We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We definitely had some uncharacteristically cold temperatures here to end the year. However cold fronts like what we experienced over Christmas are just what we need to push some of our seasonal fish into our area off the beaches, in the river and offshore. While it definitely was a bit of a struggle right at the end of the front to find fish due to the rapid drop in water temperature, the fishing is starting to really pick up!
Inshore Fishing Report
Inshore fishing can be very productive during the month of January here in our area as anglers have the opportunity to catch a wide variety of species and fill a cooler. Inshore catch lists can consist of Snook, Sheepshead, Black Drum, Croakers, Triple Tail, Pompano, Bluefish, Jacks, Spanish Mackerels and more! Shrimp is definitely the bait of choice this time of year with the cooler water temperatures. The fish tend to be more inclined to go after a slower presentation and sit tight to structure for warmth as well as sit in deeper holes and drop offs.
You can fish the bridges for Drum, Sheepshead and Croakers with live or frozen shrimp on a jighead, typically either 1/4oz or 3/8oz depending on the current. You will want to fish your bait around the concrete fenders and let it drift alongside it with the current. When fiddler crabs are available, you can’t beat using them following the same method to get in on some Sheepshead action!
Fishing around the Hole in the Wall and the Inlet is also a good spot to hit, you can anchor up and throw shrimp on a jig towards the shoreline to search for schools of Croakers and pick off Sheepshead and Drum as well as some Snook. You can also fish Pompano rigs with pieces of shrimp. You may go through a few catfish, but don’t let that discourage you as you have a solid chance at finding some Croakers, Sandperch, Bonefish, Drum and Pompano using this method. Not a bad idea to have a Pompano jig tied on a rod either to take some casts while you are waiting on a bite.
Fishing docks is also a good place to look for fish. Try fishing the docks with deeper water as you may find more fish schooled up in some of the areas with deeper water. Channel markers are also a good place to look, you can find Sheepshead, Croakers, Drum and even Tripletail on them.
Anglers have been able to pick off a few Pompano at the Jensen Causeway, and a few commercial anglers have been able to find some in the inlet. We should continue to see more Pompano showing up inshore as the water temperatures have dropped. Areas to look for them include the Inlet, Crossroads, Sailfish Flats, Jensen and Stuart Causeway.
If you are looking to throw artificials, once again slower presentations are going to be the key. Fishing baits like artificial shrimp, Flair Hawks and slow rolling paddle tails are going to be your best bets if you are looking to catch Snook on lures. Anglers have been finding Snook on artificials at the Jensen Causeway at night pretty consistently here lately. There have also been a few Trout caught up around Bear Point and Middle Cove by anglers wade fishing. Topwaters in the morning along with artificial shrimp and live shrimp on a popping cork have produced the action for those anglers.
Surf Fishing Report
The beach has been showing many signs of life this past week! Pompano, Bluefish, Whiting, Spanish Mackerel, Jacks and Runners have all been making the catch list. Beaches south of Jensen Public Beach have provided the most action for anglers here recently. It seems that the cold front we had during Christmas definitely moved some fish into our area. For those who are targeting Pompano, you will definitely want to come prepared with an 11’-13’ rod to reach them as the majority of Pompano have been caught roughly 70-100yds off the beach. Fishing with a longcast reel such as the Penn Spinfisher VI longcast will also add a little more distance onto your cast. We have some leftover surf combos put together at discounted prices from our tent sale that you can checkout as well if you are looking into a new surf combo. It is crucial to have the proper tackle in order to catch these Pompano. You will also want to come to the beach prepared with multiple rigs as the Bluefish and Mackerel may cut you off. The hot baits for Pompano have been the Powerlime Crab and EZ Flea Fishbites. Some anglers have been catching them on Sandfleas as well. For those looking for Capt. Paul Pompano rigs, he has been bringing them in on Thursday mornings, they don’t last very long on the shelves! It isn’t a bad idea to cast a spoon while waiting for a bite as well for the Bluefish and Mackerel.
Offshore Fishing Report
The surface bite has certainly had its ups and downs the past few weeks. There have been some Mahi, Sails and Wahoo caught, but anglers have definitely had to put the work in to find them as they have been pretty spread out. The majority of boats have been finding their fish by trolling ballyhoo. We should expect some better surface reports as we get into January as we usually begin to see a lot more action.
On the bottom anglers have been getting into a lot of Lane Snapper, they have been catching the majority of them around the six and eight mile reefs. You can typically find them even shallower this time of year on some of the nearshore reefs. They aren’t too picky and can be caught on chicken rigs with pieces of squid or sardine as well as shrimp on a jighead in some of the shallower spots. Vermillions, Mangroves and Muttons have been making the catch list as well. Other than Snapper, Cobia, Triggerfish and Amberjacks have been caught on the bottom as well. Expect to see more Cobia showing up on the nearshore reefs in the coming weeks.
We have started to see the Spanish Mackerel finally showing up at Pecks Lake, while they haven’t shown in tremendous numbers yet, there are still some to be caught. Grab a box of glass minnows to get them fired up and throw some Gulfstream Flash Minnows at them to get in on the action! You can also typically find some Sheepshead and Snappers at Pecks Lake on the bottom, shrimp on a jig will get the job done for that when they are around.
We hope you all have a great month and are here for any questions!