Fishing Report: December 2018 “Amelia Island”

              Author:  Terry D Lacoss
               111 Centre St.
               Fernandina Beach, Fl. 32034


Fishing Report: December 2018 “Amelia Island”


When winter winds are light and variable, deep sea bottom fishing will produce great fishing action for black sea bass and gag grouper during the month of December.  Some of the more productive offshore live bottoms, wrecks and lime rock ledges are located fairly close to shore as well where small boats can access this winter fishery.  Included are KBY, FA, FC, FB and Schultz’s Market, all located within 12 nautical miles from either the Nassau or St. Mary’s inlets.  Look for some of the best bottom fishing action to come when there are stable weather conditions with warming water temperatures.

Fishing dead on the bottom with fresh squid, cut and deep jigging with a five-ounce bucktail jig in the white color pattern and tipped with a small piece of squid is an excellent winter bottom fishing tactic.  Black sea bass are excellent eating and can weigh up to four-pounds.

Striking fish including kingfish and wahoo is excellent at Northeast Florida’s “Elton Bottom” where deep water live bottoms hold plenty of bait fish including large blue runners. Be sure and bring along plenty of bait catcher rigs while deep jigging live blue runners, Spanish sardines and cigar minnows while enjoying a holiday kingfish bite.

Nassau Sound and St. Mary’s inlet and beach fishermen will be targeting black drum and excellent eating whiting while fishing dead on the bottom.  A quarter piece of blue crab works best for black drum while ultra-fresh shrimp is the bait of choice for winter whiting.  Tides are critical with the last of the in-coming and the first of the out-going tides producing the best action.  Also if a flood tide arrives during the afternoon when water temperatures are warmest, look for the best black drum and whiting fishing action to come.

Back country fishermen will find redfish weighing to 10-pounds  schooling on warming mud flats during the afternoon as well.  Look for large bays that have a mud bottom where crabs and shrimp are plentiful and also key to locating a nice winter redfish bite.  Look for the best action to come during a low afternoon tide as well when water temperatures are warmest.  Fish slow along the bottom with a ¼ ounce led head rigged with a Berkley Gulp shrimp in the “New Penny” or white with a chartreuse tail color patterns.

Winter sea trout action is also excellent, particularly in the deep turns of tidal rivers and the Intra Coastal waterway.  Cast a ¼ ounce led head jig rigged with a chartreuse, or white curly plastic tail is key when fished deep and slow for winter specks.  Once the tide begins to fall, drift large live shrimp under a trout float in 5-15 feet of water close to boat docks, creek mouths and large oyster laden flats.

During high water tides a black and silver mullet pattern count down Rapala worked slowly down the deep edge of intra-coastal ledges is a deadly technique for “Gator” size sea trout.  One of the very best big trout drops includes the deep intra-coastal ledges located just north of the historic town of Fernandina Beach.

Sheepshead weighing to 10-pounds will be taking fiddler crabs fished close to barnacle clad jetty rocks and dock pilings.  There is also an excellent winter sheepshead bite at KBY reef where old concrete rubble is covered with barnacles as well.

Trophy size largemouth bass will be fattening up for the coming spawn during late December in the many tidal brackish rivers including Lofton and Boggy creeks.  Fishing in the deep turns of the rivers where a shallow shelf is key.  Wild shiners fished under a small float is always a sure bet for hooking into winter bass that can weigh up to 12-pounds.  There are a multitude of ponds and small lakes located on Amelia Island and neighboring countryside that offer excellent bass fishing during the month of winter as well.  Fish the deeper edges while working a ¾ ounce Rattle Trap in the chrome and blue color pattern.  Be sure and ask permission first and practice catch and release!
For more fishing information please visit, or call 904-261-2870.