December - January Offshore Gulf Fishing Forecast
By, Capt. Dave Pinkham
Cobia made a decent showing in December. And, although
they are a migratory species, and generally move father
south as the gulf's water temperature decline, there is still a
good possibility depending on the weather of course, that
there may be some cobia hanging around some of the
offshore artificial reefs. When fishing these spots there are
two methods you can use this time of the year, drift fishing
and anchoring over the structure. If you do anchor down,
attempt to get directly over the structure. This will put the
odds in your favor for catching fish. When drift fishing, try
fishing at different depths with live baits. Drifting these
areas will work best on the days the winds are light.
Gag grouper action is really picking up now that we've had
a taste of winter. The same cold fronts that pushed the
kingfish south of here will often push gag grouper closer to
the coastline. To catch gag grouper I suggest with the aid of
your fish finder, you locate some hard bottom such as a
ledge, an area of coral, shipwreck, or one of the artificial
reefs. Once again, try to get your boat anchored over or
near the structure. Now, using live and or cut bait drop your
rig to the bottom. It's that simple! A good stout rod with
heavy line (50-pound test) should be used. Gags tend to hit
hard, and then run for the nearest cover, so hang on tight
and crank the handle!
Mangrove snapper should help put dinner on the table on
the days the gags don't want to cooperate. You'll find the
snappers at the same bottom structures as the groupers
inhabit. When targeting snappers use a lighter rod. I prefer
to use a 20 to 30-pound rig. Snapper often will hit just about
any natural bait when they are hungry. Although mangrove
are the most commonly caught snapper for this area, with
the cooler water temperatures look to catch others species
such as muttons, yellow tails, lanes, and vermilions as well.
Greater amberjack fishing should be good through the
month. To catch the keepers, don’t stop running west until
you hit 100-foot of water or deeper. These big bruisers will
make a believer out of anyone that’s looking for a real
battle. Amberjack can usually be found in areas around
sunken structures such as wrecks, ledges, and springs.
Live bait fish, and or rapidly retrieved jigs or lures will get
them fired up and feeding.
Remember if you're not out fishin you're wishin you were.
Get out and go fishin cuz' it's good fer ya!
Capt. Dave Pinkham has been on fishing guide on the
Southwest coast of Florida for more than 20 years.
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