Big news for freshwater fishing in January – Free – Hook’d on Lake Monroe Fishing Tournament January 9, 2021. Angler registration at Celery City Craft Beer Garden in Sanford on Friday evening January 8, get your boat number starting at 6:00 pm. With over 100 boats expected, weigh-in will be staggered based on boat numbers. Therefore, all anglers must register and get a boat number Friday evening at Celery City.
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 (aka Shad Alley). Match the minnow hatch – wild minnows are small. Keep your baits small. Try a 1/8 oz. jighead with a 2” curly tail or 2” paddle tail soft plastic. 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 – January will see the river bends swell with staging females. 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. 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. Minnows under a cork are the most popular way to catch crappie. 8-pound test mono is perfect. Learn how to use a slip bobber and set your baits at different depths until the fish show you how deep they are biting that day.