Stuart Deep Sea: Jan. 2018

Bountiful catches of lane snapper will fill the days (and filet tables) of January, like this recent catch aboard the Safari 1. Photo credit: Safari 1.
Jumbo lane snapper caught aboard the Safari 1. Photo credit: Safari 1.

Best fishes for the New Year will be found around and atop the expansive reef system just offshore of Martin County.  Naturally occurring coral reefs, along with over five dozen artificial reef sites east of our St. Lucie Inlet will become the focal point for offshore game plans and fishing strategies. Like the changes on the pages of the New Year`s calendar, the offshore playing field will display a new profile in the form of winter time fish that will settle into these salty reef habitats. Schools of Spanish and king mackerel and lane snapper will congregate this month and populate seasonal, preferred reef areas. While most species of fish can be found over a wide area in our local zone, these fish seem to have a predilection to certain spots, like the offshore Peck Lake/ Kingfish Hole, the 140 King Numbers, and the Sand Pile (the Texas Reef), just to name a few.  Local knowledge of the preferred and proven fish haunts will be the primary component to any angler`s chance for success. Anglers can search out for GPS numbers for many of Stuart`s reef locations by logging on to This website will give one an expansive selection of all of Martin County`s offshore Artificial Reefs.

King mackerel will populate the offshore reefs of Martin County this month, like this smoker king caught by Scott Harwood aboard the Safari 1. Photo credit: Safari 1.

The seasonal conditions associated with the Florida winter, will be firmly in place in January`s near coastal fishing zone. This month, the steady and rhythmic procession of cold fronts will have patterned the way these fish feed and move through this zone. Given the proper, user-friendly weather window, anglers will be able to ply honey holes in depths from 25 to 180 feet of water, where pelagic and resident fish will frequent, for feeding and spawning. Live bait should be available in abundance by January, however, anglers should always bring a good selection of dead baits (like Spanish sardines, ballyhoo, and squid) in case live bait is not easily found on a particular fishing day. Spoons and jigs should always be part of good offshore tackle box, so don`t forget to bring a selection of artificial baits or lures, along with whole dead baits. A good selection of frozen baits and jigs will always compliment a live well full of ammo and give January`s offshore angler endless options as they dial in the desired fish catching strategy. So, in January, watch the weather, find your fish-friendly window and keep your offshore strategy options open. With pre-planning and a cooler full of bait, this will lead to happy fishing and a Happy New Year!

FORECAST BY: Capt. Rocky Carbia
Safari I
Pirates Cove Resort and Marina
4307 SE Bayview St. Port Salerno, Florida
Reservations: (772) 334-4411