The rate at which time flies by absolutely shocks me the older I get but there is something else that shocks me in the month of January in Biscayne Bay, and that is the ridiculous action that abounds in our shallow inshore Miami waters. From bonefish to snapper, this month it’s all going off just in time to test all your new Christmas fishing gear. Probably the best bet this month, and not by much, is the snapper, grouper and mackerel fishing. Before I continue, keep in mind this is closed season for grouper and there are new snapper regulations in effect such as a new minimum size limit for mutton snapper of 18 inches.
So with that taken care of, take your new gear, a block of chum and some live pilchards and hit the finger channels. I prefer an outgoing tide with a rocky bottom about 30 feet away from my longest cast. Once set up start freelining live pilchards on 10-12 pound tackle and enjoy the free-for-all that’s about to break out. When its good I have spent 6 hours in the same channel catching an assortment of snapper, grouper, mackerel, bar jacks, bluefish, and more. You can’t beat that!
For the flats addict, January produces some of the biggest bobefish of the year on the flats since they are more tolerant of cold water temperatures. If the water temperatures are in the low 70’s upper 60’s look for huge schools of smaller bonefish in deeper water in the 6 foot range.
For the night owl, January is peak season for night time tarpon fishing around bridges as the outgoing tide flushes out tons of shrimp. Of course, the bait of choice is big live shrimp and stick to 30-50 pound spinning tackle although the bridges and tarpon tend to make short work of many of your hook ups. Using circle hooks is a great choice along with 60 pound flouro-carbon leader.
Lastly, don’t ignore the mackerel fishing around Key Biscayne and further south inside the bay and on the patch reefs. These are great sport fish that provide plenty of hot action and good tasting filets. I usually use 8 pound tackle for mackerel and have an absolute blast!
Well folks, hitch up the boat and go break in that new fishing gear, now’s the time!
Capt. Mo Estevez