It’s a new year and a new batch of fish on the reef this month in Fort Lauderdale. Kingfish are pretty solid in 90 to 110 feet of water, on or just off the reef. Dead bait drifting or deep jigging are both effective methods to catch them. The kings average a few pounds larger than normal this time of year. Cero mackerel and Spanish mackerel are also mixed in with our daily catches. Grouper are unfortunately out of season for the next few months, so we don’t concentrate on bottom fishing on our day trips. However, some guys fish the bottom and do well. We catch some nice mutton snappers fishing the bottom while drifting, usually at least a couple on every trip. The pool winning fish of the day usually ends up being one of the larger species such as a blackfin tuna, cobia or wahoo. These species get to be 30 pounds and larger. Even a few really big game fish like sailfish and sharks are caught this month. There is a little bit of everything biting this month in Fort Lauderdale.
While we don’t concentrate on the bottom fishing during the day trips, we do on our night trips. Snappers bite exceptionally well at night. It’s when they come out of the woodwork to eat. Anchor up and chum like mad to get the snappers going. When the bite turns on, you can catch them one right after the other. Yellowtails and mangrove snappers sometimes frenzy this month and you can load the box with them. We also catch a few of the bigger mutton snappers on this trip too. Bluefish usually make a run through our waters in January. Bluefish are mostly northern fish, caught in New England waters but for some odd reason make a run down our coastline this month. In January we catch a lot of the “snapper” bluefish (1-3 pounders) on the night trips and then a handful of the full grown bluefish (10-12 pounders) during the day. I will say they are okay eating, depending on your taste for fish. I find and it is commonly said that they have a fishier flavor than most fish. Then again, some people love ’em. I just fish for whatever is biting best out there.
You should get some good action drift fishing this month in Fort Lauderdale. Good luck fishing and I’ll sea ya on the water.
Capt. Paul Roydhouse