December 2019 Fishing Thread

Temperatures are dropping, but the fish are still biting (looking at you 3rdGen) if you look in the right places. I may head to OCMD tomorrow and I am going to Pensacola next week before shutting it down until the new year.

Post your reports, questions, tackle recommendations, and any holiday deals here.

For folks who like the old Penn Fathoms, several places (including JandH tackle) have them for $99.

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.


I am looking for some help for any Panhandle folks out there. I am going to be going with two friends to the Panhandle to chase whiting/sea mullet, and if that is slow they plan to head to St. George Island to find sheepshead. I am the third wheel on the trip, but I want to be prepared.

I have heard that there have been above slot drum ("redfish" yick I hate saying it that way) around Okaloosa and Navarre Piers. I know that a gold flash spoon with a red teaser is money in the Bay when casting to schooling red drum in the summer, however I have never run into winter schools in Florida (hell, I haven't even caught a fish that wasn't in bass in Florida.) Any pointers on A) are there drum around? and B) should I get some spoons, or should I look at something like a 1oz jig head and some BKDs?

Thanks for the help!

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

when are you going...I'll be around some FWC law enforcement types tomorrow and can ask

I will be there Dec 11-15.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I'll ask guarantees but some of the Tally folks may know.

Well, I guess going all that way to catch whiting is like going to Florida to catch bluegill, but leave it to your couple of crazy buddies to do just that. I hope you guys have a blast, blow the bottom line out of a few buffets, and return with their hoped for coolers full of panfish. No value judgement here, really, I mean it...really.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

The damage at the buffets will be historical, and I will merely be the recorder of the events.

They are changing the gameplan daily. I am now taking my heavy surf gear for night drum fishing, a cobia bucktail rod to sight cast at drum if they swim by the whiting hole, sheepshead gear, and sea mullet gear. We are driving 13 hours in an extended cab Prius. I don't know how they are going to pull it off.

But, if there are big red drum to be had, I want the info and I want to chase them.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I made a call but haven't heard back...will keep checking.

reds possible but big black drum more likely right now

Any luck in OCMD? Little blustery out there, but the sun's out...

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

Ended up not going. Tough week in Case De French.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I'm sorry to hear that. Was looking forward to the story. As for the sheepshead, they've been catching some in the 11-13 lb range somewhere around here. Never caught one, myself.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Someone should bust out a fly rod and try to break my world record...

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

What I want to know is why we're not seeing 3rdGen's big drum? I know he can post pics.
Been reading that bigger stripers are being caught around the Bay. I'm off home/dog duty after this weekend so I hope to get out in the coming week.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

They are getting big fish around Cape Charles, and I have seen reports of big fish way up north of there.

Looks at the weather- small craft advisory on Saturday. (THROWS SOMETHING)

I really should have gone to Ocean City one night this week. Tide was perfect. This weekend, it is at freaking midnight.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Not sure how OC looks, but the Nanticoke & Choptank off the Bay are WAY down right now.

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

For me, money tide on the bridge has been dead low. As the water starts to trickle back, the fish start to bite. And there are a ton of them from the mouth of the bay all the way to Jersey.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Then it might be bingo right now in OC...

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

tougher during the day. I like it under the lights

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Mossy Creek Fly Shop Open house tomorrow from noon till 5. Kelly Galloup is going to be there. For those who don't know, he and Blane Chocklett (a Hokie in Roanoke) are two of the premier streamer designers in fly fishing world. I will try to go depending on how this cold feels tomorrow

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Damn. I would have liked to have gone. Surprised someone like Galloup made his way to Harrisonburg. Hope you had a good time.

I did not go. Killer cold. Looked like a good time from the photos I saw

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Writing up this report now because it's blowing 25 out of the Northeast. I headed down to Beaufort on Thanksgiving day. Kayak fished a creek on the way down based on some info I received. I caught 4 keeper trout, a rat red and a striper. Pretty cool environment to fish.

Fished Saturday with my dad in the marsh around Beaufort. Got into a load of spike trout and a couple nice trout. We were catching trout every two casts for an hour and a half.

Headed to Hatteras Saturday night. Great big drum bite on Sunday (40-50 caught). I didn't get a bite other than a dogfish shark. Lots of people there. Monday there weren't many people but about 10 drum were caught. I got my number called and got in a 47" drum to the fork.

Tuesday not much happened. Wednesday caught a inshore slam on the sunrise then nothing more. Thursday I caught a couple small trout. Friday the wind laid out and the water cleared up and I got on the trout after trying a few holes. Biggest was 20", quite a few at 16-18". Caught around 25 overall. Got 2 puppy drum as well one was in the 20-22" range. Best day of trout fishing I've had.

This truck was stuck for 45 minutes. Air your tires down to 20 psi or lower or I will drink beer and laugh while you are stuck

Caught a nice puppy drum, small spec and small flounder this morning.

Can't spell DBU without Bud

Awesome, well done on the toad red from the beach!

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Thanks! It was a beast for sure especially in the current.

Can't spell DBU without Bud

Thanks for the write up and the pics! Looks like an awesome trip, congrats!!

Hokie fan | W&M grad

It was an awesome trip! Thanks, finding fish in different places is always rewarding.

Can't spell DBU without Bud

I can imagine. I got my 45" old drum out of my old Carolina Skiff in the inlet so I had the opportunity to follow her around a bit as needed. From the shore, that's no easy feat with lack of maneuverability. Makes me want to get down there and chuck a mullet head into the surf myself.

Edit: This got me thinking... there's an aptly named inlet at the bottom of Portsmouth Island called Drum Inlet and an old timer Down East told me it gets loaded in late fall with bulls. Easy and safe access to the back side of the inlet via boat, even my Hewes, and one could float the channel bouncing bait on the bottom on the wall there or anchor up in the cover around the corner and take the short walk to the point and huck bait out into the surf. I may have to do this, this week.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

I bet it could be good. Just have to find the right conditions to push the drum into the inlet. It is late year in the year but a few could be around for sure.

Can't spell DBU without Bud

So I'm basically doing nothing and walk down to the lake and throw a small swim bait. Caught a 12" bass LMAO. It was fat though!

"Hey Bud, you wont have to hold the opponent to 17 points anymore."

My weekend fishing plans went down the crapper like an Arkansas football hire.

So, here are some deals I found with St. Croix:

Musky Mojos: $105
Premier Crankbait Rods: $90
Avid Casting Rods (Limited length and actions) $126
Avid X Casting Rods $132
Avid Surf Casting and Spinning $238

Lamiglas has showcased some deals too.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Also, still looking for any Pensacola pier and bridge information or reports. I have repacked 3 times since apparently it is against the will of the gods for me to do anything fun this weekend.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Heard from my friend this a.m.

Pompano and whiting on pompano shrimp, fresh dead shrimp, and sand fleas (for pompano). Fish beyond the first bar.

This time of year there should also be some schools of black drum (some big fish) with some redfish possibly mixed in. Use fresh chunks of blue crab on a fish finder rig...again, beyond the first bar. Closer you are to a pass the more likely this becomes. If there is a north wind and the surf lays flat, you may very well be able to see them.

From the piers it's the same drill. Add sheepshead to the mix fishing tight to pilings (or rocks near a jetty or groin).

All sounds pretty generic to me but time of year-wise, he said should have a decent shot at some the trough beyond the first bar.

Good luck! I presume you have some physical therapy lined up for the extended time in a Prius.

Went out of Gwynn's Island to northeast of the Rappahannock today. Bumpy ride, but nice day. Finally found the fleet, a few birds and started to jig. Got two bites quickly on the first drop and then hooked up with something that felt heavy. Fishing in 44 ' of water, I started feeling hopeful at the weight, but got suspicious at the lack of proper movement. Of course, it was a 12" striper hooked dead center under the belly midway between pecs and vent. That was the highlight of the day. Didn't get another bite, nary a nibble, not even a funny feeling. Lots of boats and I talked with one boatload trolling and they said they'd gotten one keeper, but I only saw one other fish caught, maybe 16", also caught by a jigger, the only other one I saw all day.
Weather was perfect, boat ran well, marked almost no fish on the sonar, even when running around amongst a hundred boats. Usual cluster f##k at the boat ramp but I managed to snake between two shitty parkers with my big van and little trailer to score the last parking place at the ramp. I'm sure the guys on either side of me weren't pleased with my parking, but I, at least, was between the lines. There were 3 guys taking 5 spaces at a notoriously crowded ramp. I just don't get that mentality when another 60 seconds of straightening up can make it better for all. They had to do some back and fill to get out of there, I can assure you, but my stuff is old, their's was big and new, so screw 'em 'til they learn to park straight.
Don't know how good the season will be, and I'll admit it isn't easy to get up for a long boat ride to catch a dink, or even several dozens of them, weaving and dodging the fleet. Hopefully, things will improve, but it did me no good to see a fleet of menhaden ships heading for Reedville. That was a bummer.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I was invited to go today and didn't twice about turning it down. I hate fishing out there amongst all of the asshats.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

I usually find the fleet and stay outside the scrum. Didn't work today.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Sorry fish, was hoping to hear a different report. Then again, you didn't have the lucky charm, 3rdGen. 😁

Hokie fan | W&M grad

A friend of mine went out around R2 and caught 6 fish, 2 keepers around 22" each. He made it sound a little rougher out, though.


Yeah, I was sure some of the trollers were catching something or they wouldn't have been so ganged up. I don't do the trolling thing. It was definitely rough out there. The 1' seas were anything but and did seem to smooth out some as the day progressed. Couldn't run all out all day, though. Sun was nice and the wind wasn't a problem, and the temps were mild enough for December, but I don't have much patience sometimes.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Same day, Sunday, a friend of my trout neighbor Paul was out at R2 most of the day and caught zip. My friend in Va Beach says the Elizabeth River is giving up decent catches of trout, pups and stripers, with keepers mixed in (if you'd care to eat anything out of that river...I know I wouldn't). My old client and friend has booked us a charter for next week, so we'll see what the pros have been up to, hopefully.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I have family on the Elizabeth and I've heard similar reports. I've heard it's been hot all year with decent sized trout.


My friend in NC just posted on her IG story a "really mean" 550 pound Bluefin, 102 inches long they landed this afternoon at Cape Lookout. Two hour fight.

Click on her story....

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Decent day on Briery yesterday. Launched the yak into 44 degree water, with a 20 degree air temp. Had my reels freeze for about a minute until my hand warmers thawed them out.

First bite and fish was at 8:15 on a drop-shot. Temps spike up pretty quick around noon and I caught 5 on warm flats using a Strike King Caffeine Shad, caught a 7th on a creek channel break using a Jackhammer.

Best 5: 19.0", 16.25", 13.75, 13.75, 12.75

Could be better, but any bass caught in December or January is a good bass.

Probably will spend Wednesday going after musky. Hopefully the rain won't be too heavy this week that the rivers won't blow out. It's primetime season for 'ski, now.

Do you use a trailer on the jackhammer?

Hokie fan | W&M grad


Musky fished today. I had one completely wiff on a glide bait on my first cast and that was it.

My buddy on the other hand hadan awesome day.
He landed a massive 50.5" fish from his yak and caught another one that went 41.0"

Not sure where my next trip will be. Temps are dropping and the fishing is getting harder, but the big ones are eating.

Where are you floating for 'Skis?

The New and James Rivers.

Heading to Tampa area (specifically North Redington Beach) from 12/21-24 and then to Brevard County, FL for Xmas with family. Gonna be able to do some surf fishing. I've got Brevard wired having lived and fished there for 22 years. Will be surf fishing the East Coast for Pompano and Black/Red Drum depending on water temps and current direction. Might get to do some Sebastian Inlet or CFL offshore if weather and friends with boats have time.
But Tampa area in the winter is different deal. I won't have a ton of time, but we're staying right on the beach so I am planning on doing some surf fishing with bait and walking the beach pitching jigs w/ gulp (or equiv), Mirrodine M25 (Color 808 - its deadly in the surf and inshore ICW), and spoons (this is what I did in Brevard in the winter surf).
Do I need to modulate this plan for the Gulf coast? Tampa area Hokies:

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

In the immortal words of Cecil from Radford upon listening to a bunch of gabbers at a local tackle shop bemoaning the state of fishing in the New River, "Boys", he said, "Y'all ain't gonna catchem settin' home watchin' Bill Dance on the TV".
Truer words was never spoke, regardless of the regional dialect and accent.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Haha love some good Cecil quotes. I've got lots of fishing to do. Except my offshore trip is going to canceled again due to the front so maybe bass fish a pond around town.

Can't spell DBU without Bud

Lure 10

That's a comfy looking seat! Enjoy!

Can't spell DBU without Bud

took it out for a 15 minute test yesterday a.m.

it is as advertised...a little heavy, doesn't track very well, VERY comfortable, VERY stable

not something you'd buy to paddle a long way

this is to use in the "neighborhood"...what you see in the pic below

Well, aren't you the lucky dog? Looks juicy to me. Nice looking fishing 'yak for a 'yak. Looks like your neighborhood is the place for one.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

we'll find out.

most of that is shallow, intertidal mudflats dotted with small oyster bars; WAY too soft to wade. the furthest part you can see is Moultrie Creek. around the corner to the left is the ICW...about a 300 yard paddle

since we moved here 6 years ago (before they were making many kayaks specific for standing), everyone has told me to learn the immediate area ("why the hell are you driving to Vilano or Palm Valley to launch?"). I have been slow to give up my old haunts but this is one of the main reasons we are here. with the fishing kayak market rapidly expanding, it is becoming easier to find reasonably priced 'yaks like this that will accommodate the bad backs of old folks like me.

Life update: just accepted a position in Charleston. While I hate cities and the over population of SC with the ridiculous lack on infrastructure....and it get over crowded fishing. I'm happy as hell being close to the water again.

Fishing updates..... incoming.

(add if applicable) /s

go you!

My dear departed mother was from Charleston and I still have a bunch of long lost family with at least a dozen cousins there in the city somewhere. I knew a guide down there who specialized in light tackle inshore angling, but one day ended up on a 10 mile saga ending with landing (sorta) a two hundred pound tarpon. Crowded, yes, but you have access to some bodacious fishing down there.
My mom loved growing up in Charleston and had a bunch of stories about being young there. She often told the story of my distinguished grandfather taking the three year old me on a walk downtown. He met some finely dressed ladies (he was ALWAYS finely dressed to the 9s) on a corner and they got to talking. I told grandpa I had to pee, but he was a ladies man and kept confabbing. I whipped out there on the corner and peed on a lamp post in front of God and proper Charlestonians. Can't say I remember the transgression, but my momma told me about it every year of my life until she died, so I guess I'll never forget it, remember it or not. My grandfather was mortified, my mom was pissed off, my dad said it was proof that I was a natural born country boy.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

If you're single, spend more time on King Street than fishing.

When I lived there a decade ago (FML, getting old) the water was crowded then. Can't imagine what it is now but there are lots of tailing reds in the summer time.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Momma used to sing me a ditty she picked up on the streets of Charleston. It was a "Geechee" call and response about a shoe store named Belalli's, located at the corner of King and Callie (Calhoun). Something about 'dem pongee shoe. Sorry, just got to reminiscing. Got that Old Timey Disease, I guess.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays


With my Dad in town this weekend, finally got around to looking at the fuel leak in the outboard that nearly left me stranded in the Louisiana Marsh. Turns out it was a pinhole in one of the fuel lines running between who knows what and another who knows what portion of the motor. When I squeezed on the bulb, we could see fuel drip out of it. Replace the hose and fingers crossed, it will operate at normal again.

Not to be outdone by positive news, I neglected to take my ropes out of the front storage earlier this year. They were wet and thought it best to move them inside drier climes for the winter. Pulled the anchor rope out with the anchor and tossed it to the ground, the soft mud that is my parking area/back yard. The fucking one inch diameter solid metal anchor broke in half. Completely snapped. Just from me tossing it from 4 feet up to the soggy yard. Unbelieveable. Now I gotta order a new anchor.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Don't let that anchor drag you down. Just focus on having a hose that works.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

And the little drummer boy says Bada-Boom.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays