Florida Keys Fishing Reports

Key West Pro Guides - Back Country Report -November 2023
By: Capt. Paul Tryon

November 2023 Fishing Report

November has arrived with cooler temps, both on and off the water and with the cooler water temps, it has brought several newly arriving fish species to pursue. Fantastic action for Key West angling continues through the fall time frame.

Always a fun and productive trip, the back country this time of year also offers an abundance of visible marine life and tropical birds on the Mangrove Island shorelines with mirror calm, crystal clear waters. The overall population of fish in the back country remains large with several sport fish species, edible fish, and predators to target. A perfect trip for the hard-core light tackle angler to the novice angler or the family or groups numbering up to 4 anglers.

Tarpon time is over in the back country as the migration of adult fish has taken place. Remaining is our resident population of primarily juvenile Tarpon and these fish are super sensitive to changing conditions and become very "hit or miss". Some Tarpon are still here, but we typically do not target them now! On the days when conditions are right, we have been hooking up on juvenile Tarpon, those fish to about twenty pounds or so and still great fun on light tackle. Not the Tarpon action certainly of March through July but if you happen to hit it right there is some fun to be had.

The 1/2 day to 3/4-day morning departure trips continue to produce well. However, the afternoon water temperatures are not as high now so the later part of the day with good tides can be awesome. Permit can be pursued on the shallow patch reef and isolated shallow wrecks of the back country and the bite is good on quality size fish most days. The Redfish action kicks off during November most years while Snook on the given day continue but we would place them in the "good" to "fair range" now.

Cobia fishing continues as we locate small "wolf packs" of say two to five cruising Cobia to pursue. This is also a time of fast paced "excellent" action from the schools of BIG Jacks, including some huge Yellow Jacks continue to be red hot. Not only are the Yellow Jacks an absolute blast on light tackle and top water, but they are also delicious! Towards the middle of November, we should see the ramping up for Trout fishing. Speckled Sea Trout are already here but the action has not exploded as of now...stay tuned friends! These are one of the best "indicator" species to showcase the full transition into our fall patterns.

The Mangrove and Yellow Tail Snapper fishing remains good in the back country. For serious "table fare" harvest we definitely recommend the reef & wreck trips however to include a few "keeper" fish for lunch or dinner will not be a problem in our shallows.

The predator fishing continues. Giant Barracuda and several species of Sharks in the shallows are on the menu. Our Monster Shark charters are awesome and continually produce multiple larger sharks even on the 1/2-day trips. This is predator time so these aggressive species are always ready to go “head-to-head” so you adrenaline junkies out there should try sight casting top water lures to cruising Barracuda!


This is a time of lowering and more stable water temperatures so good fishing conditions continue to improve from already good action, friends. We still recommend fishing morning trips if going shallow as they remain the most productive over the later afternoon hours for the serious angler. The PM half-day trips have improved and can be quite enjoyable, especially for those people just looking to stay in calm waters and enjoy a fun few hours catching fish. Reef trips in the afternoon fishing slightly deeper waters along with the patch reefs can be very good trips for later in the day departure times. Sharks are plentiful and active in the shallow waters of our back country. Pursuing these heavy weight monsters on light tackle is challenging to say the least and talk about something you cannot do at home!

Let's go Fishing!

Call Key West Pro Guides today to book your charter 305-296-6602 daily 8 AM to 8 PM. We look forward to your call!


Return to Flats Fishing Reports

Back to homepage