JANUARY FISHING REPORT:
The water temperatures should bottom out this month in the 55-60 degrees range. With the water that cold the number of species to target will be minimal. Sheepshead, Redfish, Black Drum and Flounder will still be active in the cold water.
Sheepshead will be the main target this month. With a strict diet of crustaceans, Sheepshead are drawn to the pilings which are covered in barnacles. They will eat fiddler crabs, shrimp, sand fleas, barnacles and tube worms. Use a small #2 hook with 24 inches of 20-25 lb. fluorocarbon leader. Add a split shot heavy enough to get your bait down. I would fish vertical, right next to a piling and fish the lower third of the piling. You will see fish eating barnacles off the pilings. They will not take your bait with you watching them – you see them and they see you. Drop your bait past them lower in the water column to other fish out of your view. The Sheepshead’s bite is very subtle. Watch your line for movement and set the hook. Minimum size is 12 inches.
We have seen quite a few Black Drum being caught lately. Keeper fish are 14-24 inches with a limit of 5 fish per day. You can keep 1 fish over 24 inches. Black Drum search the bottom for food using their sence of smell. They will eat shrimp and crab fished on the bottom. Very large fish (over 28 inches) should be released for breeding purposes, also fish that large have worms in their meat.
The Redfish have also been hanging around our dock. Sizes range from 15-27 inches. Just like their brothers the Black drum, they search the bottom for food using smell. Fish under the docks using shrimp (live or dead), crabs or any fresh cut bait. Most fish have been in the keeper slot range of 17-27 inches. The Flounder bite has been up and down. With each passing cold front, we get a couple of days of real dirty water due to the high winds.
Flounder are masters of camouflage and use their sight to ambush passing bait fish. With dirty water their vision is cut down. This will minimize your chance of getting a bait or jig in their sight. The cleaner the water gets to better your chances for a bite. When you do get a bite, always count to ten before trying to pull the fish off the bottom. This will give him a chance to get the hook in his mouth.
Be respectful of all fish. If not within the legal sizes please release them in a timely manner. It is your responsibility to know the Florida fish limits, if unsure please ask us at the pier and we will be happy to help you out.