and last parts of either tide. Pompano and mackerel, along with jacks and blue runners should show as they transit the exit and entrance to the backwaters. Work them on small tipped jigs worked close to the bottom. Bottom fishing along the mangrove edges should be good for late season mangrove snapper, flounder, black drum and early season sheepshead. All on shrimp or cut crabs worked into edges and bottom structure.
Sea conditions could be a bit dicey here post weekend but should level out late week. Look for pelagic action (mackerel, bluefish, jacks and runners) to pick up as things settle down. Setting up on structure and getting a good chum effort going may get you good action on all four species. All four are fun to catch; mackerel is the best amount the four for the table. As the seasonal chill takes hold in the Florida Panhandle you may see as urge in the southerly migration even in the nearshore waters with cobia and small kings showing up in your domain. Keep both a live bait in the water and a live bait rigged on a standby rod aboard. The Kings will dive on a soaked bait and the cobia will show on the surface anticipating a live bait surface tossed their way.
Conditions permitting at least through mid week. Red grouper remain open in state waters are are showing as quite plentiful. Work the waters at the state water outside edge (seven to nine miles offshore) working a live pinfish or cut ladyfish tight to the hard bottom spots on a drift. Gag grouper, still harvestable till 12/3, are a bit deeper in federal waters and can be caught using the same techniques. On the deeper wrecks, good chance of some of the migrating pelagics (cobia, kingfish and permit) showing on the deeper wrecks and jumping on live bait worked under chum.