Saturday, June 25, 2022

Fishing in the 10,000 Islands in December

Lou Clementi with a nice snook on a Capt. Rapps charter. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Lou Clementi with a nice snook on a Capt. Rapps charter. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Capt. Pete Rapps

December in the 10,000 Islands is a time of change, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s not a time for great fishing! The change of season just means the fish are on the move into different areas. It’s in December that we’ll start seeing our first real cold fronts, and the water temperatures in the Gulf will begin dropping.

Looking at the moon phase, tides and solunar bite times for December, I like what I see for best bet days on the 11th-15th and the 24th-28th. The new moon and full moon low tides will be extremely low these mornings, so maybe wait until the tide starts coming in before pushing off the dock. Look to fish that incoming tide those days for your best success. You can view the current solunar bite times from the link on the front page of my website.

Where you’re really going to find a great deal of action in December is right near the inshore flats, and if your trip isn’t too windy you could have yourself a really exciting day. It’s in this area that you’re going to catch quite a bit of action fish, and they’re going to be taste testing pretty much anything you’re putting in the water. What seem to have the most action are jigs with a bit of flash in the tail, like Don’s Potbelly Jig, which pulls in a lot of success. If you plan to fish with jigs, it’s recommended to stash away a few extra, as the fish will really go crazy over them! With a 10 lb. braided line, and a 20 lb. fluorocarbon leader, you’re going to get into speckled sea trout, bluefish, mackerel, ladyfish, pompano, jacks and more on the flats.

The near shore flats aren’t the only place you’re going to be catching a lot of action, and the backwaters really start to come alive in December as well. In mid-backwater creeks and back bays, casting a Berkley Gulp shrimp on a ¼ oz. jig head into the water can give you a

Capt. Pete Rapps with a small spotted sea trout.

Capt. Pete Rapps with a small spotted sea trout.

really fun experience catching and releasing snook. If you have live bait like pilchards, you will have even better success.

In the deep mangrove root pockets, you’re going to see a lot of sheepshead and mangrove snapper, and this becomes more of a regular catch during the 10,000 Islands December fishing season. If you’re looking to pull a few of these in, try using a live shrimp and a little patience for these light nibblers, and you’ll have some tasty dinner in the cooler.

December is a great month to get on the boat and do a little 10,000 Island fishing, especially if you’re looking for an exciting day that results in bringing home dinner. With the plethora of active fish hanging around the near shore flats, the deep mangrove pockets, and the backwater regions, there is really no bad place to fish. If you come onto the boat prepared, you can expect to have an action-packed day of adventure on the water!

I hope that these forecasts serve as educational and beneficial to you, and that they will help you become a better angler. If you have any questions or would like to book an instructional charter, please contact me at the below email. I also conduct free instructional seminars and workshops to various groups, clubs, tackle shops, and other venues throughout the year. If your group could benefit from a workshop, please do not hesitate to contact me. Also be sure to check out our website for dates of future workshops.


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 springtime Tarpon-only charters in the Florida Keys. Capt. Rapps’ top-notch fleet accommodates men, women, and children of all ages, experienced or not. Between our vast knowledge and experience of the area, and easygoing 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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