December fishing in Chokoloskee & Everglades City,
Our first major cold front typically comes after the middle of the month. We have already had a few minor fronts come through in November, however nothing too extreme like we had last November. Expect the Gulf water temperatures to drop to the mid 60's later in the month.
During the winter months it is critical to keep a watchful eye on the tide charts. We have some pretty crazy low tides predicted both around the Full and New moon phases. Early in the days of the 9th – 14th, and 20th-27th you will wonder who pulled the drain plug out of the drink! Every December I see unhappy anglers pacing impatiently at the launch ramp while they wait for enough water to come in just so they can get launch their boats. If they had just looked at a tide chart first, they could have slept a few hours later. I like to use www.SaltwaterTides.com.
The flats and near shore areas have come alive with action. If you can get out on a beautiful sunny day without much wind, you will be rewarded with some sore arms! All sorts of action fish will happily take what you bring to offer. I like to start out fishing the 3-5' grass flats on an incoming tide with a bucktail type jig. I like jigs with a lot of flash in the tail like Don's Potbelly PBGF 2038. Grab a handful because the fish go crazy over them, and will most likely tear them into pieces on you. I like to throw them using 10lb line, with 2' of 20lb fluorocarbon leader. Trout (catch and release until 1/1), Mackerel, Bluefish, Ladyfish, Pompano, Jacks, and just about everything in between will hit them.
The backwaters have come alive with action too. You can get into some good Snook back in the creeks and back bays. They will most likely be hiding in the deeper mangrove root pockets waiting for their next meal to swim by on the outgoing tide. Try a Gulp Shrimp, live shrimp, or better yet some live Pilchards!
Redfish, Sheepshead, and Mangrove Snapper will become a regular catch on the hard oyster bottoms and deep mangrove root pockets in the Gulf side mouths of the many rivers in the 10,000 Islands.
I have developed a Species Availability Chart relative to the Backwater and Nearshore areas that I fish in the Everglades National Park. If you fish offshore or different areas than we do, your catch/availability will vary from what is listed, so use it just as a "general guideline" only. You can see it at www.CaptainRapps.com Hover your mouse over the top "About" icon and click on the "Species Availability Chart" option in the drop down.
Captain Pete Rapps
Hailing out of Chokoloskee Island Park Marina, Chokoloskee, FL.
Capt Rapps has been fishing just south of Marco Island in the Chokoloskee/Everglades City area for over 20 years. He offers expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the Everglades National Park, and is happy to accommodate anyone from men, women, & children of all ages, experienced or not, and those with special needs. Pete and his professional guides are extremely patient and love to teach. You can book a charter right online 24/7. See his online availability calendar, booking info, videos, recipes, seasonings, and first class web site at www.CaptainRapps.com
Dave and Barry with Redfish caught on a Captain Rapps Fishing Charter in Chokoloskee
About The Author: Captain Pete Rapps
Company: Captain Rapps Fishing Charters
Area Reporting: Chokoloske, Everglades City, Everglades National Park
Bio: Welcome to Captain Rapps' charter & guide service. We offer backwater and nearshore flats fishing charters and tours out of Chokoloskee, Everglades City, and the 10,000 island areas of the Everglades National Park, and Tarpon trips at the Bahia Honda Bridge area of Big Pine Key, Florida.