Florida Fishing Report - December 13

Florida Fishing ReportFRESHWATERCentral Florida--Bass fishing on Lake Kissimmee has been consistent for pre-spawn fish up to 6-pounds. Anglers flipping the outside grass lines with black/blue glitter crawfish and creature baits are catching the larger fish. The shoreline around Brahma Island has some nice fish on it right now. Live shiners fished around the hydrilla mats are yielding an average of 20 bass per trip, with the largest around 8-pounds. Expect the cooler weather hitting Florida this week to shut down the bass bite and kick up the black crappie (speckled perch bite).Lake Okeechobee?Bass fishing continues to be the best locals have seen in years, with wild shiners fished along the outside grass lines producing up to 30 fish a day right now. Many of the bass are in the 3- to 6-pound class, with fish like the 10-pound 12-ounce bass caught by Lewis Watson coming in daily. Nighttime fishing in the Kissimmee River for speckled perch (black crappie) is yielding 15- to 25 fish per trip for anglers fishing near the bridge with live minnows under the lights.SALTWATERFlorida PanhandleInshore?Bull redfish over the 18-27 inch slot limit are being caught along the beaches and in the passes throughout the panhandle. The inside waters of Pensacola Bay are seeing smaller reds exhibiting ?balling? behavior where they school up and form a circular ball of fish. Assassin jerkbaits, live shrimp and crab flies have been the more popular baits. For the fish in the open Gulf, chartreuse jigs and diving plugs are the top offerings. Fish to 25-pouynds have been caught their week.Offshore?The Gulf grouper population is moving closer to shore, with legal fish being caught in anywhere from 15- to 70-feet of water. Cooler temperatures this week ought to bring the spawning aggregations into shallow water where they can be caught by anglers trolling large lipped plugs or anchoring up and fishing live blue runners or cut bait.West Central FloridaInshore?Slot-sized redfish are running the coves and shorelines of Tampa Bay, with fish being caught along the east bank on Gulp! and Assassin New Penny colored jerkbaits with a red 1/8-ounce jighead. The water temperature in the bay is 59 degrees right now, so you have to work the baits slowly, with long pauses for the bait to rest on the bottom. Bluefish and spotted seatrout are on the grass flats, and good numbers of Spanish mackerel are being caught around the Skyway Pier.Offshore--Grouper fishing has been outstanding on the days when you can get out, reports Capt. Ozzie Fischer. Live pinfish or threadfins on the bottom are catching 20 or more fish per trip. Fischer has been working the hard bottom areas two to five miles from the beach. King mackerel to 25 pounds have been in the same areas, while Spanish mackerel can be found around the diving birds close to shore.Southwest FloridaInshore?Water temperatures have dropped into the low 60?s, shutting off any snook or tarpon action, but there are tons of sub-slot redfish along the shorelines and seatrout to 5-pounds over the grass flats. Target both species with a Bass Assassin Drunk Monkey colored Sea Shad on a 1/8-ounce jighead. Some pompano and bluefish are also starting to show, particularly along the beaches. Capt. Glen Poupolo had 22 redfish and lots of trout fishing out of Everglades City.Offshore?The best fishing has been for gag grouper to 15-pounds along the sections of hard bottom from 5- to 15-miles off the beach. Live pinfish, pilchards and grunt plugs are the top grouper baits. A 49-pound cobia was caught aboard the ?Sea Legs? out of Fort Myers on Friday.Florida KeysInshore? Backcountry anglers are finding schools of Spanish mackerel and lane snapper in the deeper areas on live pilchards and shrimp, while boats fishing the Flamingo area of Florida Bay are locating good concentrations of redfish and mostly small seatrout. Liver shrimp, shrimp-tipped jigs and Assassin jerkbaits have been the top offerings. Bonefish action has come to a standstill because of the cooler temperatures.Offshore-- Sailfish action has been steady off Islamorada for anglers targeting fish showering ballyhoo on the reefs or tailing in the shallow areas. Most boats are catching 3-4 fish per trip on live pilchards, goggle-eyes or threadfins. Dolphin fishing has been slow, but the blackfin tuna are starting to show on the deeper wrecks southwest of Key West.   Southeast FloridaInshore?Nighttime tarpon action has been steady around the bridges leading onto Key Biscayne and the Venetian Causeway for anglers fishing live shrimp along the shadow lines. Most of the tarpon have been under 50-pounds, with larger fish holding in Government Cut and the Ft. Lauderdale canals. The tarpon in the inlets and along the beaches are feeding on shrimp on a jighead, while the canal fish prefer a live mullet.Offshore--Sailfish anglers fishing live pilchards or goggle-eyes from Fowey Light up to the Martini Glass are releasing up to ten or more fish in a trip. The boat ?High Standards? out of Miami had 11 sailfish releases on Saturday fishing along a color line in 130-feet of water. Anglers reported seeing a fair number of ?tailers,? a name given to fish that are seen cruising the surface as they migrate south, but the larger potion were caught by anglers fishing live baits off of kites.East Central FloridaInshore?The flounder bite at Sebastian Inlet has been red hot with the cooler weather. Live or dead finger mullet or mud minnows are catching flatties to 12-pounds. There?s also a lot of bluefish mixed in, and some nice redfish being caught on the beach side of the north jetty. Redfish continue to be the mainstay for anglers fishing the Mosquito Lagoon, with good concentrations of fish around the Haulover Canal. Pompano are being caught in the surf on clams and shrimp.Offshore?Amberjack, grouper, cobia are being caught by anglers fishing the reefs and wrecks with live bait, squid or cut bait. Large jigging spoons like the Williamson Speed Jig or the Shimano Butterfly Jig are also working well. Spanish mackerel and bluefish can be caught by boaters trolling spoons or swimming plugs closer to shore.Northeast FloridaInshore?Spotted seatrout and redfish action around the Tiger Islands has been steady for anglers using soft plastics, spoons and live shrimp, but the hot bite has been for sheepshead around the jetties of Fernandina Beach with live fiddler crabs.Offshore? Sailfish, wahoo and blackfin tuna have been the mainstays for bluewater anglers fishing the Offshore Ledge from Daytona Beach up to Amelia Island. Trolled ballyhoo or pink and black Jetheads have been whacking blackfins to around 30-pounds, while swimming plugs, rigged ballyhoo and swimming mullet have taken the wahoo and sailfish. The wahoo bite hasn?t kicked into full gear yet, but most boats targeting the speedsters are getting between one and three bites.
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