By: Capt. Billy Norris
Well, another month has gone by here in Southwest Florida, and the fishing continues to be great! The weather has remained typical for this time of year, and some of our wintertime staples have showed up in good numbers. The wind has been sporadic, but the seas have been manageable, so we haven’t had to take too many days off due to weather related issues. It is a great time of year with mild temperatures making for great days out on the water!
The bite has been good pretty much across the board. Up and down the coast there are massive schools of pilchards, threadfins, and other batfishes drawing in predators. From shore to a few miles off we have been catching sharks, little tunny, large jack crevalle and a variety of other predatory fish. Still waiting on the massive schools of kingfish, but they should be here soon. By venturing out to some of the nearshore wrecks and reefs, we’ve had some stellar days limiting out on cobia, snapper, grouper and more. Gag grouper have still been active over the course of the last month since the water temperature has held relatively steady. Although their season is closed, they are still a lot of fun to catch and will definitely put a bend in your rod. Cobia have still been popping up all over the place. This past month we caught them on every type of bottom imaginable, from reef to wreck to live bottom. To increase your odds of running across cobia, chum heavily and use a variety of bait presentations. I like to have at least three different setups going, a high line, bottom rig, and something mid-range. This way, if they do wander towards your boat, they will be presented with something regardless of where they are in the water column. Snapper and sheepshead have also made an appearance. Again, heavy chumming will bring them up into your chum line, and drifting baits towards them using “yellowtail crusher” jigs and long, fluorocarbon leaders are your best bet. Permit are here as well, with some solid fish being brought on board. If you luck out and get a flat enough day, you can sight fish them by spotting their sickle-shaped fins protruding from the water. And, of course, a local favorite, tripletail, are here!
Fishing has been great this past month and we are looking forward to a great bite over the next several months. The weather is great, the water is pristine, and the fish are biting so call today to book your trip with Pale Horse Fishing Charters!