January, the best month for sight fishing Redfish! With all the flats boats and shallow water crafts, this is the time to get out and really use them. As the water of North Florida gets clean and clear with less boat traffic, precipitation, and all the micro organisms die off, you can truly see fish on the right days. It's best to get a falling mid day tide and fish areas with the sun at your back. If the wind is under 10 knots you can pick flats that have smooth water in the lee. this will allow you to see pushes, wakes, and backing redfish. I like to lead the fish afew feet in his path of travel and when he approaches just very slightly move the bait. Use the lightest TBS Black Nickel jig you can get away with or sometimes no jig, just a hook for total stealth. A length of 15 / 20 lb HI SEAS fluorocarbon to about 30 inches and a loop knot to you presentation is ideal. A rod that is 7ft - 8ft with a fast tip is best. This will also give distance, and staying far from the fish as possible will keep from alarming him. A healthy mud minnow is a great choice as well as shrimp. Also blind fishing around the pinch points and out flows of creeks on a falling tide can produce well. There will be trout in the deeper bends, holes in creeks and the Inter coastal waterway. Bright colored plastics on a jig worked slow across the bottom, float rigs and jig and bait are all top producers. Many will be small under the 15 inch min. Black drum will be in many of the same areas. Again a jig and shrimp will be best, casting and leaving the bait stationary in and around the oyster bars. Sheephead will be in the mix as well, same set up will be a ticket. If stretching a line is all you want to do, then look at points and area inlets throughing jigs and plugs for bluefish. These aggressive and hard fighters will be fun for all and easy to catch. many times fulfilling the day with excitment as the tide gets correct for another species. Until next time, don't let the weather fool you, this is still a great time to get out and experience great fishing!!
Redfish, trout, blackdrum, sheephead, and bluefish is what we have for the remainder of the year. I will start out talking about the redfish since this is a great time of year for them. As the water clears up and cools down the micro organisms will die off, less boat traffic, and less rain will help in keeping the water clear. This makes for better sight fishing. Fish the falling tides and target fishy areas like pinch points in creeks, flats and oyster edges can all be great spots to look. Having ideal weather conditions will help. No wind, sun up higher for visibility and behind you. Move very methodically and quiet, looking, as you see a backing or waking fish, get your presentation out in front in his path. Also you can anchor in these areas and soak bait on a TBS Jig. Mud minnows and shrimp work well, and also cast with ease. Let the bait sit still for a pickup. Lure fisherman can use a dark or natural colored bucktail, (crab or shrimp imitation) or if in areas of heavy oysters a weedless soft plastic. Through out and work the lure back with the current. Same if you spot fish lead him and cross the fishes path of travel and be subtle!! Another reason for the bucktail, less movement with the action of the hair breathing, creating a very alive look, not to mention, they through the most accurate!! In many of the trips I take, most people have trouble in accurate casting, so it helps to have a lure that does not "helicopter" and spin off coarse .Accuracy is everything. The bucktails hold water which is weight and through accurate and land soft with a crustation like appearance. Also a good time to fish deeper bends and holes in creeks, they can load up on specked and yellowmouth trout. Bright colored plastic, bucktails, jig shrimp combos and float rigs all have there place and work well. Many fish will be smaller under the 15 inch minimum however numbers can be good. In these type areas and styles of fishing black drum and sheepheads will be in the mix. Shrimp work outstanding for the drum and fiddlers on the sheepies. Of coarse there will be an occasional flounder caught and a fair share of bluefish. Some of the areas inlets and points in the ICW with bait and current will hold most of the blues. Fun fish with lots of action. Every time of year has something to offer, get out and give it a try!!
Capt. Tony's expert insight on what you should look for on the water and how to get the most out of the current fishing season.