Dear Santa, we want a fishing trip for Christmas!
The holiday season is officially upon us.
Usually around this time of year we're thinking of everything we still must do prior to Christmas or we're trying to finish out the main part of hunting season strong.
But December is a great time for a winter fishing break away from all your stress and worries. That's why we're hoping Santa gifts us a great winter fishing trip to one of these destinations this year.
From deep sea fishing in tropical waters for sailfish or tarpon to braving the cold for the first ice fishing adventure of the year, here are three great trips for anglers to consider.
Ice Fishing on Minnesota's Lake of the Woods
The Land of 10,000 Lakes is one of the top winter fishing destinations on the planet. That's because the ice angling there is second to none for just about any freshwater game fish species you can think of. There are several notable lakes worth checking out in the Gopher State including Mille Lacs Lake, Lake Vermilion and Upper and Lower Red Lake.
But if you're looking for the "must visit" winter time angling spot you can't go wrong with Lake of the Woods. This nearly 1,7000 square mile lake is an awesome multi-species fishing destination loaded with yellow perch, crappie, northern pike, muskie, lake trout and many more. In fact, many anglers fish for multiple species in one day!
Some of the best fishing on Lake of the Woods happens later in winter, but it's still a great spot to visit this time of year too. If you're lucky, you might be able to catch the opening of the Igloo Bar in the tail end of December. This bar sits right on top of the ice and you can knock back some cold ones with your buddies and enjoy a pizza or other bar food while jigging for walleye. It's a one-of-a-kind fishing experience you can only get in Minnesota.
Florida (literally anywhere for anything!)
The great thing about fishing the Sunshine State in December is the plethora of great fishing options at your disposal. Maybe you're a freshwater sportfishing enthusiast who didn't get his or her share of largemouth bass fishing in the warmer months. Head out to Lake Okeechobee, where they're still biting like it's June or July.
For the saltwater angler, there are even more options. December is a prime time to catch all sorts of snapper, grouper, permit, bonito, mackerel, wahoo, mahi mahi, amberjack, barracuda, cobia, flounder and more. As I'm writing this, the weather is 77 degrees in Miami, so it's perfect if you just want to get away from the cold of the winter months, even if just for a few days.
Checking the recent fishing reports, people are catching plenty of kingfish, bonefish, blackfin tuna and jack crevalle right now. From the Florida Keys to farther north in the Gulf of Mexico, there are plenty of fishing charters at your disposal who will take you out for an inshore or offshore adventure in deep waters this time of year. Sounds like a great way to break from the stress of the busy Christmas season to us!
Striper Fishing the California coastline
Maybe you're in the mood for some surf fishing, but you don't want to freeze your butt off. A trip to the Golden State for some striped bass might be just the ticket. It's in the low 50s right now in California as I write this, which I'd take over the low 30s we've got in Michigan right now.
You can catch stripers up and down the coast during December, but the two main places you're going to hear about are off San Francisco and San Diego. In many places the stripers feed heavily all during the winter months just offshore or in the bays before they move into the rivers to spawn in the spring.
Stripers can be caught using a variety of methods in December in California. You can go trolling for them. But casting from surf or shore is arguably more popular this time of year. While some big fish are boated every year here, December is notable for numbers. You'll get your money's worth out of this trip.
Many anglers report catching 10, 20 or 30 or more bass in the four to ten-pound range in just a few hours if you get on the right pattern.
We'll take that over fighting the Christmas shopping crowds any day!