The month of January can be an exciting time to catch saltwater fish. Throughout our region a variety of game fish can be tar- geted with great chances of a nice stringer to take home. To begin with, the black drum bite should be very good. Black drum are known to be bottom feeders. Typically, they can be caught along channel drop offs, the flats, or even structure such as docks. One of my favorite areas to target black drum is the northern end of the Banana River. Black drum will be feeding on clams, shrimp, crabs, and bait fish. When target- ing these fish, anglers will want to use fresh cut bait such as mullet or ladyfish rigged onto a circle hook or live shrimp rigged onto a 1/4-ounce jig head. When conditions are calm, several of these fish can be caught while sight casting to them. When targeting black drum, anglers will want to cast the bait in front of the school for sight fishing, or allowing the bait to rest on the bottom along channel drop offs. The aver- age length of these black drum should be around 15 inches with the largest fish measuring in at 27 inches.
In addition, the sheepshead bite should be good. One of the best ways to catch a sheepshead is to rig a shrimp or fiddler crab onto a number 1 or 2 circle hook. Anglers will want to drop their bait to the bottom and then retrieve the bait so that it is suspended 2 to 3 feet off the bottom. Once you are set up practice a little patience and get ready to hold on tight. Sheepshead can be difficult to hook and have an uncanny ability to clean a hook without you knowing anything happened. When targeting sheepshead, it is very important to keep your line tight and be ready for the bite because you often only get one chance to set the hook.