November is typically the time of change in the bay area. Cold fronts from the north trigger the fall migration of many different species such as gag grouper, kingfish and cobia. This year we are experiencing warmer than normal air and water temperatures that are causing these fish to be late. Red grouper, amberjack and red snapper will remain closed through 2015, so we're still fishing our summer patterns, targeting a wide variety of snapper. Mangrove and yellowtail snapper are holding in most depths offshore. Look for these tasty critters to be holding on ledges and larger profile spots such as wrecks and large rock piles. Anchor over these spots and start a slow and steady stream of chum off the stern to get them into a frenzy under the boat. Chumming is a very important part of snapper fishing. Overchumming is the No. 1 mistake. A rule of thumb is one small piece of chum every 30 seconds, which leads the fish right to the back of your boat. Many offshore anglers have enjoyed gag grouper fishing during this time of year. Since there are not as many of these fish around, it pays to sit a little longer on your favorite rock. Lighter leader and large live baits have helped get more bites from the gags.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.