December 1st 2017 Fishing Report
CONDITIONS: This week finally delivers a nice quiet environment, especially for fishing. Forecast calls for very light easterly winds till late week with just one spot of predicted rain and even temperatures of mid-60 mornings that ease up to 80 by late afternoon. As an aside still think we will some of those gusty wind afternoons but most will be easterly and not as troublesome for anglers as the western variety. However one trouble spot will be the force of the morning incoming tides. They are predicted at close to a four foot range……that means in circa six hours the water level will rise close to four foot. Fish either go off their feed or go and hide somewhere when that happens. The late morning / afternoon tides will be more gentle and fishable. But it is still warm around here for December……water temp holding 73-75 which effects the cold water fish (sheepshead, drum, whiting, trout) bite. But, lastly, be thankful that the red tide that is enveloping the Sanibel waters up north of us hasn’t decided (yet) to move south. The significant red tide puts the KABOSH on fishing
BACKWATER: The word last week that the expectations on a strong late fall bite was upon us…….was a bit premature. As soon as last week’s temperatures took a 4-5 degree upturn the big keeper sheepshead bite took a downturn. We really won’t have our real sheepshead action until the water temp dips to the mid 60’s. In the meantime the sheepie runts will do a good job in emptying your bait bucket. But, as the wind has stabilized and the rain stopped, the water quality (clarity) has improved and the long awaited return of pompano and mackerel are beginning to show in all of our Passes. Look for action in the early stages of both tides….(the first hour or so). Drift the open waters working small tipped jigs that can reach or near-reach the bottom on a tidal drift. Both species hit with a vengeance and are as exciting to catch as they are to consume. Elsewhere, the small snook are still active and chasing surface bait all over the place. They go for pilchards as the #1 choice but will take most any live bait. Look for them where the current is running and the water surface is dimpled with bait. Most all will be small…..so if you’re targeting them might want to switch over to circle hooks to enhance a safe release. Redfish like these conditions we’re currently experiencing, and, as a result, have been pretty active over the last couple of weeks. Work them on the last stages of the incoming tide way back up in the bushes working a live shrimp tight to mangrove edges …….right into the shaded areas. Good fight on redfish and good on the table as well.
NEARSHORE: With a mild east wind, conditions should be good out here this week. And now getting some positive reports that mackerel and some bluefish are beginning to show is great news for our winter fishing here. Make a run along the first and second reef areas with the fishfinder on full power. Some of the reef spots will light up the screen with assembled bait and that’s where you want to fish. Anchor up-current and get a chum block in the water pronto. Working tipped flashy jigs quickly in the top waters should draw action. Both blues and macks should be iced quickly to retain quality.
OFFSHORE: Good week to make the long run offshore if you’ve been hankering to do so……nice and flat with minimal predicted storms. If you’re heading out to either the grouper hard bottom to the wrecks and reefs you’ll be traveling through areas littered with stone crab traps that have surface markers. Set a lookout on your boat on the way west to scan these floats for sunning tripletail. If sighted, do not disturb, run on and drift back working a tipped dark colored jig right to the TT’s domain. These are formidable fish that are legendary on the table…..so worth the effort. Will give you a bonus if you’re fortunate enough to put a red grouper or two in the box later on.