The Cooler Temperatures of December Make the Snapper Fishing Hot
Capt. Paul Roydhouse
December 6, 2016
Fort Lauderdale - Saltwater Fishing Report
It never really gets cold in Fort Lauderdale. Our average temperature through the winter months is still in the middle 70's. The winter months do however bring with them a change in the fishing. Groupers, snappers, kingfish and cobia all bite better in the winter months than any other time of year and those are our main targets on our drift boat. Our drift boat, the Catch My Drift, is coming in with some great catches this week.
On our morning trips, kingfish action is the ticket. Kingfish usually bite best in the early hours of the day. We're catching them using whole ballyhoo and sardines. These whole baits, when positioned mid-depth or on the surface, work well for kingfish, tuna, mahi and other larger fishes that are caught higher up in the water columns.
Afternoon trips are best for groupers and larger snappers. Red groupers in particular are biting good on our afternoon trips. Groupers go out of season in January so you have a few more weeks to go out and catch them before you have to catch and release them. Red, black and gag groupers are the groupers that we catch this time of year on our drift fishing trips. Mutton snappers are also the target on the afternoon trips. Muttons are the bigger snappers that we catch and they bite better later in the day. Muttons are picky eaters and shy away from baits that aren't presented perfectly. To catch a mutton, it takes a good feel for the bite, which you can only get from experience fishing the drift boats. The better your 'feel' for the bite, the better your chances of hooking a mutton snapper. Best advice I have for mutton fishermen is to come out fishing, see who is catching the muttons and then pick their brain to see exactly how they do it. I don't mind admitting, that some of our 'regular' (or should I say 'irregular') customers are better at mutton fishing than me.
Night fishing is our action trip. On our night trips, we anchor and chum. The boat doesn't move, it's stationary. We chum the water and try to draw the fish to us. This our trip that we catch the smaller yet more numerous snappers, yellowtail and mangroves. These snappers bite best at night after dark. These snappers are nocturnal feeders and get a lot more 'brave' once the lights go out. When we start at a spot, it takes time to get the chum to work for us, so the bite usually starts off slow and gets better and better the longer you fish the spot. Sometimes the sharks move in and shut the spot down. This time of year the yellowtails seem to bite in shallower waters and mangroves tend to bite deeper. Action is always best at night and while the fish may not be as big as the fish we catch during the day, the numbers of them are much bigger. Good luck to everyone fishing this week. I'll sea ya on the water.
Capt. Paul Roydhouse
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