Fishing Forecast: December – Siesta Sands

Fishing Forecast: December – Siesta Sands

Written by Rick Grassett

You may find blues, Spanish mackerel and pompano mixed with trout on the deep grassy flats this month. You should also find larger trout in skinny water with reds.
Snook will move around bars and on shallow flats as they move toward wintering areas.
The action in the coastal bay with false albacore, tripletail, Spanish mackerel, blues and more should explode!
Spotted benches have reopened for harvest in Southwest Florida with a bag limit of three fish per person and a boat limit of six fish. Trout should range in size from 15 to 19 inches, with one fish allowed per pot longer than 19 inches. I feel it is important to protect these large trout, which are usually female. Full regulations and details can be found at

Many fishing species should be good in the inshore waters during this time of year. Here, Brian Nafzinger of Maryland shows off the trout he caught and released on CAL rigs with shad tails. (photo provided)

You should find snook around piers and bridges in the Intracoastal Waterway, along sandbars and in holes in the shallow flats. You may be along mangrove beaches when the tide is high. I like CAL jigs with 3-inch and 4-inch shadow tails and topwater walking lures like the DOA “PT” in shallow water for snook.
CAL rigs with shad tails or deciduous worms, DOA TerrorEyz, DOA Shrimp and small whiteflies, such as the Grassett Snook Minnow, will work well around the pier and bridge barrier lights. Fish the strongest tides for the best action. The red will spread out on the shallow grass flats for now. You should find them along rails, in potholes, or around docks. Look for them along mangrove beaches at high tide, but you’re also likely to wander with schools of mullet in the shallows. CAL jigs with shad tails, grubs or snap worms and golden spoons should work well for reds in shallow water.
Fly anglers may use lightweight flies, such as Clousers Flies, Spoon Flies, or Grassett Flats Minnow Flies.
You may also find large trout with reds in the shallows this month. The same bait and flies you use for snook and reds in shallow water will also work for trout. You will also find trout on deeper grass flats in water from 3 feet to 7 feet deep. I like to drift and cast pre-drift pieces using CAL rigs, DOA Deadly Combos or weighted flies on sinker tip fly lines to locate trout. In addition to doing a series of drifts to find fish, look for baitfish on the surface or birds to find them.
You may also find blues, Spanish mackerel, flounder or pompano on the deep grass flats this month. Techniques for finding them are the same as for trout, although blue mackerel and Spanish mackerel may feed on the surface making them easier to find. As is the case with pompano, which may jump to the surface when running or drifting alongside. When this happens, turn upwind and drift back across the area, ahead of your drift. I like a 1/16- or 1/8-ounce CAL jig head with gold grub for pompano. You will need to add wire or heavy fluorocarbon when toothy fish are present to prevent them from biting you.
You may find flounder on a mixture of grass and sand, especially on the edges of bars or in holes.
There should be good action in the coastal bay with false albacore (small tuna), Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, blues, tripletail, or cobia. Look for surface-feeding Spanish or blue mackerel or false albacore to find them. A diving tern or tern hovering just above the surface of the water and moving quickly will reveal its presence if it is not on top. CAL rigs with shad tails, deciduous worms and topwater plugs will work well.
Anglers should fish small whiteflies, Ultra Hair Clousers, poppers, or curly flies. Look for tripletails around crab trap floats and cast a DOA Shrimp or CAL with shad tails or a DOA TerrorEyz to them.
Cobia can also be found around crab trap buoys, swimming on the surface or above structure. They will need medium-heavy spinning tackle or at least a 9-weight fly rod. Larger baits such as DOA Baitbusters, CAL rigs with 5½-inch jerk worms or DOA SnakeKoil should work well for cobia on spinning rigs.
Anglers using wide-ranging baitfish patterns should score.
This is a great time of year to fish the flats or coastal bay. Since the action in the coastal bay is seasonal and ends when it gets colder, I like to fish there when conditions allow.
However, if that’s not for you or conditions don’t allow for it, there will be plenty of action for a variety of fish in the shallow and deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay.

  • Tags: Rick Grassett, Siesta Key Fishing Forecast

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