A little different air temperatures this November as itís down 10 degrees from last year. However, the 10 degrees has brought in the Mutton snapper a little earlier 4-15 lb Mutton bite is on in 15-30 foot of water. Last year the flats were on fire with warm weather all the way up to Thanksgiving. This year the patch reefs in the upper keys are the ticket so far, this week one day alone we caught 14 Muttons up to 15 lbs most are around 7lbs with a couple fish in the double digits and an occasional fish on the upper side. Mutton moves in from the deep wrecks and reefs to the shallow patches when water temperatures drop below 74 degrees. As the last temperature taken was 72 degrees, I think these fish will remain here until early spring unless we get a major warming trend like we did last January which screws everything up! The Muttons are being caught on ballyhoo plugs and live bait fished with 4/0 Owner hooks, 50 lb fluorocarbon leader on 30 lb braided line. Also on the patches we are catching Mangrove snapper up to 6 lbs, Mackerel, Red and Gag grouper, sharks, yellowtail. Cobia are in deeper water right now and will be moving into the chum slick anytime! Dirty water with a north wind is a key to finding the bite.
On Biscayne Bay the bonefish are still around in big numbers. With the cold fronts moving in one after another it can push the fish to the outside flats and into deeper water. Bones are generally known as a warmer month fish but this time of year you cannot rule out a strong showing of fish. A couple days of warm weather will make bones show up all day long. Follow the tides to different areas with low water and you will find fish. Last week we caught 6 bones in 2 days with plenty of shots on mudding fish and some permit when the water temps were over 73 degrees.
In Florida Bay the fishing has been great. Redfish can still be found on the flats but I have been finding them in deeper dirty water. We caught 8 fish in one spot over 30 inches and over 25 in the slot size. Snook are around in big numbers as well, though most fish are a little smaller than most would like. We are catching them on live baits fished around moving deeper water to the west of Flamingo or around Shark River to the north.
The colder months will bring some fine fishing with Spanish mackerel, Cobia, snapper, reds, snook and Goliath Grouper on the gulf side, Mutton Grouper, Cobia and Sails on the Atlantic.