November is a great month to break out the crank baits. They help you quickly cover large areas, and the cooling water puts gamefish on the move. They will search for areas with warmer water and a good food supply. Grass flats that have a channel between them and a row of docks nearby are perfect. The water is warmer in the deeper channel and the docks protect the fish from predators. The flats provide an ample supply of food. At low tide, work the front of the docks and the middle of the channel. When the tide is incoming, move to the edge of the grass. If the high tide puts 1 or 2 feet of water over the grass, switch to a shallow-running crank bait or change to a jig. The best channels are 4-8 feet deep. Use a plug that dives close to the bottom and hits the sand every now and then during a steady retrieve. You can work from a boat, but wading can be more productive. Look for birds on the flats and around the docks. This indicates the area holds bait. Keep moving and work the area heavily before moving on.
Use 10- to 20-pound-test line and a 30-pound-test leader to keep snook from cutting you off in the docks. Tie the crank bait to the leader with a loop knot to give it room to wiggle. Use lighter or clear plugs when the water is clear, and darker plugs under normal conditions. Gold with a black back is my most productive crank bait color.
_ Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 347-1389.