The end of November marks the start of great flounder fishing. Large flounder move out to the artificial reefs about 5 miles from shore. The best bait to use is small whitebait. Rig the weight 3 inches from the hook. Cast over the sand that's closest to the hard bottom. Drag it slowly along the bottom while lifting the rod tip every few cranks of the reel. Fan cast the area until you catch a flounder. Recasting in the area increases your chances of multiple hookups. Most flounder will be in the 15- to 22-inch range. As we move into December, anglers and divers will weed out the larger fish. You might want to target the flounder now to get a shot at the larger ones. Redfish have been moving into the deeper holes during low tide. You won't see the reds, so chum the hole with live whitebait. The reds will strike the chum and give away their location. When you don't get any surface strikes, it's time to move to the next hole. The most productive holes will be on the dropoff next to the flats. Bait has been thick in the lower parts of Tampa Bay. Bird activity around the piers and bridges will give away the location of the bait schools. When your net is so full of bait it's hard to lift into the boat, dump half the bait out before putting it into the well. Lifting a full net of bait into the well will crush most of the baits and make them poor to use for fishing.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.