November marks an exciting time in Florida. Like the snowbirds that arrive from around the nation, so do some species seeking warmer gulf and Atlantic waters.
While the glamour of marlin season has fizzled out, there are still admirable billfish to be found among a few other species to get ecstatic for.
But, there are still many notable targets this month that observes Thanksgiving and Veterans Day. So whether you’re coming to escape the cold, partake in fishing tourism, or spend time with the family, here’s a list of Florida’s best saltwater species to target in November.
Are you looking for a nearshore or inland target? Consider going after some snook.
A long-time favorite in southern Florida, you can find these guys from the Ten Thousand Islands Wildlife Refuge, past Everglades National Park, and into the Florida Keys. On the Atlantic side, snooks appear around Cape Canaveral and increase in numbers the further south you go.
Want to reel in the big one?
You’re more likely to pull in a monster snook at night. Snook is a nocturnal feeder found under lighted docks, bridges, piers, and inlets. Lights attract smaller baitfish and shrimp. When opting for live bait, this is a good starting point.
If you’re looking for tarpon, you’ll want to head into the Florida Keys. Since tarpon, like most, hate the cold.
Furthermore, this is one species that is affected by the weather, and the more trough-like the cold front, the further south tarpon will go. Which, in turn, can mean the fishing is hit-and-miss.
Yet, don’t let this deter you too much. The Florida Keys are still summerlike in November, making it a prime destination for racking up the tarpon counts. Just know that the bites might not be so hot on a cooler day.
3. Atlantic Sailfish
While most fisheries are wrapping up the season, Atlantic Sailfish is just kicking off. Unlike tarpon, who despise cold fronts, sailfish love them and assemble in southern Florida in numbers.
Nevertheless, Atlantic Sailfish can reach up to 220 pounds for those ready to endure an adrenaline-pumping catch. Match with the impressive speed of sailfish at approximately 65 miles per hour; this is a top-notch species for the bucket list.
If you want to target Atlantic Sailfish for yourself, this species resides along the east coast from Fort Pierce all the way down to Key West.
Another species where November indicates the season drawing to a close, swordfish is a much-loved target among locals and tourists.
This pointy-nosed fish can be found anywhere from the Jupiter Inlet to Key West. Although, an undisputed powerhouse for them is Islamorada, which provides consistent bites.
Swordfish migrate along the Gulfstream, with traditional hunting grounds being 1,000 to 1,500 feet deep. With many dropoffs not too far from the coast, this is why Florida is a powerhouse for swordfish in November.
5. King Mackerel
November signals peak season for the highly revered king mackerel, also known as kingfish. If you’re in Florida at this time, consider going after this species or even participating in a fishing tournament. Yes, that’s right, with such a bountiful fishery, a few tournaments are occurring at this time.
Madeira Beach hosts the King of the Beach Kingfish Tournament, which offers women’s and youth leagues in addition to a community party. Though, if you’re around Clearwater/St. Petersburg, take up a spot in the Annual Suncoast Kingfish Classic.
However, if tournaments aren’t your preference, there is no need to worry, with endless fishing opportunities for everyone.
6. Spotted Sea Trout
Last but not least is one of Florida’s best-kept secrets, its spotted or speckled sea trout fishery in November.
Spotted seatrout can live throughout the entire coast of Florida. Alas, the Big Bend, southern Florida, and the northeast are the places to be in November. As the temperature gradually cools, the fish heads further south throughout this month. Or, head into deeper water, with some found in water as deep as 15 feet by month’s end.
Stick to inland shores; if you are one for kayak fishing, it’s the perfect way to target this species. Try to cast into sandy flats or seagrass patches using live or artificial shrimp. You’ll feel those nibbles in no time!
Oh, and if you’re fishing in southern Florida, the rule of thumb is that the spotted sea trout aren’t too far off where there are snook.
If you are planning or at least thinking about heading to the Sunshine State during November and want to get some fishing in, here are some target species to keep in mind.
From the inland shores to deep-sea fishing, there are angling opportunities everywhere.
And if you’re spending time with the family, there is no better way to spend time with the family.
Have you caught any monster fish in November? Please let us know in the comments below!