December is the last month of grouper season; the 31st marks the last day to catch and keep your grouper. Grouper fishing is good now in the shallow Gulf waters of the Adventure Coast.
Here we have thousands of rocks at six to twelve-foot depth within nine miles of shore. These areas produce some very exciting grouper action. We use many different methods to catch gags in shallow water and my favorite is to use plugs. Rapala FMAG 18 in colors called mullet, fire tiger and mackerel, as well as red and white are very good. Top water plugs also produce some awesome action on calm days.
Live and dead bait are most commonly used to catch grouper. For live bait, sure bets are pin fish, pig fish and live green backs. For frozen bait, threadfins and Boston mackerel will do the trick. Get upwind and up-current of the rock within casting distance when fishing with lures. Cast past the rock and then retrieve with the rod tip pointing down. Try to work different angle and retrieve speeds to find out what the fish want.
The red fish action inshore is great along the oyster bars and mangrove shorelines. Live pin fish or shrimp work for bait, along with cut mullet. Fish incoming - or turn of the outgoing - tide for best action. Also find trout in shallow water around the grass flats and kelp bottom. Soft plastic flukes or top water plugs work great for trout.