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Special Christmas Fishing Report!

Merry Christmas Everyone! Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean you should stop fishing! Get out on the water! The Fish are biting even during Christmas!

Inshore Fishing Report

Redfish have been very active this past week prior to the big front we saw a lot of fish moving around the area and feeding actively. Mangrove shorelines, grass flats, oyster bars, and residential dock lines were all productive areas for the redfish. We even saw some nice fish around the passes around bridge lights and dock lights at night cruising the bottom. Lots of mullet moving right now has the redfish moving with the schools looking for baits spooked out of the grass behind the mullet schools. Cut mullet, threadfin or pinfish are great dead bait options around those schools or docks. Live shrimp is also a great option for redfish or slow-moving soft plastics on or near the bottom.Snook action seemed to have picked up over the weekend and then dialed back slowly as the front pushed into the area. We are hoping that will pick up with this little warm spell we are having. Should bring more snook feeding actively back to the passes as the bait moves around. We have seen some solid snook around bridge lights and dock lights and the long warm spell we had prior to this recent front had a big push of snook feeding actively in the passes and likely we will see that again this week. On the flats, we are seeing them be more leader shy and picky with the clear waters, but you can get them to chew at the right tides when that water is moving well.

Trout action has been tougher, few big ones caught, but over all we are seeing smaller fish and not huge concentrations like we normally would this time of year. However, its still early and hopefully we will see this trout proliferation if we ever get some solid cool water temps that hangout in the bay. Live shrimp and soft plastics have been key for the trout bite that we have seen recently.

Sheepshead are thick around the area at docks, bridges, piers, and some jetties. Really seeing decent concentrations of sheepshead despite the warmer waters. Lighter tackle, small hooks, minimal weights and a small piece of shrimp, clams, oysters, or a fiddler crab is the best option. However, we are seeing some even biting soft plastics as anglers work dock lines for snook and redfish.

Surprisingly the mackerel seem to persist around the bay still too, they have gone in and out a bit with warming and cooling waters. However, this last warm spell spread them out and we saw them on those deeper flats and around the edges and passes. As always faster moving baits, live white bait or sometimes live shrimp worked well to get them chewing.

Nearshore Fishing Report

Lane snapper finally re opened in federal waters along our near shore waters starting the 23rd. Little early Christmas present for those fishing near shore where lane snapper are plentiful starting around 40-50ft up to 100-110ft and sometimes even inside and outside the range too. We are pumped to be able to keep these great eating fish again that many picture as bycatch, but man does it get felt when one of the staple bycatch species is closed.

We are just a few days away from red grouper re opening near shore, but for now we get to focus on the last few days of gag grouper season. So often people get so focused on gags and then when they close, they stop fishing because ‘grouper aren’t open’ well there’s scamp, red grouper, and strawberry grouper to catch after January first! For now, the gag bite has been a little soft on the backside of that long stretch of calm clear conditions stopped the big influx of gags from the offshore waters near shore. However, this recent front we are hoping got those fish moving again to refresh the near shore waters with some fish for our last stretch of gag grouper harvest. Look for them around those ledges, rock piles, and hard bottom structures starting around 40-60ft up to the deepest offshore waters. Live pinfish, dead threadfins, squirrelfish and a variety of baits have worked to help us target these gag grouper.

Hogfish action has been steady for us too near shore, the big weather kept us off the water for a few days but were confident the backside of this thing will help to re concentrate and refresh our near shore hogfish population. Live shrimp, fiddler crabs, sandfleas and even rock shrimp are all great options for the hogfish on around 20-30lb floro and a 3-4ot hook. Some use even smaller hooks and lighter leader, but this is a safe range for those big mouths and sometimes hard fighting hogfish.

Mangrove snapper are still around near shore, but definitely not seeing huge concentrations of them as of late. Still picking a few while targeting the hogfish in shallower, but once you get to the deepest near shore waters around 70-100ft you have much better luck finding these guys in greater quantities.

Haven’t seen much pelagic action near shore this week, but the upcoming week’s warming weather will perhaps bring us another handful of kingfish near shore. Always have that flat line and pitch rod ready when bottom fishing.

Offshore Fishing Report

Gag grouper bite has been steady offshore lately, not quite as crazy as it was with that long spell of warming calm conditions. However, were hoping this big front stirred em up enough to get the fish moving and bring with it some excited gag grouper as we race offshore behind the front today to try and pick off some keeper gags before the season ends. From what I have seen so far it seems they are excited behind the front and will be biting well through the weekend. Live bait and even dead bait are good options out there in deep water. Seems like the dead bait and anything works while they are excited then the live bait is more needed as the bite slows down on the backside of the stops offshore.

Mangrove snapper have been biting well offshore lately too. Overcast daytime conditions allowed them to bite well for us during our last offshore 39 hour adventure. However, the upcoming week’s high pressure and blue skies will likely hinder that daytime mangrove bite moving most of the action to the night and early morning and dusk time frames.

Scamp grouper have been biting well mixed in with the gags on the ledges, peaks, and rock piles we target offshore. However, once gags close and we push deeper for red grouper we normally see a more consistent bite of really big scamp grouper out there in the 160-250ft range on the potholes and smaller ledges and large areas of hard bottom we target for the red grouper.

We have seen some nice yellowtail, almacos, vermillions and porgies while offshore fishing for the mangroves, gags, and scamp grouper. Once we push deep after the first of the year to target those fat deep water red grouper on potholes, we should see some really large sized vermillions and plentiful porgies mixed in with the potential for those large sized yellowtail too.


Author Jboggs

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"If you are too busy to go fishing, you're just too darn busy"