Learning To Fish West Central Florida’s Rivers Can Be Key To Success On The Water In December By: Capt. Mike Anderson

Looking for a great way to beat the cold and wind of December? Try fishing the five incredible rivers that dump into Tampa Bay. That’s where I spend almost all of my December time on the water.

These rivers, the Alafia, Palm, Hillsborough, Little Manatee and Manatee all offer great winter time fishing. They also provide a perfect place to hide from December’s breezy and cooler conditions.

Snook take refuge in the rivers where freshwater springs, dark bottoms and deep channels provide a safe zone from chilly water temps. As water temps cool down snook tend to change their eating habits and save their energy for battling the cold. However, plenty of action can be had by slowing down the presentation of your plastics and by fishing live shrimp.

Live shrimp are much easier to digest than a sardine or finger mullet and will often be the food of choice this time of year. Snook aren’t the only action to be had up the rivers though. Speckled trout usually stage near the mouths of the rivers in the deeper holes and they are very tolerant to the cold water and can offer hours of steady action. Artificial lures such as the MirrOlure Lil John, Marsh Minnow’s and MirrODines all work well for trout action in the rivers. Use a quarter ounce jighead to work the deep holes slowly.

You’ll also find that the redfish action is steady as well with some great dock fishing in all five of these river systems. Redfish, especially 17 to 23 inchers seem to be creatures of habit in these rivers. Once I find a line of docks that hold good numbers, I make a note of it since redfish seem to hold there year in and year out. You’ll also find good numbers of ladyfish and jacks in the rivers this time of year which just add to the action of the day. Don’t let Mother Nature foil your December fishing. Spend some time learning the west central Florida river systems and you’ll be rewarded all month long year after year!

Catch Capt. Michael Anderson every Saturday morning on News CH8 at 6:30 a.m. for the Reel Animals Fishing Show and Saturdays for Reel Animals Saturday on 970WFLA from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Also catch Capt. Mike on Sunday mornings on AM620 for the TA Mahoney Co. Reel Animals Radio Show from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

To book a trip call 1-866-Gamefish.