December 2018 Fishing Report
For today’s live action call 866-259-4205
December is here bringing several newly arriving fish species to pursue. Fantastic action for Key West angling continues through years end. From the Flats and Back Country to Offshore the overall population and wide variety of species in our local waters is changing yet still offers the light tackle angler so many options…
Our offshore fishing has settled in, vastly improving our light tackle action. Gone are the warm water species replaced with some outstanding and explosive species for the trolling fan. December kicks off the Kingfish action. Big “Smoker” Kingfish are providing excellent action well offshore and occasionally nearer the reef. The Mackerel family is here in huge numbers in general with quality size Cero and Spanish of late. December remains an excellent time to target the action packed Black Fin Tuna maybe not at the levels of November but still very respectable. There is nothing better than crossing paths with a school of Black Fin on the hunt…total chaos but crazy fun. We typically continue taking the solitary Wahoo during December. The iconic Sailfish bite continues to improve with ultimately January being the real kick off for our most productive time frame which continues for months into the spring. Unfortunately, we say good bye for the most part to the wonderful Mahi (Dolphin fish) as the cooler water temperatures force a migration for most of them away from our local waters. Soon as this is said we will have a few days of Mahi action fire up…there seems to always be a few Mahi around in our waters but in fairness to the angler…think of them as a wonderful bonus fish when they come in the boat. The apex predators remain active with December being a good month for large Barracuda. We are moving into an exciting period for offshore however, we believe a ½-day charter still has some challenges with ever changing travel times between marina and fishing grounds. Best bet book at least the ¾ day (six-hour trip) especially if you are a party of three or four or more.
Reef & Wreck:
December can bring winds however the waters on the reef verses further offshore will remain comfortable most days. This continues to be a good time for the angler with concerns about rough sea conditions to head out to the nearer shore wreck sites as well. The “reef donkey” is here in big numbers and ready to dislocate the angler’s shoulders. Amberjack fishing is typically very good for the next few months especially deep dropping on the most remote deeper wreck sites. The Cobia action becomes excellent for the next few months leading into the new year. Cobia typically run in smaller groups of 3 to 5 fish often at the surface providing some outstanding sight casting opportunity to the angler. The Snapper family continues to produce numbers with December typically being the month when our local favorite the Mutton Snapper starts to ramp up and by mid to later December get busy. The Yellowtail and Mangrove numbers make up for the larger Mutton’s absence most days. The Grouper family will usually not disappoint for December as the last month to harvest Grouper before our season closes January 1st. Our elusive Permit will still be making their presence known but at best I would place them in the “good” range. Always challenging, the Permit is a sought-after sport fish and prized by anglers from around the planet. December will still offer the angler a fair chance for success.
Always a fun and productive trip the back country this time of year moves into an excellent time for fast paced action while targeting a very wide variety of species. Anglers will appreciate our calm, crystal clear waters. The overall population of fish in the back country continues to grow with several sport fish species, edible fish, and predators to target but also numerous schooling species arrive to provide nonstop action most days. Trout and Pompano, huge schools of Jacks, Lady Fish, Blue Runners, Grunts, Porgies…the list is nearly endless in December. A perfect trip for the hard-core light tackle angler to the novice angler. A perfect trip for the family or groups numbering up to 4 anglers per boat.
Tarpon time is over in the back country. Remaining is our small resident population of juvenile Tarpon however these fish are super sensitive to changing conditions and become very “hit or miss”. Some Tarpon are still here but we typically do not target them for the next few months.
The ½ day to ¾ day morning departure trips continue to produce well however the afternoon water temperatures are not as high now so the later part of the day with good tides can be awesome.Â The Mangrove and Yellow Tail Snapper fishing remains good in the back country. For serious “table fare” harvest we definitely recommend the reef & wreck trips now but to include a few “keeper” fish for lunch or dinner will not be a problem in our shallows. The predator fishing continues. Giant Barracuda and several species of Sharks in the shallows are on the hit list. Our Monster Shark charters are awesome and continually produce multiple larger sharks even on the ½-day trips. December is predator time, so these aggressive species are always ready to go “head to head”. We “highly recommend” a back-country charter this time of year and especially for those guests looking for a shorter than full day trip.
Short periods of decent Bonefish action continue for the patient angler in December. Permit typically will have moved off the flats following forage by December. Tarpon are completely out of action on the flats for now. The flats angler should now include Barracuda and sharks on his hit list. Just a remainder that we provide a true “flats fishing experience” and this should not be confused with the back-country fishing. These are two totally different experiences and if you are unsure of the differences call us at 866-259-4205 for more insights.
This is a time of lower and more stable water temperatures so good fishing conditions continue, friends. We still recommend fishing morning trips if going shallow as they remain the most productive over the later afternoon hours for the serious angler based upon the tides of course. The PM half day trips have improved and can be quite enjoyable especially for those people just looking to stay in calm waters and enjoy a fun few hours catching fish. Reef trips in the afternoon fishing slightly deeper waters along with the patch reefs can be very good trips for later in the day departure times. Sharks are plentiful and active. Pursuing these heavy weight monsters on light tackle is challenging to say the least and talk about something you cannot do at home!
Let’s go Fishing!
Call Key West Pro Guides today to book your charter 866-259-4205
Daily 7 AM to 9 PM. We look forward to your call!