As we wrap up this uniquely eventful year, I want to take a moment to thank all of our sponsors, readers and clients for their continued support. Without you, what we do would not be possible. I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season and a very Merry Christmas.
Despite the inconsistent weather and water conditions typically associated with December, there are still plenty of fishing opportunities to enjoy. Between cold fronts, there are usually a few days of calm, warm conditions when you can find good numbers of redfish and trout on the flats and in various other locations throughout the bays. I like to narrow my search area to reasonable distances from creeks, bayous, the Intracoastal Waterway, big holes on the flats and other areas of deeper water where fish take shelter during severe cold fronts.
While I thoroughly enjoy flats fishing and sight casting to cruising redfish in shallow water, this is the time of the year when I’ll put on my waders and creep around in deep tidal pools looking for large speckled trout. I realize going in that I’ll probably get only a handful of bites (and yes, the water is cold!) with this slow style of fishing with suspending baits but, when those heavy thumps happen, it’s worth all the trouble.
Another good redfish pattern right now is targeting the deep end of docks. Docks with a nice sandy drop off will typically hold good-sized schools of fish throughout the colder months – and it’s not always just redfish. You’ll also have a good chance of catching black drum, sheepshead and the occasional flounder. Generally, when fishing docks this time of the year, I opt for using live shrimp on a light split shot, which gives me the best shot at the widest variety of fish. If the water is deep enough (10’-15’), then there is a good chance that a few gag groupers could be hanging around as well.
December has been a good month for me when it comes to catching gag grouper (the season ends December 31). Most of my success has come when trolling big plugs, which allows me to cover the most amount of water and keep baits down deep with the least amount of effort. I also like to use soft plastic baits and hair jigs. Remember to fish these lures slowly and right down along the bottom. Of course, you can always drop a good-sized live bait down into their domain and let nature run its course; however, this technique will get you “rocked up” more often so that’s the tradeoff.
If you are just out looking to get a bite, the St. Andrews Pass almost always has some cooperative fish. Deep water, current and structure provide habitat for all species of fish including mangrove snapper, sheepshead, black drum, redfish, black sea bass, flounder, bluefish and many others. You may not catch all species every day but, on any given day that you use your electronics and put together a good game plan, you can be successful.
As always, if you have questions about what’s biting, how to catch them or want to book a trip, give me a call or shoot me an email. Good luck!