Trophy-sized largemouth bass, limits of crappie, and the shad run will keep anglers busy this January in Central Florida. Water levels have dropped, and the water flow has slowed. Fishing is best when you can but working around the cold fronts will produce the best bites. Want to pay off those holiday bills? Don’t miss out – Free – Hook’d on Lake Monroe Fishing Tournament Jan 10-12. Don’t forget to sign up for the Shad and Crappie Derby!
Fish of the Month – American and Hickory shad are here. Look for them from Mullet Lake Park all the way upstream into the Econlockhatchee River and Puzzle Lake. Match the minnow hatch – wild minnows are small. Try a one-inch black with chartreuse tail tube bait on a 1/16th ounce jighead (minnow tipped). Another tip – try a 1/8 oz. jighead with a 2” curly tail or 2” paddle tail soft plastic. Keep your baits small. Longline troll a little faster than you would for specks, about 1.8 – 2.8 mph with plenty of line out so that the lure is near the bottom. The by catch might just be a large sunshine bass!
Crappie – Full and new moons will see spawning activity – specks bed in colonies. Males prep beds in shallow while larger females will stage in 6-10 feet of water where drop offs are close to the shore of the lake. January will see the river bends swell with staging females. Minnow tipped jigs tied 12 inches below a ¾ ounce egg sinker fished a foot above the bottom is sure to catch a stringer full. Mylar and ice jigs work great in January too. Longline trolling improves when tipping with a live Missouri minnow.