Steinhatchee Fishing Report: January 2018


A Cooler Full of Excellent Groceries

Capt. Brian Smith


In the past, before gag grouper had a closed winter season, trolling was so successful that I wouldn’t bother taking bait.  Deep diving plugs hung on the inside of five-gallon buckets were all that was necessary during a Blue Bird winter day.  However, that is no longer an option.  Why?  I haven’t heard a sound answer myself.

Nonetheless, there is a tasty alternative.  Black seabass and Florida snapper bite so well, I call it Yo-Yo fishing.  All one has to do is find a area of hard bottom, drop a squid strip, count to three and reel up a fine fish fry.  If you run out of squid, you’ve got cut bait to switch to.  Light tackle, such as trout gear, making the fishing that much more fun!

Inshore cold-water temperatures will encourage trout and redfish to stack up around and in the estuary creeks and rivers seeking warmth.  When the fish are driven in, the tried and true jigs and Mirror Lures can produce fish on every cast.  If you don’t know where the fish are, simply look for clusters of boats.  Please be polite and respectful.

Another winter option is to fish bits of shrimp on the bottom of deep holes in the river.  Whiting and croaker aren’t big pole benders but make for a delicious fish fry and a fun day on the water.

Anyway, don’t let grouper closures and cold weather keep your boat idle.  There are always fish biting in Steinhatchee, even in the winter.