December is a month filled with outstanding fishing opportunities. It is impacted by cooler weather and windy conditions caused by passing cold fronts. Changes in water temperatures affect both fish behavior and angling tactics, so a better understanding of where and how to fish will result in better outcomes. As the cold weather settles in on America many anglers can only dream of a location where stretching line is a year-round endeavor, so we are truly blessed to live here in Central Florida where our fishing only gets better during the winter. Currently water levels are very high on both the St Johns River system and the inshore saltwater lagoons, but as we enter our dry season water level will decrease and fishing conditions will improve.
Once the ramps open back up on the St Johns River system good numbers of speckled perch (black crappie) will show up in the upper St Johns River, and the big lakes of Monroe, Jessup and Harney. Fish structure or slow troll Road Runner jigs or live minnows near the bottom for better results. Also, look for the American shad to begin showing up near the end of the month on their winter spawning run. The American shad and crappie are incredible species to catch on light tackle and fly, and if you have never experienced these fisheries, you should give it a shot.
On the inshore flats water levels are currently high. Both redfish and sea trout are currently catch and release and they will remain in shallow water if the water temperatures stay in the seventies. Fish in protected areas and sunny spots on cooler days and look for fish to be holding in deeper pockets until the sun gets overhead. The mullet run is over, so it is important to remember saltwater gamefish will be transitioning their feeding habits from finfish to shrimp and crabs, so downsize your lure and bait size and lure selection accordingly.