January brings the cold! It also brings some great opportunities for those who bundle up and charge out into the blue. If you’re trolling, there’s a good chance to catch that wahoo this month. We usually find them trolling over the larger peaks in 240 and 260 feet of water.
It’s a good time to do some highspeed trolling, 12 to 14 knots with artificial wahoo lures on 7 feet of #10 wire. I run 30 feet of 150-pound mono as a shock cord to a 32-ounce torpedo lead. I’ll run two rods. One off each corner back 150 feet and 200 feet on a 50-class rod and reel spooled with 80-pound braid. If you’re unfamiliar with this technique, you can always YouTube “high speed trolling for wahoo”. It’s deadly for this super charged predator. I’ve had a lot of 15 and 20 fish days using this technique.
Also expect there to be some nice size dolphin in the 15-to-25-pound class for those trolling ballyhoo. No schools of them, but the ones we see are usually “gaffers.” The dolphin will also be around the peaks in 240 feet to 260 feet, as well as wherever the blue water edges up to the green.
I typically run my regular dolphin spread, but up my leaders to 80-pound mono. I’ll also run my downrigger about 40 feet to 60 feet with a bullet-headed lure and ballyhoo with number 8 or 9 wire for a wahoo. It’s important to use a hand sharpened double strength-hook. Wahoo have a very hard jawbone and quite often a single strength hook out of the box won’t penetrate. You’ll get a screaming pull then slack line and a straightened hook. A little tip…. when that wahoo hits “Don’t Stop The Boat”!
January’s also a good time for bottom fishing 85 feet and 90 feet. Should be some good lane snapper, mutton snapper and I’ve had some awesome mangrove catches. For those who don’t venture far off, look for kings and Spanish mackerel anywhere from the tide line in front of the inlet to around bait pods and structure out to 60 feet.
Keep your eyes sharp for the cobia as well. We had some good catches in January last year. Best bet, be prepared. I always have one rod rigged with a cobia jig. Another ready to pitch a live bait. I understand that not everyone leaves the dock like we do, with 32 rods rigged, but I do believe luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
Fish on, gotta go!