By Capt Roan zumFelde
Well, I hope all have had a wonderful Holiday and a Merry Christmas or however you celebrate. It is the New Year and I hope it will be a prosperous year for all and for the fishing also. Heads up, this is not my favorite fishing month in Southwest Florida. The last few years though, have been pretty good, all things considered. The big weather changes this month will no doubt affect the fish both in technique and species available for us to catch. The best advice I can give you is wear layers of clothing and down size your lure or fly or bait and slow down your retrieves. The other suggestion is to be patient do not be too quick to move from spot to spot work any cover or structure more deliberately and try to make repeated casts at different angles.
Lake Okeechobee fishing should be about the same as last month early in January. Bass fishing should be good and around the new and full moon some bass should want to start bedding for the year. This can be very good and with the lower water levels finding them should not be too difficult. Try targeting the larger flat areas and look for scattered peppergrass mixed with patchy hydrilla. If we have a really cold January it might put them off a little, but you should check anyhow. Go slow and keep looking down and you should be able to see the bedding areas. (Hint they will be light colored). Plastic soft baits that you can see falling into the beds usually work the best. If it is a cold month then the crappie bite should be excellent. The best way to find out what is going on is to check with a local marina from where you are going to launch.
The Everglades Canals The canals in the Everglades should be getting better every day this month. The only thing that might shut the fish down will be a hard cold front and a high pressure system. The lower water levels should get the bass exactly where we can catch them. Bass should rule the canals this month due to lower water temperatures. The cichlids will most likely be hugging the bottom trying to stay warm and alive. I am not saying you will not catch any cichlids they just will not be nearly as aggressive as the bass. The best action should most likely be on small plastic worms. If it stays fairly warm and we do not have too many cold fronts then try small popper flies or tiny Pop-R’s and Torpedo’s. I might concentrate on the canals on 75 east of the Service Plaza. They run east and west and should afford better wind protection then the north south canals. The Miami fishes really well this month but it is tricky to get too. It would take up too much room to explain how to get there, but you go north on the Service Plaza Road.
Come visit Mike and me at Mike’s Bait house and Indian Pass Outfitters on Danford Street, next to Bayview Park in Naples and we can talk fishing. We carry a full line of tackle including: fly fishing needs and both saltwater and freshwater gear, food, drink, and bait. Thanks and good fishing. Roan z