Florida Fishing Report - December 21
Florida Fishing ReportFreshwater Central Florida?
Speckled Perch fishing has been steady in 25-feet of water on Lake Santa Fe, with live minnows the top baits. Bass fishermen on Lake Tohopekaliga are finding fish spawning in the grass with this week?s full moon. The water temperatures are still very cold, so most of the fish will miss this month and wait for January and February. The best fish have been caught flipping black and blue colored creature baits in the holes in the grass on the north end of the lake.Lake Okeechobee?
The north end of the lake from Tin House Cove to Third Point is producing bass to 9-pounds for anglers fishing live shiners along the outside grass lines. ?Find a hole in the grass and pitch a shiner in it and you?ll catch bass right now,? said Scott Martin, of Rowland Martin?s Marina in Clewiston. Black crappie fishing remains excellent in 10- to 14-feet of water near the mouth of the Kissimmee River, with live minnows the top bait.Saltwater Fishing ReportFlorida Panhandle Inshore?
Redfish action has been centered around the Waccasassa River, with anglers using live shrimp or shrimp-tipped jigs to work the deeper holes and shorelines. Spotted seatrout action has been on the slow side, but sheepshead are picking up the slack around the rockpiles.Offshore?
On the calm days when big boats can make the run to the Edge they?ve been able to find plenty of action from bonito, kingfish and blackfin tuna to 20-pounds. You can chum or chunk bait, but a live cigar minnow is sure to get eaten. Grouper fishing is outstanding right now if you can get by all the red snapper on the live bottom areas. Live pinfish or sandperch?really any large live or dead bait will deter the snapper and provide limits of grouper. The deeper the water, the better the action.West Central Florida Inshore?
Flats anglers are targeting three species right now?sheepshead, redfish and seatrout, said Capt. Geogg Page of Sarasota. Live shrimp or fiddler crabs fished along the dock and bridge pilings on a #4 hook will catch sheepshead to five pounds. Seatrout and redfish action has been hot in Tampa Bay around the spoil islands of the causeways and near the turtle grass. Dark colored Assassin jerkbaits with a ¼-ounce red jighead were the hot ticket all weekend, with Texas Roach colored Texas Shads the best option.Offshore?
Amberjacks to 40-pounds or more are all over the deeper wrecks, while gag grouper can be caught over live bottom as close as three miles from the entrance to Tampa Bay. Live pinfish, threadfins and pilchards are the best baits for the grouper and amberjacks, and have a chartreuse colored jig on a spinning rod ready for some early season cobia.Southwest Florida Inshore?
Extreme low tides with the full moon are pulling water out of the rivers and bays, so snook, seatrout and redfish are holding in the deeper potholes on the flats. Green, smoke or motor oil colored jerkbaits or live pilchards have been fooling all three species. Look for grouper to hit swimming plugs in water over 8-feet deep.Offshore?
A steady roll of cold fronts and rough seas are keeping most grouper fishermen from getting to the Middle Grounds, but those that have been out report limits of gags on frozen sardines or cigar minnows. Cobia continue to haunt the markers, along with a few kingfish.Florida Keys Inshore?
Spotted seatrout action is red hot out of Flamingo, with anglers catching over 50 fish per person on soft plastics or live shrimp. Sight casting to barracuda on the flats is a great opportunity in the cold weather from the Upper Keys all the way to Key West. Use a chartreuse tube lure and reel it as fast as you can.Offshore--
Sailfish action between Islamorada and Key West remains steady, with most boats getting multiple shots at fish every trip. Capt. Brian Cone on the Conetender had a 50-pound dolphin while sailfishing off Islamorada on Saturday. Off Key West, the sailfish have the ballyhoo balled up in 15- to 25-feet of water, with sight casting to a dozen or more fish per day the norm.Southeast Florida Inshore?
Pompano, ladyfish and small jack crevalles can be caught in the Intracoastal Waterway between Hobe Sound and Fort Pierce using live or frozen shrimp or sandfleas. A #405 Nylure jig bounced on the bottom will also catch all three species. Spotted seatrout season is closed, but lots of fish are coming off the grass flats in front of Little Mud Creek on Drunk Monkey colored Bass Assassin jerkbaits with a 1/8-ounce jighead.Offshore?
The winter sailfish season is showing signs of an epic December. Capt. Greg Bogdan on the Permitted out of Palm Beach caught 23 sailfish out of 30 bites in a single day of fishing on Monday. Bogdan was fishing east of Palm Beach Inlet in 100- to 200-feet of water and flat-lining live blue runners on 7/0 circle hooks.East Central Florida Inshore?
The north jetty at Sebastian Inlet in yielding over-slot redfish to 30-pounds for anglers fishing live mullet or large swimming plugs. Finger mullet fished along the bottom inside the inlet and around the catwalks are producing flounder to 7-pounds, but the run is almost over. Black drum are hitting clams off the catwalks as well.Offshore?
Sailfish and king mackerel highlight the action for blue water trollers off Port Canaveral. The majority of action has been in 170- to 240-feet of water around the bait pods. The boat Know-it-All made a run to the buoys on Friday and caught five wahoo, two big dolphin and lots of small tuna. They were trolling ballyhoo with pink or blue and white skirts.Northeast Florida Inshore?
Jacksonville anglers are finding redfish in the deeper holes in the creeks, as well as sheepshead and seatrout around the oyster bars. Soft plastics and live shrimp are the best baits to use right now, with extreme tides forecast for the entire week. Expect nine foot tides through Christmas. Striped bass fishing in the St. Johns has slowed, due to windy weather, but look for fish to 20-pounds on the bridges after dark, with a white bucktail or swimbait the lures of choice.Offshore?
Bottom fishermen out of Mayport will find all the black sea bass they want in 50- to 90-feet of water over hard bottom. Cut bait will work best. Further out towards the Ledge, anglers are finding wahoo stacked up along with the occasional sailfish. Most of the action is coming on trolled ballyhoo.