Homosassa Fishing Report: January 2018
Yes forest fishers, we’ve made it to 2018, and it’s time for some good ole’ fashioned winter fishing. I love this time of year, because as long as you focus on catching specks, you’re sure to catch a few of the other species as a bi-catch.
From what I’ve seen so far, the speck population is healthy and thriving. In the past years, it seems like every winter I see anglers with coolers full of fish, and I haven’t been able to catch more than just a few here and there. Well, this year, I think I’ve finally figured them out.
Everyone knows to slow down and fish small jigs and live minnows when it’s cold. Well that’s true, but the SECRET is: You have to add a very subtle bumping action to get them to bite. What I was doing wrong before was moving my bait around a little too much. As soon as I tried keeping it just above the bottom and BARELY bumping my rod tip, I started getting way more bites. Winter makes these fish very lethargic and they don’t move around much, or chase after anything. You have to keep your bait right in front of their face until they decide to take a nibble. Sometimes you won’t even feel the bite. You will just notice a little extra weight as you lift your rod. When that happens, set the hook and reel up fast. Never lose tension, and have that net ready. A lot of times, they are barely hooked and you need to get them to the boat as quickly as possible. Once you’ve caught one, make sure to stay in that spot for a while. Specks school up, and all the other gamefish stay right there with them.
Eight to ten feet is the best depth to start on. If you don’t have a fish finder, just drop your line to the bottom and lift up to measure the depth. Underwater ledges are key, because fish can go from deep to shallow in a short distance.
When you’re trolling, you have to hook your minnow or jig-tail in the lip so it swims straight. However, the BIGGEST TIP I figured out is: When you are vertical jigging, hook your bait in the middle of it’s back. That way when you bump your rod, the bait will act like it’s wounded and has a broken back—easy pickens!
Lake Bryant and the Ocklawaha River are the best spots for boaters, while the dams at Rodman and Moss Bluff are the go-tos for shoreside anglers. Either way, the more rods you have out, the better chance of success you will have.
The moon has a huge effect on the success of your day. Three to four days before the full moon (Jan.2 and Jan.31st) is the best time for a great sunset bite. Also, there is a major feed everyday, and that is when the moon is directly overhead (no matter what time of day it is).
This is the most beautiful time of year to go fishing. The colors of the leaves are spectacular and when the sun is setting, everything shines like gold. Enjoy it while it lasts, and remember to have patience. Slow and steady wins the race!
John Freeze / 352-216-5798 / [email protected]