The best question to ask in November isn’t, “Are the fish biting?” but rather, “What will the weather be?”
That’s because this month’s weather determines whether you can fish or not.
Historically, one of the best fishing locations for November is the Chandeleur Islands, which offer protected shallow-water fishing on the inside of the islands for speckled trout and redfish and productive surf fishing on the Gulf of Mexico side.
Capt. Greg Thornton, who operates Due South Charters based out of Point Cadet Marina, said this fall should be no different.
“There should be some really good wade fishing this month in the shallow water flats and ditches inside the island, as well as out in the surf, when the weather’s calm or there’s little wave action,” Thornton said. “This month we’ll see a lot of redfish being caught. The bull reds probably will be playing out, but we should have plenty of slot reds.”
Zara Spooks are his favorite lures, but he said any type of lure you can use with a walk-the-dog retrieve pays off. The most-productive topwater lures have white bodies and red heads, he said.
Thornton also recommended 12-pound-test line for catching redfish and speckled trout.
“Depending on the tide, we often can fish top-water lures successfully all day long,” Thornton said.
The second bait to fish this month will be jigs with soft-plastic bodies.
“We fish the jigs on the bottom, both inshore and offshore,” Thornton said. “We like a ¼-ounce jighead and grubs in avocado, pumpkin-pearl or salt-and-pepper with a chartreuse tail.”
Most Chandeleur Island fishermen don’t target flounder, which should have migrated out of the estuaries by now. But you might take a few as incidental catches.
Although the water won’t be terribly cold, Thornton recommended wearing light, dry waders or neoprene waders. However, most of his anglers opt to fish from the skiffs.
“This time of the year, our average speckled trout weighs 1 ½ to 2 ½ pounds,” Thornton said. “But every now and then our anglers will catch a wall-hanger trout.”
November is the month for catching giant tuna, grouper, amberjacks, gray snapper (vermilion snapper), wahoo, white marlin, deep-water grouper and tilefish.
Capt. Jimmy Taylor, who operates the “Miss Lauren” and “Miss Darcy” docked at the Small Craft Harbor in Biloxi, said weather is always a major factor in any trip.
“Before we head offshore, we check to make sure we’ll have good weather and calm seas,” Taylor said. “Not only do we look at wave height and wind direction, we also check for fog. Often we’ll catch amberjacks and gray snapper at the deep-water rigs.
“Most of the fish haven’t experienced any fishing pressure for several months, and we can do well on these two species. Our big yellowfin tuna season starts heating-up this month and in December. We’ll also be trolling for wahoo as we go out to the rigs.”
Sport fishermen can catch blue marlin offshore during November, but they’ll probably catch more white marlin than blues.
“The white marlin seem to prefer the cooler water,” Taylor said. “As the weather gets colder, the marlin bite will dwindle — but there are still marlin to be caught off the deep-water rigs all year long.”
Taylor will be deep-dropping, using electric reels, in water depths of 600 to 1500 feet for swordfish, grouper, tilefish, scamp and other deep-water grouper species.
“One of my favorite trips is to go offshore for tuna and get out to the reefs about dark,” Taylor said. “Then we can fish for yellowfin and blackfin tuna at night.
“On the way in, we can catch amberjacks and gray snapper. When we get within state waters, we can catch redfish.”
The best way to plan an offshore trip like this is to study the seven-day weather forecast. Right after a cold front comes through, the wind will lay, the sky will clear and the fishing will be the best.
To go on a November fishing adventure of a lifetime, contact Taylor at 228-617-7441.