Early November was staging up for awesome beach kingfish action with nice pods of bait just off the swim buoys. What draws in the kings are the spanish mackerel gorging on the white bait and glass minnows. There is nothing more exciting than trolling a 12 – 14 inch mackerel on a stinger rig behind a kayak and have a 25lb plus kingfish explode on it. I had my chances the first week of October when conditions were right with three big strikes but was not able to hook up or land any fish, and unfortunately the window for catching a king this November closed fast as unseasonably cold weather dropped temperatures from the ideal mid 70’s to 61 in about a week. This plummet in temperatures pushed the bait and mackerel offshore and subsequently the kingers too. Now I will just have to gear up for the spring run in hopes for my next kayak kinger.
This colder weather and rough seas made it tough to even get a good flounder and grouper bite going on the near shore beach mitigation reefs. Most of the fishing we have been able to do this month is inshore, hiting residential docks, canals and grassflats. The action has been good. Lots of drum and sheepies are eager to take fresh or frozen shrimp around the docks with snook and redfish bites mixed in between. The kayak gives an advantage to dock fishing because of stealth and angle it offers for pitching bait under the docks.
On a recent trip a wayward cast hooked up on a pylon and after paddling right up to unhook, we pitched up under the dock and immediately got a strike from a nice keeper red just two feet from the kayak. That is point blank fishing only made possible by the kayak’s low profile and silent approach.
This October, the snook have been biting well, with most of the snook being well under slot limit. These “peanuts” are still fun to catch and it is always a good sign to see so many young snook for the future population.
The intracoastal flats adjacent to sandbars, spoil islands and residential docks are a good place to hit some redfish and trout action as we head into the colder months. I prefer wearing waders and getting out and stalking fish by foot covering a lot of ground working artificials. My go to bait is a gulp shrimp hooked weedless, but there are tons of different lures that will get the job done. My dad always carried a gazillion different lures. It is one of the only things that I didn’t inherit from him. I prefer to keep it simple, for me less is more especially when kayaking.
When working a grass flat, I like to start shallow. I use to think I had to wade to chest deep water to find fish, but I have learned that getting bigger reds and trout means working in less than 3 to 4 feet of water, sometimes inches. Some days the reds will be schooled up or give themselves up with tailing, but most days my key is finding mullet schools. If there are mullet running the flats, you will find redfish if you put your time in. The big school of mullet flush shrimp and crabs out of the grass and the reds hang with these pods looking for a meal. The next thing I look for are sand patches, pot holes and ledges where fish like to typically stage up.
Once you can start thinking like a fish and understand where they like to hang out depending on the tide and the temperature you can become more consistent finding fish. Of course, just when I think I have it all figured out, I hit one of those days when the fish aren’t were they are suppose to be or aren’t interested in the lure I am presenting. The key is be persistent. One big advantage I have found is start a fishing journal and learn from both the good and bad days taking into account water temps, tides, winds, moon phases, baits, success and failures. Always remember… you ain’t catching if you ain’t fishing!!