The weather so far this month has been typical, albeit a bit on the warm side. Water temperatures are hovering in the low 70s but should start to drop as cold fronts begin moving in from the north.
The redfish bite along South Shore has been the best I‘ve ever seen, especially over these last few weeks. Our most consistent bite has been south of the Little Manatee River toward the Joe Island area. Redfish are schooled up on the flats, and the most productive time is on higher tides. Seems to me once the water drops out the redfish move off the flats into deeper water making them a little harder to find. One good tactic is to drift a patchy grass flat while casting your favored artificial bait. One of my favorites is a 1/4- to 1/2-inch gold spoon.
Early in November I like to fish for snook, trout and redfish in the rivers and backcountry, where fish seem to seek out warmer water as we move into the winter season. If you’re using live bait, try fishing creek mouths, the points of islands and oyster bars or any place where the water’s a little deeper and the tidal flow is good. Looking for mullet activity is a key indicator when looking for redfish. Approach the area quietly with the wind at your back. Once you get there, set your anchor and fish until you’re ready to move, then just pull up the anchor and let the wind blow you to the next spot.
It’s all about being quiet and using the right bait. Pilchards, small pinfish or shrimp seem to work fine. All are plentiful locally.
The other bright spot this week has been the appearance of kingfish within the boundaries of Tampa Bay. Some were caught within sight of Ruskin. These fish don’t hang out long and will head south as the water temperature drops into the mid 60s.
There’s plenty of white bait on the flats of Tampa Bay just about anywhere you go. A lot of it’s small but usable. As we approach December, I expect the bait to move off the flats into deeper water.
Get out and enjoy this great place we live in, especially now that the weather is cooler. We have some of the best fishing Florida has to offer.
Be safe out there.
Danny Guarino is one of three Ruskin-based fishing guides and charter captains who share this column. He can be reached at (813) 956-2010 or [email protected]