When November rolls around, the inshore bite picks up. Most anglers get the opportunity to catch what is known in our area as the Savannah Slam! This boils down to catching a red fish, a spotted sea trout and a flounder all in one day.
The secret to catching more inshore fish during this time is to use live shrimp as bait. All fish like shrimp, because it’s easy to eat, easy to kill, and it’s more plentiful. And once you get the bite “a going,” it’s simple enough to change straight to any sort of artificial shrimp pattern.
Just to name a few: DOA’s rigged or not, Berkeley scented gulps, Strike King soft baits flukes, etc. All will work because – once a feeding frenzy starts – I think they might eat your shoe if you cut it up!
As far as how to present your live shrimp, there are several ways:
• Popping corks with 3- to 4-foot leaders. It’s best to place a small split-shot weight about 1 foot above the hook, because this helps keep the bait deep under the cork. Another good thing about popping corks is the sound that they make when they are popped. They sound just like a shrimp flapping its tail up against its body! This is a spotted sea trout, flounder and red fish “head turner” for sure.
• Traditional adjustable floats come in all sizes and work great when trying to find the bite at different depths.
• Last but not least is just fishing naked. All you need is hook, leader and bait. The shrimp swims where it thinks it’s safe, and that’s where the fish are in waiting.
Trolling and Strolling Offshore
When it comes to catching big fish, this is the place to start!
For those fishermen who don’t mind a longer ocean ride or find themselves strolling through the blue waters of the Gulf Stream, this is one area that can certainly hold the interest of big game fish.
During this time, an edge is formed when the cooler western waters meet with the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream. This is where smaller fish feel safe and where larger fish feed.
As far as best baits to drag, you have lots of options. For those fishermen who want to do a little rigging, I suggest dragging small to large ballyhoo dressed in different color skirts or rigged just plain naked with or without chin weights.
For those who just want to drag the artificial stuff, believe me it does work. I like pulling cedar plugs that have been soaked in menhaden oil. This is where you forget the painted cedar plugs and just go plain cedar. They really soak up the oil and they certainly do leave a nice oily scented trail.
I also like pulling artificial squid with feathers behind birds, which really can bring on a strong mahi mahi bite.
For those who want to pull any sort of diving lures, I suggest pulling black/silver and blue/silver Halcos and black back with orange bottom Terminators by Yo-Zouri.
And if the trolling doesn’t work, there is always deep water jigging for big gags and scamp grouper. Best jigs for deep water are the big boys like Williamson or Shimano 7 to 10.5 ounces. All you have to do is to drop these jigs on the ledge, keep them close to the bottom, and work them up and down in the water column.