Six complete years of the Florida Kayak Fishing Forecast: It is one of the best read reports on capmel.com. My idea, it has helped people with planning their visits to my state. NT
By Neil Taylor and capmel.com kayak fishing staff contributors
Around the state:
It is a great time for kayak fishing “if” the weather cooperates. I call December a “lottery month”, one where you never know what you are going to get. Usually it is pretty good. Different challenges: Tampa Bay and West Central Florida have fought Red Tide. All hopes are that this bloom is on it’s way out. In my areas, the Red Tide never hurt the fish in most of my areas. Over the rest of the state: December is usually one excellent month for fishing. Fish around the fronts. Take a day off if it is the arrival day of a front. Just before and just after fronts can be very good.
The Tampa Bay region– Interesting setup for December. The action through Fall being so good, the hopes are that it will be a mild winter and that the action that existed in November will just roll right into December. Speckled trout action is outstanding in the last month of the year. But really, so is almost everything else. The fish don’t leave: The move around, and if the adjustments are made, anglers should enjoy catches just as good as they had in October and November. If there is a surge in cold fronts, pushing the rest of the inshore baitfish out, then flounder action may subside for a while. Redfish will go where the food is. Without other things to eat, they move to the canals, creeks and rivers where there are species like killifish, crabs and maybe shrimp to forage. Red Tide hurt the Fort Desoto area.
Redfish make me sad. Snook make me sad. We have good fishing opportunities but things have changed and not for the better. Management decisions derelict, it could be ten years until we see things normalize if that ever happens at all. If I was in charge it would.
There are lots of options in the absence of snook and redfish. Trout are an easy one. Trout are solid and not hard to find or catch. Flounder are good. Pompano MIGHT be good but they could leave. A cobia or king mackerel are possible this month.
The easy opportunities that December brings are for species like silver trout and whiting. They are already here. It looks like it will be a spectacular year for both species. Not exotic, they are easy to find and they are generally always ready to eat. Not large, use the lightest tackle you have for more fun. To learn how and where to target these species, take a look at this article:
In the Southwest “Suncoast” area of Florida, big trout should be on tap. With Red Tide covering our entire coast things are slightly tougher than they would normally be but not extremely bad. Fish are moving back in. It should continue to improve with every cold front. Pompano load up here December through March. The Tampa Bay pompano move in here and they are an easy one to catch.
The East coast of Florida,
Big drum. Redfish. Trout. That’s the bulk of it. Don’t forget the flounder run at Sebastian. Water quality improved from the past six months: It is time to go. Get in on this action we have here. There’s fish: Someone’s gotta catch them.
In the Big Bend of Florida’s Panhandle, Robert Baker at TnT Hideaway- The chill of December will create challenges, but the fish will be there: Will you dress warm enough and get out after them? The region will have opportunities for trout, redfish and also other options like drum and flounder. Don’t pass on opportunities to go! http://www.tnthideaway.com/ . Sunjammers in Panama City is another great stop: For equipment and for fishing information. Stop in and see Brad Stephens.
In Northeast Florida: Action is holding up for redfish, trout but falling off for flounder. The challenge for the next few months will be weather, but we have places to get out of the wind and still have great kayak fishing outings. To the south, flounder will be possible but in our area count on sheepshead and redfish to be the best targets.
In the greater South Florida area: December: No problem! Happy holidays! And happy fishin’! The Everglades will provide action for a lot of species- Trout, redfish and snook; plus tarpon, goliath grouper and sharks. Pelagics will continue to be available. Bottom fishing for bigger reef species is also an option but must be done smartly with safety as priority “1”. We have better kayak fishing opportunities in the dead of winter than others.
The tip of the month:
Make a resolution. “Lose some weight.” Not on the scale! On your jighead. Using a 1/16-ounce jighead and a much lighter leader is a great option for your dead-of-winter fishing. Going with lighter weight, the finessing of lures to sluggish fish will lead to more strikes without jamming in the weeds as badly. Overall pace of your retrieve: Slower is going to be better. With lighter jigheads, the slower presentation is necessary but it is also going to add flutter movement to your lures, something that should lead to more strikes.
Need help learning how to kayak fish? Hire one of our guides on staff for your region and take advantage of their knowledge and sharpen your own skills! Neil is an instructor and now: A published author.
Get out and into the action but as always: Be careful out there!
Neil Taylor, www.capmel.com site administrator