Offshore Bottom December 2015 Fishing Report

Barefoot_Barry Bobbitt Wilm NC with Gag

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he photo shown is from one really good day in my life. This was one of those early days of advanced testing of the Decoy Jigs.  As best I recall… there were several inshore gags that came over the gunwale this day and nothing but quality fish. There was no light line put out, due to the water temps were way too cold for kings and other pelagics, just straight up and down bottom fishing for gags and baits. With all of the usual dinner guest in the box, we had some very large sea bass. Many ate live grass grunts, and some smaller ones, along with pinkies and grunts that ate the squid and frozen minnows. This is where it pays to use the larger live baits. Sure, use some squid and/or minnows to get the bottom going, but quickly switch over to using live grass grunts, large pinfish or sailors choice. At this point, typically the only bites you get are from the jumbo sea bass and grouper. The jacks are gone for warmer water, and the grunts and pinkies mouths aren’t large enough to jump on a grass grunt or big pinfish.

If you just happen to land on a big school of cigs and/or sardines, I’d definitely keep the sabiki working to catch those as well as grass grunts for bait. Sometimes the 6-8 inch cigar minnow or sardine is way too much for a big gag to deny, but keep in mind, the average sized keeper sea bass, grunt or pinky can eat this same bait. Only the larger live baits eliminate the “trash bites”.

There is inshore cold water in December, and there is too cold. Water too shallow may be too cold for gag fishing. With the warmer November we experienced this year the gags and schools of minnows may stay in the 60-70 foot depths beyond Christmas. I’ve said it before, but the apex of gag fishing is around Christmas. Take advantage of the Indian summer we’re having and slide out for a quick gag limit fairly close to the beach. Take the kids on a good weather window, properly dressed in layers, with an outer shell of (good fitting) rain gear. This alone is a big part of their happiness, as a warm angler is often a happy angler, young or old.  Take plenty of pics and film of the kids with their fish, and some day you’ll say to them, “boy it was cold that day, but we caught ’em good”. These pics will bring smiles for many years to come hopefully.

All the very best fishing, and Merry Christmas,
Tim Barefoot