December In The Keys

By: Capt. Bruce Andersen

Here we are. Winter has finally rolled around, and the fishing is changing every day. Shifting into the winter patterns. It’s a great time to go out fishing down here. This time of year, has always been one of my favorite times to fish and live in the keys. We’ve got pelagic predators charging down the edge of the reef chasing enormous schools of bait, swarms of Spanish mackerel, schools of mangrove snapper and packs of cobia showing up around the wrecks out in the gulf, and an awesome combination of bottom and reef fishing for various types of snapper and grouper everywhere from the shallow patch reefs all the way out to the deep drop grounds.

With the days getting shorter and the temperatures cooling down the fishing slowly changes and gives all kinds of opportunities for amazing action. One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to look for sailfish chasing bait up on top of the reef. In addition to the sails, you can also find dolphin and a mix of other sportfish chasing schools of ballyhoo. Look for frigate birds diving down to catch the ballyhoo being chased to the surface. From far away it will appear as white water on the surface, usually moving in the direction the sportfish is traveling. When you get close all of the splashing baitfish will sound like a huge shower has been turned on. This is why we call them bait showers. Various types of live bait can work, but it’s best to match what they’re chasing so casting a live ballyhoo is usually the way to go. When you get close you can often make out the sailfish just under the surface and sometimes will even see him slash at the ballyhoo with his bill. When it all comes together it’s one of the most exciting types of fishing you can find anywhere.

Whether you’re out there chasing ballyhoo showers or getting in on any of the other types of fishing available this time of year there’s no doubt that not much can beat fishing in the Florida Keys this time of year!

You can reach Captain Bruce Andersen at Capt. Easy Charters,
MM 85, call 305.360.2120 or email at: