Florida Fishing Report - November 29

FreshwaterCentral Florida?Bass fishing on the Kissimme/Toho chain isworking its way towards its winter peak, with fish to nine pounds being caughton crankbaits and topwater frogs. The weather has been unseasonably warm forlate November and the lack of cold fronts still has the fish up in the shallowgrass on the northeast side of Lake Toho and the northwest side of LakeKissimmee. Live shiners fished around the points and at the mouth of the canalswith moving water are producing 20 to 30 bass per trip right now. Look for thebig fish to move onto the beds with the full moon in January.Blackcrappie have been on everyone?s minds lately, as the early season crappie bitehas been outstanding on the south end of Lake Kissimmee and in the deeper holesof the canals around Camp Mack. Live Missouri minnows have been the bait ofchoice. Jigs aren?t working well just yet, but the fish should move into thegrass over the next month, which will pick up the jig bite.Lake Okeechobee? Bassfishing remains the best it?s been in the last 20 years on Lake Okeechobee,even with rising water levels. The lake is between 13 and 14 feet, allowingboats to navigate in all the open water areas. There was a good push of bass ontothe beds with the last full moon, but the best stuff is still ahead. For now,most of the larger fish are holding on the grassy points in open water, wherethey?ll remain until they push into the shallows to spawn. Lipless crankbaits,Assassin Hand Pour worm in junebug and creature baits are the way to go,although live shiners will produce fish throughout the day. Harney Pond, IndianPrairie, 2nd and 3rd point and King?s Bar are allproducing good numbers of fish on the north end, with the Monkey Box and TinHouse Cove seeing fish on the west side. There?s also been a decent frog bitein the grassy areas off Clewiston and in the marsh, with the darker coloredLogger Toads and Sweet Beavers the preferred baits.Speckfishing has picked up in the Kissimmee River the last few days and the coolerweather this week should really spark a good bite. The best stuff has been atnight using minnows in 12 feet of water, although Nubbin Slough does have a goodshowing of fish in 6 feet of water during the daytime. Live Missouri minnowsare the preferred baits.SaltwaterFlorida PanhandleInshore?Seatrout, redfish andflounder are the main targets in the bayous of Panama City, with soft plasticsin dark colors worked slowly over the bottom the way to produce action. Windy weatherhas hampered inshore fishing a lot lately, but East Bay and the Power Plantoutflow are starting to produce their winter populations of seatrout andredfish. Other good areas include the Escambia River and Blackwater River, aswell as Fakahatchee Bay.Offshore?Rough seas have kept theboats in port the last week, so we have no offshore report from this area.West Central FloridaInshore?Trout fishing has beenoutstanding in 2 to 4 feet of water over broken bottom on the grass flats, withshrimp and popping cork or New Penny colored soft plastics the best baits. TheSouth Side of Big Pass in Sarasota Bay is producing a mixture of bluefish,pompano and sheepshead, with lots of ladfish mixed in. There?s also been a goodshowing of sheepshead at the Annamaria Pier, with fiddler crabs or shrimp thebest baits.Offshore?Grouper action has beensteady in 40 to 80 feet of water trolling swimming plugs over the limestone orhard rock edges. Kingfish and bonito can be found within a few miles of the beachoff New Port Richie, with live pilchards the top baits.Southwest FloridaInshore?The rivers and rivermouths of the Everglades backcountry are producing good numbers of redfish andseatrout for anglers bouncing the bottom with a shrimp and jig or softplastics. Farther upriver anglers are finding some snook along with juveniletarpon up to 35 pounds. Skitterwalks and X-Raps have been the preferred lures,while live mullet has been the top bait.Offshore?Mangrove snapper and grouper are the mainstays foroffshore anglers, although you can?t keep the grouper right now. Bottom fishingon the patch reefs and hard bottom in anywhere from three to eight milesoffshore has been very steady. Live pinfish and pilchards are the top baits,although shrimp can be used when targeting mangrove snapper.FloridaKeysInshore?A mixed bag of Spanish mackerel, bluefish, seatrout,jacks and ladyfish are greeting anglers fishing in Florida Bay and the outsideedge of Everglades National Park. Redfish action in Flamingo has been limitedto the deep holes in the creeks and around some of the islands, with a shrimpand jig combination producing up to 20 fish per days right now. Most of thereds are under five pounds. Mangrove snapper action on the patch reefs has beenoutstanding for those fishing live shrimp or small pinfish with a 3/8 ouncejig. Sharks are starting to move onto the flats, with live ladyfish orbutterflied Spanish mackerel pulling in blacktip, bull and lemon sharks.Offshore?The late season dolphinbite has been very consistent throughout the Florida Keys, with most of thefish being caught under 20-pounds, although there seem to be schoolieseverywhere, although the most consistent action has been in 300 to 500 feet ofwater. Sailfish action has been very inconsistent, with most boats only gettingone or two shots at the fish each day, and a lot of those opportunities arecoming out of shallow water over the reef. Blackfin tuna are starting to showoff Key West, but the main concentrations have not made their appearance,although this week?s cold front should push some fish into the area. The bestaction has been around the Sub Wreck in 220 to 240 feet of water southwest ofKey West. There?s also been a pretty decent wahoo bite in the same area, withlive threadfins the top baits.Southeast FloridaInshore?Pompano are a big targetfor inshore anglers and surf fishermen from Vero Beach south to the DoubleRoads in Jupiter. Live or frozen sandfleas, clams or jigs have been thepreferred offerings. Spotted seatrout are closed to harvest in the South Regionuntil January 1, but the grass flats of the Indian River around Bear Point,Middle Cove and Bird Island are yielding good catch-and-release action fortrout to about seven pounds. Soft plastics like the Bass Assassin 4 inch seashad in Copper Juice or Space Guppy colors are fooling the larger fish alongwith lots of bluefish and the occasional snook. The best inshore action rightnow is taking place at night around the lighted bridges of Miami where tarponin the 25 to 70 pound class are feeding on shrimp and finger mullet movingthrough the shadow lines with the outgoing tides. The Venetian Causeway andGovernment Cut are two of the better locations holding tarpon right now.Offshore?Spanish mackerel andbluefish have pushed onto the beaches in big numbers, with the best action offPeck Lake in Martin County, although there are good concentrations of fish offthe condos north of Palm Beach Inlet and also north of the St. Lucie PowerPlant. Dolphin action has been steady the last two weeks, with a  lot of schoolie fish under 15 pounds beingcaught in anywhere from 70- to 180-feet of water along floating weeds anddebris. There are well-defined color changes and temperature breaks, withsailfish working one side of the edge.  There?sbeen a nice push of sailfish into Broward and Dade Counties the last couple ofweeks, with fish being caught from the Martini Glass south to Fowey Light. Livegoggle-eyes or pilchards are the preferred baits, but threadfins will work in apinch. On the nights when the wind has been down the swordfishing from Miami toFt. Lauderdale has been outstanding for fish in the 40- to 110-pound class,with most boats getting multiple shots using squid or mackerel for bait. The actionhas centered around 1,700 to 2,000 feet of water.East Central FloridaInshore?Redfishaction is scattered along the shorelines of the Indian River from MelbourneSouth towards Sebastian. There?s also a good concentration of reds of all sizesin the Banana River right now, with the shorelines outside the Haulover Canalholding a lot of slot fish. Live shrimp or cut pinfish, mullet or ladyfish arethe way to get the big reds to eat right now. The larger fish have been veryspooky lately, so make a cast well ahead of the school and let the fishapproach your bait. With temperatures cooling a bit, black drum are starting tomove up into the shallows, with schools of fish in the 10 to 30 pound classworking the causeway shorelines south of Titusville. Live shrimp, crabs orhermit crabs are all good baits. Trout action has been steady for anglersfishing Trigger X shrimp on a 1/8-ounce jighead around the residential canals.Look for flounder action to pick up at Sebastian Inlet over the next few weeks,with live finger mullet or killiefish the popular baits.Offshore?Rough seas have kept alot of anglers off the ocean lately, with the exception of the big boatschasing sailfish. There?s a good pod of fish off Brevard County waters rightnow, with most of the sails in anywhere from 90 to 160 feet of water. Trolledballyhoo with mullet dredge teasers are the way to raise multiple sailfish. Besure to drop bait your bait any time you hook a fish to encourage a bite fromany other fish that might have been traveling with the fish you hooked. We?restarting to see the winter kingfish migration along the beaches and withinthree miles of shore, with the best action from Cocoa south to Sebastian Inlet.Right now, the larger fish are to the north, but cooler temperatures shouldpush them through over the next month or so. Live blue runners and riggedribbonfish will be the top baits for kings.Northeast FloridaInshore?Strong flood tides havethe redfish moving into the shallows and creeks throughout the region rightnow. Spotted seatrout are eating topwater plugs in the sound on the warmer daysand soft plastics on the cooler days. Look for the trout in the creek mouthsand the reds farther up the creeks around the deeper holes, particularly on thefalling tides. There are still some big reds around the inlets, with cut baitthe best offering. Sheepshead action has really picked up around Fernandina,the Mayport Rocks and St. Augustine Inlet with live shrimp or fiddler crabs thebaits of choice. Flounder action is starting to taper off, but there are stillsome nice fish being caught around the fenders at the Mayport Ferry and also onthe outside of the port. Live mullet on a 2/0 Kahle hook has been the way togo.Offshore? Cobia and grouper arethe mainstays offshore on the Artificial Reefs and natural wrecks in anywherefrom 60 to 140 feet of water. Live bait and squid are the preferred naturalbaits, but a lot of fish are being caught on Williamson Speed Jigs and ShimanoButterfly Jigs. Have a lure or bait ready to throw at cobia when you pull up tothe wrecks, because a lot of the cobia are being encountered upon arrival andonce they go down are never seen again.
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