This December has been a good month for hitting residential canals for snook, reds and sheepshead well as the flats for reds and trout.
The snook have been biting better on soft plastic artificial as opposed to live shrimp. Best success has been using a white paddle tail soft plastic fish rigged weedless to work docks and the area adjacent to docks and mangrove shoreline. Most of the snook have been under slot, but we have been able to land a few nice slot size fish. With the season closed, snook fishing is all catch and release.
For dock fishing for reds, the bait of choice for me is shrimp. My style of dock fishing is up close and personal giving me the chance to cast way up into the shadows. I also employ a hit and run method, not spending more than 10 minutes on a dock if the bite slows. Using this hit and run method helps me locate fish and increase chances especially on days when my “go to docks” are not producing. The kayak is perfect for this approach with its low profile and stealth approach. The kayak also allows you to be creative to finding the best angle to pitch baits up under the dock. Being able to switch up the angle is a huge advantage, such as pitching baits from the backside of the dock and a difference maker on some days. Of course, the great by catch of dock fishing with shrimp is the sheepsheads, who share the same family as snapper, a great eating family
The reds and trout are also scattered across the grass flats. To locate these fish I have been drifting the flats, using soft plastic baits to cover more ground. The reds have been in shallows while the trout have been working the deeper drop offs on the edge of the flats. Oddly enough, the water has been warming up as we get further into the month. From my experience, trout action heats up as the water temp cools off. Once temps drop, the slot size trout should school up in deeper holes near flats and the big gator trout typically work the shallower edges alone.
I typically never fish the gulf near shore reefs in late December or January due to water temps dropping below 65 and shutting the bite down and making it to cold to kayak fish in. But water temperatures are rising towards 70 degrees and I am hoping to add a report to this post in the next few days.
Merry Christmas and Fish On!!