November is hands-down my favorite month to fish. Everyone is a hero in November, since the fish are so turned on. That being said, there are tactics that can help improve your results. So far, as of the first week of Nov, the water remains very warm – with temps in the upper 60’s. This means that our cold water tactics are still not really needed. Fish will still be very aggressive, so definitely top-water fishing is still on. Do not hang up your plugs yet! We have more cloudy overcast days in November, and there are still bait fish around, so we are having good top-water strikes even late in the morning. The size of the trout have been great…the fish are heavy. We have had many 3+ pound trout in recent weeks. The Z-Man MinnowZ in rootbeer with chartreuse tail on a Trout Eye jig still is working great.
One tip for those who maybe are new to top-water fishing. You often hear “don’t set the hook on a top-water strike”. This is absolutely true, but here are some other tactics. Think about why a trout smacks a topwater plug. Often the plug will get launched a foot or more out of the water. The trout is trying to wound or disorient the fish, then go back for a relatively easy meal. When a trout hits your plug and misses, do not immediately reel the plug in and cast back in there. “Sell” the wounded fish act. Twitch the plug erratically, let it sit, make it act wounded. Often, that fish will come back 2, 3 even 5 times to try again. This happened the other day. Ralph and I were casting a bank and a real nice trout launched its whole body -and the plug – a foot out of the water. We both happened to be looking at the plug when it happened and said “Whoa!”. I pulled out all my tricks in “selling” the wounded fish, and sure enough, it came back for a second strike – missed again. A few more twitches, and … contact! This was a beautiful and heavy fish at 20 1/4 inches. Never give up!
Try the Fly
As we get further into November and colder water sets in, the bait will be mostly gone and small shrimp and glass minnows will be on the menu. I am not a die hard fly fisherman, but I do love throwing the fly sometimes. I look at a fly rod as another tool in your inshore toolkit. You simply cannot present a very small artificial bait (“match the hatch”) with a spin or bait-cast rod. The best tool for the job is a fly rod. I love small Clouser minnows. They look a lot like a glass minnow or small shrimp, are easy to tie, and look very natural in the water. Try a fly when fishing this month and see how well they work. I threw one yesterday and the fish were absolutely all over it. I had a pretty good slam on it, including a 19 inch trout, 24 inch striper and 27 inch redfish. All of them hammered this little tiny fly. As Ralph likes to say “Elephants eat peanuts”. Give a fly rod a try in the cold water.
One last thing. Yesterday I got about 5 miles away from home and realized I forgot my TroutEye hand towel. I almost turned around to go get it. I swear its my favorite accessory, I’m not kidding. Needless to say, my pants were filthy 🙂
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