Welcome To The December Edition

Welcome to the Okeechobee edition of Coastal Angler Magazine. December is a great time of year here in south central Florida; the weather should be cool, our visiting family and friends should be arriving and the mosquitos should be retiring for the winter.

In the local lakes, the fishing should be very active with pre-spawn and spawning bass. Lake Okeechobee usually gets the season started but the smaller lakes will see plenty of spawning activity when the weather is right. As water temperatures begin to fall, anticipate the bass returning to the shallows once the heat of the day warms the shoreline waters. Speck fishermen should enjoy a steady bite and see specks beginning to form schools for their annual spawning period.

Along with cooling temperatures, winter brings the return of windy conditions. Though it seemed like the wind never left us this past summer, winter cold fronts shift the wind to the north and northwest so you’ll need to be mindful of the weather forecast for the waves on our shallow water lakes pick up extremely quickly and can make for challenging conditions. Also keep in mind that the bite after a major cold front will be depressed for the first 48 hours after the front passes so plan your trips according.

For hunters, hunting is in full swing with general gun season in effect for deer, fall turkey, and waterfowl. With the fields and brush dying off for the winter, it becomes less of a chore walking in the fields and stalking your prey so enjoy the best hunting conditions of the year.

December brings us some great opportunities for all outdoor enthusiasts including camping, hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking and bird watching. For bird watchers this is the time of year where migratory birds make Florida home so take advantage of our extensive system of parks, bird trails and sanctuaries to view and photograph the wild range of visiting species.

With all this outdoor activity there is one important point to remember, winter is Florida’s peak season for brush and forest wild fires. With little rain our environment dries out quickly so when outdoors, do not leave unattended campfires or drop burning cigarettes or other sources of heat in the brush. The extremely dry grass is a fire waiting to irrupt and even idling your car, truck or ATV on a patch of roadside grass is enough to start a wild fire. So let’s be careful out there.

Finally, with the Holiday Season approaching let’s remember what the Holidays are all about, it’s the time of year to reflect and appreciate our friends and family. It’s also the time of year to reach out to those that we have drifted away from and a chance at a new beginning. So have a healthy and happy holiday season and see you in January.

Ken Gabryel
CAM Okeechobee Editor