Winter is certainly making it’s presence known in Central Florida as we start December, the first week has been full of overnight low’s in the 30’s and daytime highs in the 50’s. The beautiful thing about fishing in Florida is it doesn’t matter; there’s always somewhere to fish and something to catch regardless of the weather. The recent cold snap has actually been a welcome relief. Water temperatures have cooled, the baitfish supplies have diminished, the water has gotten very clear, and the fish are beginning to school up. We are smack dab in the middle of a big transition period. People always ask what’s my favorite time of the year to fish. While I enjoy every month for one reason or another, I certainly love the December through March time frame because it’s the time of the year when we post huge catch numbers every day. The top targets for December heading into January arer redfish, speckled trout, black drum, flounder and some occassional snook. Depending on the weather we could be catching anywhere from 5-30 or more of each per day.
Redfish have been our number one opportunity in the Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River, and around Ponce Inlet and the nearby creeks. In the Mosquito Lagoon water levels have fallen and the grass flats are crystal clear, a perfect recipe for schooling juvenile redfish from 4-10lbs In the creeks around New Smyrna Beach, water temperatures are warmer and water levels are higher which is keeping fish on shorelines and on oyster bars. At Ponce Inlet there are trophy redfish over 20lbs are still schooling on the channel bottom. Regardless of where we fish, the redfish bite has been very good. We are catching fish on a variety of lures, including DOA shrimp, soft plastic jerkbaits, spoons, Mirrolure twitchbaits and Gulp baits on jigs. Fly fisherman have had good luck throwing Borski Sliders, Clouser Minnows, and a crab pattern I hand tie. Live bait anglers are having luck freelining live mullet or sight casting with live shrimp or a piece of cut mullet. Catch numbers have varied each day lately, a slow day has been half a dozen fish and great day would be 20-30 redfish.
The Speckled Trout bite has gotten tougher as the water has gotten clearer and colder. Having said that over the past month we have come across numberous trophy size gator trout over 10lbs and countless more in the 4-8lb range. Right now is one of the peak times of the year to try sight casting to big gator trout. On one recent trip we found over 50 gator trout in the 4-10lb range lounging in sand spots just in one small area. Trout season is still closed and won’t reopen until January, so it’s still catch and release. When sight casting trout we have either used DOA shrimp, a soft plastic jerkbait or live bait. When blind casting areas where they are holding we’ve been throwing Mirrolure topwater plugs and twitchbaits like the 7M and 17MR or Strike King swimbaits. Fly anglers lucky enough to throw a fly to a laid up gator trout will have luck on seaducers and deceivers. Typically we aren’t going for numbers in terms of catching trout in the winter, it’s all about catching the trophies!
As the cooler water temperatures settle in on the area, Black Drum schools become more frequent in Mosquito Lagoon and the North Indian River Lagoon. During the next few months we may encounter schools of drum with 100 or more fish. There are lots of Flounder moving in the tidal areas around New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater, and Ponce Inlet area. Mud minnows or finger mullet on jigheads around creek mouths are top ways to fill a cooler with flounder. Snook are on the move to the backcountry winter hangouts. The recent cold weather will fill deeper holes in the backwaters with snook seeking thermal refuge. I’ll be checking for them within the coming week.
December is one of the busiest months of the year and my calendar is nearly half ful at this pointl. January dates have been filling lately and it’s probably the top month of the year for catching sheer numbers of fish. Call or email now to reserve/book a date. Short notice trips are accepted if I have the date open. Read my fishing charter page to view the top reasons why you should book your trip with me today. I look forward to fishing with you soon…386-212-4931.