Sunday, April 11, 2021

December Forecast For Fishing the 10,000 Islands


A nice over slot redfish released after a quick photo on a recent Capt. Rapps charter. Photo by Capt. Pete Rapps

A nice over slot redfish released after a quick photo on a recent Capt. Rapps charter. Photo by Capt. Pete Rapps

With air temperatures cooling down to the 70s, December is the ideal time for fishing in the flats and backcountry. In the creeks and back bays, hiding among the mangrove roots, are hungry fish looking for their next meal. You should be able to find an abundance of fish to keep your reel busy all month. December offers some really exciting angling opportunities for both the experienced fisherman and the beginner, and every skill level in between.

A lot of people have been asking how the fishing is since Hurricane Irma. Well the answer is in all reality is… “It’s been on fire.” Really, the fishing this fall has surpassed many previous falls. We have been catching a ton of redfish, black drum, snook, sheepshead, trout and more. Several charters in the past few weeks have produced 40 plus redfish in 4- and 6-hour trips. There have been zero negative effects on the fish because of the hurricane. If you think about it, to the fish, it was just a windy day and they have long forgot about that I am sure.



Here’s what to target this month:

If you’re looking for a challenging sport fish, now is the time to angle for snook. Snook is one of the best fighting fishes and offer several runs and high flying jumps. They’ll also use any mangrove roots or other obstructions to evade the catch. They are truly an exciting catch. With food in limited supply, I recommend grabbing live bait such as shrimp, pilchards, mullets, and sardines. Snook especially love lively bait, so it’s a great idea to fresh catch the bait when you start out so you have something appealing for them. Just remember snook are catch and release only starting December

1st, so take a great photo for your bragging rights and then set them free!

Redfish are strong and have a lot of stamina, with long bullish runs. They are great targets for novice and pros alike. They are ravenous feeders loving both live and cut bait. I recommend shrimp to grab their attention. A lot of fishermen have good luck with artificial bait like weedless spoons and plastic-tail jigs as well. You can take one of them home per licensed angler as long as they are between 18” and 27” in length.

I recommend spotted sea trout this time of year also because they are a showy surface fighter, but not a long runner. Plus, they are a delicious table fish, so you can take home and enjoy your prize. I recommend using live shrimp, Gulp shrimp, bucktail jigs, or live pilchards They are an abundant fish, so you can take home four trout at 15”– 20” with you to share with your family and friends. One of those four can be over 20”.

Keep in mind that if you are interested in learning more about fishing in our area, it’s best to hire a professional guide before going out on your own to gain local knowledge of tackle, baits, areas to fish, local regulations, and more. Send us an email or give us a call to schedule an “on the water” educational fishing charter.

Check back next month for the January fishing forecast and good luck out there!

Captain Rapps’ Charters & Guides offers expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the 10,000 Islands of the Everglades National Park, and tarpon-only charters in the Florida Keys. Capt. Rapps’ top-notch team accommodates men, women and children of all ages, experienced or not, and those with special needs. Between their vast knowledge and experience of the area, and easygoing demeanors, you are guaranteed to have a great day. Book your charter 24/7 using the online booking calendar, see Capt. Rapps’ first class web site at, or call 239-571-1756.

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