A November to Remember - Pensacola Fishing Charter
As the summer winded down and the weather started getting cooler, I was eager to get out and hook up with the bronze bruisers that show up here every fall. Starting every October I get the fall rods out, wipe the dust off, tie on new leaders with new Spro Jigs, and get ready for what I hope will be a productive annual redfish run.
This past November was one to remember for sure. I was on the water a lot both with clients and fun trips with friends and family. These redfish show up every year just like clockwork in late October and are here all winter till the middle of April, although most of them will head back out into the gulf in late February after spawning and gorging themselves on bait all winter. These awesome fish are beautiful and are so much fun that Pensacola has become the place to visit and do a guided inshore trip in November and December. With thousands of fish busting the surface all around the boat, any visiting angler will be awestruck for sure. I call them the bulldogs of the bay; they eat everything in sight and will knock each other out of the way to try and eat your jig or top-water plug. Now not every day is a gimme with the big reds; you have to find them, and you don't just put the boat in the water and there they are. I have several years of experience going after these big bulls, so I have a few go-to spots that usually pay off. Each year is a little different so I make a mental note on these places and check them while on my trips.
One of my favorite things to watch is my clients' faces when they see the birds diving and then they realize the splashing isn't just the birds diving; it is a huge school of busting bull reds, and they are headed right to the boat. I can sense the anticipation of my guests, as they are getting ready to cast into the fray. Once the jigs start flying and I hear the music of the reels singing; the redfish dance begins. The dance is a controlled chaos to keep the lines from getting tangled while maneuvering oneself around the deck of the boat trying to keep up with your prized bull red. Each angler works their own fish and will either go over or under their buddy's rod to keep the lines from tangling. Once the fish decide where they're headed, the fight begins, and let me tell you it's a battle like no other. I have had grown men moan like little kids, happily complaining that their fish is too strong and won't come in! Some guys compare them to stripers, but I say reds will eat a striper's lunch!
The bulldogs of the bay are no match for wimpy fishing gear, so you better have some good tackle. I use Penn Conquer and Battle reels and they've held up with no problems.
With drag screaming runs of 60 yards plus, you better have your equipment in top-notch condition. My Penn reels are matched up with three different rods; one is All Star's 7 ft inshore casting rod, another is Abu Garcia's Veritas med heavy 7ft inshore casting rod, and the last set I have are Berkley's Cobalt 8ft heavy inshore casting rods.
Just because fall is behind us, doesn't mean that the fall redfish run is over. Far from it. These monster reds will hang out with us through the New Year, and if the weather cooperates like it has this fall, winter should be on fire for these bronze beauts.
I've tried to paint you a picture of what our annual fall / winter redfish run is like, so if you love fishing as much as I do and love to watch line peel off your reel, this is the fishing for you.
Thanks for stopping by.
Capt. John Rivers with a Golden Pensacola Bay Redfish.
Double Up on Reds is always fun!
About The Author: Captain John Rivers
Company: Reel\'Em In Inshore Charters
Area Reporting: Tampa Bay, Clearwater, St Peterburg
Bio: I have a lifetime of fishing knowledge and over 8yrs of experience fishing the northern gulf coast and our local water ways. I have enjoyed fishing all my life. While living in the Midwest, I fished Kentucky & Barkley Lake for years along with the Ohio River and many local water ways. My first passion was bass fishing, but when I came to Florida, I found my new love Salt Water Fishing !