We’re settling into our winter weather pattern, which bodes well for the fishing.
The sailfish activity is definitely picking up. As is typical for January, the majority of the sails are being caught in 130 to 200 feet of water. Pilchards and goggle eyes are the top baits.
There’s a nice increase in the number of king mackerel as well. They’re found anywhere from Hawk Channel out to the 200-foot depths. On the reef, bucktailing is working well. Elsewhere, the kingfish are taking live baits, such as pilchards, bluerunners and goggle eyes.
In the 120- to 200-foot areas, good numbers of blackfin tuna are mixed in. Many are a nice size at 10 to 20 pounds. The tuna have been hitting baits intended for the sailfish.
A little trick to keep the tuna around your boat is, once you have one hooked, throw a handful of live pilchards out to keep the rest of the school interested. The result will be multiple hookups.
On the reef, the yellowtail snapper bite is still pretty good, with the 50- to 80-foot depths producing best. On the wrecks, there are plenty of mutton snapper, amberjack and jack crevalle. A variety of live baits, such a pilchards, pinfish, cigar minnows and ballyhoo, are all working well.
The patch reefs and Hawk Channel are really coming into their own with the cooling waters. Here you will find an assortment of yellowtail, lane and mangrove snapper, nice size muttons plus lots of hogfish and porgy. This is a great area for kids as there is usually loads of action.
Bayside, the Spanish mackerel bite is excellent, with good amounts of mangroves mixed in. Most of this action takes place on the shallower wrecks and grass banks located throughout Florida Bay.
A little further out in the Gulf, you’ll get mackerel, both king and Spanish, plus some cobia, mangroves, sharks and jack crevalle.
The week’s best
The SeaSquared boats fished all the inshore venues – Hawk Channel, the patch reefs, the Seven Mile Bridge and the bay – where our anglers caught snappers, hogfish, porgy, yellowjack, Spanish mackerel and kingfish. The Hertzog group, from Maryland, landed both of the sailfish they hooked with Capt. Jason and Capt. Alex on the SeaSquared.