by Capt. Charlie Conner
Happy New Year! In past several years, January has traditionally been a cold month around the Treasure Coast. Hopefully, 2018 will show us another mild winter and you won’t have to worry about the water temperatures as much this year. Fishing in deeper water will provide you with better results on most days. Working your lures and baits much slower will also give you a better chance at success. Fish tend to become lethargic in cold water and are slow in moving to strike at lures. Finding water that is a couple degrees warmer than the surrounding area can also give you an edge on finding fish. Water temperatures have been mild so far. We had great results last year on fishing deep sand holes on the flats that were being warmed by the sun. We will certainly be doing that again this year.
January is typically a windy month and it will continue the tradition if recent weather gives you an insight to the coming month. You might enjoy one or two days a week that is calmer, but expect it to be windy most days. Using the right ramps can make your day a little easier in dealing with the weather. There are many ramps around the area that allow you to launch depending on wind direction. The river can be rough some days, but you can still fish most days if you plan your trips carefully. It is a great month to fish in spite of weather conditions that might not be to your liking.
Bridges will continue to produce sheepshead, black drum, croakers, sand perch and bluefish. Most of the anglers on the catwalks prefer live or frozen shrimp for these fish. The inlet and turning basin will be full of bluefish, jacks and mackerel this month. Live or dead bait on a jig head will give you plenty of action along with silver spoons or shiny lures. Around seawalls, channel edges or deeper structure you can find grouper for catch and release action in January. Snook action around the jetties and bridges will be active mostly at night for anglers using feather jigs, Terror Eyz and live bait. Snook closed on December 15th, so it will be catch and release for them.
Redfish can be found around docks and sitting on the flats on warm, sunny days. The new 2 ¾” DOA shrimp, Terror Eyz or CAL jerk baits work great for wintertime fishing. We had fantastic results around mangroves for redfish last year. CAL paddle tails in the 411 color were a hit with the reds. Docks will be loaded with sheepshead in January with nice sized fish. They have moved in early this year and have been hungry! Pompano fishing will depend on water temperatures for their location, but they will be in the area throughout the winter.
Surf anglers will be targeting these fish on days when the beach is fishable. Flounder should be found around the jetties on the beach side and on sand flats around the inlet. If you can find warmer water on the flats, you will most likely find trout feeding in those areas. Last year, we were rewarded many days as the sun would warm up a patch of water and get the fish actively feeding. Trout fishing in 2017 rewarded us with many big fish in the 25” to 30” range. CAL jerk baits and Deadly Combos were very successful on the trout, and 2018 should prove to be another good year. Ladyfish and jacks will be all over the river for fun action for the little ones.
January Tips: Dress for the weather. We might get one or two days each week that might be warmer, but most days will be on the cooler side. There can be a 30 degree swing in temperature on some days. Dressing in layers can keep you comfortable throughout the day in January. Once you become cold, it's hard to warm back up again. Keep yourself comfortable and enjoy some good fishing in January. Stay warm and safe and enjoy the winter!
Remember, fishing is not just another hobby....it's an ADVENTURE!Have a wonderful 2018!
Thanks and Good Fishing!
Captain Charlie Conner