by Capt. Bart Marx
Hello fellow anglers, January 2019 can you believe it? I pray this year there is a rebound of the waters along our coast. The media has helped keep the Red Tide in the news. Throughout the summer, I was able to find areas that were clear and had good fish there. The beaches are an easy target to report on, for the media. Going into the back waters and out into the Gulf can produce a few fresh fish meals. Give your local bait shops a call and ask some questions about the area you plan to fish. They get daily reports from anglers and it is very reliable. If you are in the fishing boating industry you should know this is the time of year we usually have red tide. And in other parts of our area the Blue Green algae dumping into the estuary adding to the destruction of our water quality. With all this going on, the Charter Boat Captains have been hit in the wallet. Some have big payments on boats and trucks to pull the boats to the ramps. I know some that have gone and got jobs not related to our industry. Enough whining,
sorry about the rabbit trail. Offshore there are some king mackerel traveling around looking for food. Trolling is productive with spoons and small planers, I put wire on my planer and spoons kings have a mouthful of razor blades. The wire should be single strand thirty pound it is smaller in diameter and is flexible for more action for your lure. If you are the live bait angler stock up on some threadfin herring, using the same wire with two hooks one to hold the bait and one to catch the kings. Find an artificial reef or an area that holds bait and kings anchor and cast into the area and throw a couple of chummers. When doing this leave your drag on the lighter side so the smoker / king wont brake your line on a hard run. This to me is the most fun, you anchor up on your favorite snapper spot and fish. While you are fishing, I like to put a bonus rod out. Yes, a bonus rod set up for king fish, a live bait rig with a live or dead sardine with a bobber set about six feet from the hook. As you are fishing the fish you catch purge as they come to the surface creating an underwater chum slick. This will attract some kings and sharks. Again, leave your drag on the loose side this will give you time to move other rods out of the way before you pick up the smoking rod. Yes, you can be mangrove snapper fishing and harvest a king too. If you find the right spot you could harvest a hogfish too. This month as the waters cool the sheepshead will migrate out to the close reefs and small ledges in our area. The bait of choice in the winter months is shrimp. Yes, the shrimp go up into the estuaries to reproduce. Sometimes you see the shrimp boats anchored up five or so miles off the beaches. They are good targets as they clear their decks of by catch which is chum. Yes, if you wait too late to go out it will be less productive as to earlier.