With the winds still blowing hard in January, there are still fish to be caught. The water temperature should have dropped enough to bring in the schools of bluefish from the north. Bluefish will be from the beaches to one or two miles offshore. On days that the weather will allow, you can find bluefish cruising the near shore waters in larger schools. This will allow you to get out and bend some rods. They travel in schools looking for anything that swims to eat.
You can catch bluefish on smaller mullet, pilchards and sardines if you are a live bait fisherman. The faster the bait swims, the better the chances of hooking these fish. If you like to fish with artificial bait and lures, the bluefish will hit anything that is shiny and quickly retrieved. It doesn’t matter if you are using top water or sub-surface lures, they will hit them. Bluefish will also hit a silver spoon with a fast retrieve. Watch for birds diving and the bluefish will be in that area.
A good setup for these fish is a light 10-to-15-pound rod with about a 4000-size reel. I prefer using 10-pound mainline with 20-pound leader and a small barrel swivel. You will want to put a piece of #3 wire up to your hook or lures so you don’t get bit off due to their razor sharp teeth and attach the wire to the swivel.
On days that the winds subside and conditions allow for a run further offshore, look for the sailfish as they will still be in the area. There will possibly be some mahi mixed in with the sailfish. The best bet to get hooked up will be to troll ballyhoo from 90 feet on out towards the warmer Gulf Stream waters. If live baits can be found, such as big blue runners or sardines, they will improve your chances of hooking up with a sailfish or a nice mahi. If you pull a dredge or teaser in front of your baits, this will entice a deeper fish to come to the surface to check out your baits. The offshore bite will be good this time of year when you can get out.