Fishing reports published in print are generalized and weeks may have passed before the report gets into your hands, so for timely up-to-date reports, visit our Fishing Reports online. Current reports will be published every Friday by noon — just in time for your weekend fishing adventures. In the meantime, here’s our monthly prognostication.
COASTAL FISHING FORECAST
Considering the early flurry of swordfish action at the canyons last month, there could be a solid shot at getting daytime bites this November. The biggest challenge, of course, will be finding an acceptable weather-window. On the inshore grounds, meanwhile, sea bass and flounder should continue providing good action through most or all of the month. And in the surf we’d expect some of the summer panfish to begin thinning out in northern areas, while the Virginia beaches will likely still be seeing kingfish (roundhead), blues, and more through the month.
On the freshwater scene November may be the most under-rated month of the year. Look back in past reports and you’ll see talk of action in the rivers, reservoirs, and tribs, including red-hot bites on everything from rainbow trout to rock bass. As the weather gets slightly tougher to deal with many anglers hang up their gear, but for most or all of this month the water temps will remain such that freshwater fish will be chewing to the max as they hope to fatten up for winter. Don’t let opportunity pass you by, people, grab a jacket and get out there!
WAY NORTH CHESAPEAKE BAY
Just what the activity level is in this neck of the woods will depend quite a bit on the weather, and hopefully water quality in the northern reaches of the Bay won’t be quite as sketchy as they were at times last November. If clarity is decent expect to find a striper bite at the dam pool and potentially on the flats. If the waters get riled, we can always fall back on old faithful — catfish — which should continue to feed more or less regardless of what the weather brings.
If past is any prediction, November will bring with it plenty of bird play in the Upper Bay but most of the fish up top will be small ones. Remember to fish deep around the schools to find keeper-sized rockfish, or try eeling to locate larger striped specimens. Also remember that the white perch will transition to deeper haunts through the course of this month. As that happens shift your efforts away from the shorelines, creeks, and coves, and begin searching drop-offs with 10-plus feet of water, shell bottom, or deep structure like the Bridge pilings and rockpiles.
Summer species may have departed, but this month we can hope for some of the best rockfish action of the year. Look for the fish to shift from trib mouths to open waters as the peanut bunker push towards deeper water, and by the end of the month if the temperatures dip it’ll be time to start searching deep along the channel edges. Perch should be moving to deeper water this month, as well.
Rockfish will surely be the main target throughout the Lower Bay, and should be in fine form as this month begins. Expect topwater action and bird play early on (think: plugs and jigs), possibly transitioning to a deep-water bite (think: tandems and weighted umbrellas) at some point this month depending on how quickly it gets cold. But don’t forget that specks and reds should also provide solid action for some or all of November. Last fall early November was good from the waters of the Northern Neck on down, and hopefully we’ll enjoy more of the same this year.
TANGIER, POCOMOKE, AND LOWER SHORE
This will likely be a month of change in the Sounds and all along the ESVA, starting off with good speckled trout and red drum action that may taper off and possibly cease by November’s end as temps drop. On the bright side, as those species abandon the shallows and head for deeper waters it’s common for rockfish to charge right in and fill the gap for a week or two before they go deep, as well. However those changes may progress, one thing is for sure: there should be excellent action in these waters all month long.
WAY SOUTH AND VA CHESAPEAKE BAY FORECAST
Those ISO specks and reds will likely have a great November in this neck of the woods, as both species have provided solid action right through the month in recent years. And remember, as speck numbers begin to thin out the biggest fish of the year are often caught. So, this is the time for trophy-hunting. Also note that tautog should crank up their volume at the CBBT and if we’re lucky at least early in the month some sheepshead will still be around, too. Same goes for flounder — get out there before the weather turns to get in a few last licks on the summerish species.