Northeast Florida December Surf Fishing Report

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Northeast Florida December Surf Fishing Report


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      December 1, 2023 at 11:24 pm

      The pompano have returned!

      It’s been a bit of a strange fall here in NE Florida with a lot of different weather patterns. The last several weeks were a mix of cold fronts, dirty water, seaweed, and less than desirable fish. Aside from the whiting, the bluefish have taken over the waters as well as puppy drum, spotfish, croakers, stingrays, and of course, sharks. I’ve seen lots of reports and myself encountered the tax man swimming the shores and taking his part!
      BUT…just this week there have been reports of keeper pompano being caught up and down the coast from north of Jacksonville into Brevard County. We headed to the beach today based on reports yesterday, but they had already moved on. This supports what I’ve heard many people say that if you have a great day fishing a certain beach one day, go somewhere else the next day because it probably won’t be as good.

      So with that in mind, let’s take a look at what to expect and some strategies for surf fishing this month.


      Sand fleas have been hit or miss for us lately, and even when I can find a few, sometimes the fish aren’t biting on them. I’ve not been able to pin down a pattern for where they will be or at what tide, so just have your sand flea rake ready in case they are there!

      I believe our mullet run has fizzled out, at least from what I can tell. Leave a comment if you are still seeing large schools of mullet on the beach. With all the bluefish in the surf, mullet is an excellent bait to use if you can find them or if you buy some from a tackle shop. You can always use a small whiting and cut that up to target the bluefish. Remember that those bluefish have sharp teeth, so if they are what you want to catch, use a thicker line, like 40 or 60 lb. mono, for your rigs so they can’t bite through it.

      Always have shrimp of some sort with you, either live or salted. I try to stay away from frozen shrimp because they tend to fall apart a lot easier. Same with blue crab. Anytime I have used them frozen they fall apart and off the hook very easily. Fresh is better; isn’t that how we like our food too? It shouldn’t be a surprise that fish love to dine on the good stuff too.

      Don’t forget to have a good supply of artificial bait too, either Fishbites or Fishgum will do the trick, and have several options of flavors—these fish are really picky!

      Once the water temperature drops to 58 degrees or below later this month, I will start soaking fresh dead shrimp in Diet Pepsi. If you’ve never heard of Diet Pepsi shrimp before, you can’t knock it until you try it! (Just make sure to label the bottle in the fridge so nobody takes a big swig of it!).

      Weather and Water Temps

      Over the past few weeks, the water has cooled from 70-72 to around 65 degrees. That’s quite a difference! Just like we have certain temps we are more comfortable in, different species of fish have temps that they enjoy too, so do some studying before you go in order to target the fish that should be there at that temperature.

      We should be past hurricane season, so pay attention to the tides, wind direction and speed, and the tides for the beaches that you are planning to fish. Be prepared for colder weather and windy conditions by wearing layers and bringing a warm jacket that winds can’t penetrate. I live fifteen minutes from the beach and the winds can be calm at my house and crazy as soon as I get past that beach crossover. I use the Surfline app to know all the conditions ahead of time, and they have access to beachcams too so you can see it on screen before you go.

      December Strategy

      Flounder season is open again! Yay! I will be targeting these delicious flat fish in the trips to come. You can catch them in the first trough on high-impact beaches using a paddletail on a jighead. On calm days, try throwing in the trough near a drop where they like to hang out and make sure not to reel too quickly. They have a limited scope of vision, so you’ve got to let it drop into their line of sight.

      Pay attention to the reports on social media and you will get a wealth of information about where the fish are running, what species people are catching, and what baits they were hitting. This is valuable information that you can glean from. Also, joining a fishing club like Salt Strong can give you access to resources like informative courses and their cutting-edge Smart Spots fishing app that can show you underwater structure and places where the water gets deeper closer to shore where fish might be hanging out. Check them out!

      So have fun this December and catch up some good fish! Remember to post pictures here or in the various fishing groups you are a part of; it really helps others to know what strategies are working right now and what fish are biting. We are all part of one big community of anglers, so let’s come into this Christmas season by helping each other out. Tight lines!

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