Thursday, December 2, 2021

December Fishing in the 10,000 Islands

Brian with a nearshore Gag Grouper on a Captain Rapps Charter. photos By Capt. Pete Rapps

Brian with a nearshore Gag Grouper on a Captain Rapps Charter. photos By Capt. Pete Rapps

Capt. Pete Rapps

Each December, we see some major changes to our local fishery. Around the middle of the month, we typically see our first major cold front come rolling through. We have already seen a few minor cold fronts come through in late November which brought the night temperatures down into the high 40s. The fronts also brought some days where the wind hit 20+ mph. Expect Gulf water temperatures to drop down into the mid-60s later this month.

I always mention to be extremely diligent at reviewing your local tides in December before planning your fishing trip. We have some serious low tides predicted both around the Full and New moon phases in December. On the mornings of Dec. 4-9 and 19-26, you will wonder who let all of the water out of the bays. Every December, I see aggravated anglers pacing impatiently at the launch ramp while they wait hours for enough tide to come in just so they can get their boats off the trailer. If they had only looked at the tide chart, they could have

Eric and a Juvenile Snook.

Eric and a Juvenile Snook.

slept a few hours later. I use to pinpoint the tide predictions in your area.

The near shore flats are alive with action, and if you can get out on a beautiful sunny day without much wind, you will be rewarded with sore arms! All sorts of action fish will enthusiastically 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. Try using jigs with a lot of flash in the tail like a Don’s Potbelly Jig. 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 braided line with 3’ of 20lb fluorocarbon leader. Trout, reds, snook, mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, pompano, jacks and just about everything in between will hit them.

The backwaters have come alive with action too. Target snook for some great “catch and release” action in the mid-backwater creeks and back bays. They will most likely be hiding in the deeper mangrove root pockets waiting for

Tim and Brian with some nice Sheepshead.

Tim and Brian with some nice Sheepshead.

their next meal to swim by on the outgoing tide. Try a Gulp Shrimp on a ¼ oz jig head, live shrimp or better yet some live Pilchards!

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. They both can be had with just a live shrimp and a little finesse.

Need some lessons? Book a charter and we’ll show you how it’s done!


Captain Rapps’ Charters & Guides offers year round expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the 10,000 Islands of the Everglades National Park, and spring time Tarpon-only charters in the Florida Keys. Capt. Rapps’ top notch fleet accommodates men, women, & children of all ages, experienced or not. Between our vast knowledge & experience of the area, and easy going demeanors, you are guaranteed to have a great day. Book your charter 24/7 using the online booking calendar, and see Capt. Rapps’ first class web site for Booking info, Videos, Recipes, Seasonings, and more at


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