The first cold front that forces anglers into wearing long pants and jackets is what local flounder and pompano fishermen in the Sebastian Area are waiting for. These cold fronts should clear lagoon waters and allow for sight-fishing of reds along shoreline cover. It’s light tackle time in Sebastian, so get out and enjoy the fast action and wide variety of species that December ushers in.
The Sebastian River’s main role this time of year is that of a sanctuary. Anglers can slip into the river and have every cast action on jacks and ladyfish when the less stout of heart decide to stay home and wait for the wind to lie down and temperatures to return to Florida levels. This is great fun for family groups and jigs or live shrimp are all you need. Trout, bluefish, pompano and even a resident snook or tarpon can surprise anglers jigging the deeper areas of the north fork. Trout and reds seek shelter in the river during cold spells and can be targeted in the lower river with plugs, jigs, and live bait. Anglers looking for that last snook or tarpon of the season will find the Sebastian River the right place in December. The key is to fish the nice days when water temps get into the 70s.
Indian River Lagoon
Redfish are a favorite target in the lagoon in December. This is because the reds are available in good numbers, and also because as waters cool they also become clear allowing for some of the best sight fishing opportunities of the year. Flyfishermen and light tackle anglers can stalk along mangrove shorelines and get shot after shot at single reds and occasionally pods of up to a dozen fish. Delicate presentation is more important than lure or bait choice, as once the redfish realize they are no longer cloaked by the usually murky lagoon waters, they can get very spooky.
Seatrout fishing will remain solid with the larger fish still preferring shallow waters and schoolie trout beginning to group up around the edges of the flats and drop-offs of the spoil islands. Working D.O.A. C.A.L. jigs or “Goofy Jigs” in deeper areas is a great way to tighten a line. Trout, pompano, bluefish, jacks, ladyfish, flounder, snappers, grouper, Spanish mackerel, and whatever else decides to swim in Sebastian Inlet will hit jigs, plugs and live shrimp.
Flounder take center stage at Sebastian Inlet from Thanksgiving on. Gulf flounder (A.K.A. three spot flounder), are leaving the inlet in December, but the larger southern flounder are just beginning their run. Land-bound and boating anglers both find soaking live finger mullet on areas of broken rocky/sandy bottom is the best way to put a doormat in the cooler. Flatties up to 15 pounds are an annual catch at Sebastian. Snook season will close December 15 and depending on ocean water temps, legal fish can be caught right up to the deadline. Bluefish are usually abundant in and around the inlet and some of the biggest reds of the year can show up with the cold fronts.
The beaches begin to fill up with snowbird surf fishermen in December, and for good reason. Schools of pompano cruise the troughs and sandbars along the coast hunting down sand fleas, crabs, clams, and glass minnows. Pompano, a favorite eating fish, is also an excellent gamefish on light tackle. Ten-plus-foot surf rods with three-hook pompano rigs is the standard technique for both pompano and the tasty whiting that share the surf with them, but casting Goofy Jigs on light spinning gear can be very productive when the surf is calm and clean. Live sand fleas are top bait followed by cut clams and pieces of fresh shrimp. Blues and Spanish macks will also keep surf fishermen and boaters busy along the coast in December. Cut bait, spoons, jigs and gotcha plugs are all good choices for these toothy gamesters.
Happy Holidays and tight lines!
FORECAST BY: Capt. Gus Brugger
Pattern Setter Charters