The promise of a New Year will shine bright in the eyes of January’s offshore anglers, whose happiness will be gauged by a color spectrum of fish, that will magically appear on our doorstep. Like “sleight of hand”, the magic of fish color will be found around naturally occurring coral reefs and the (over) seven dozen artificial reef sites east of our St. Lucie Inlet. These bottom structures 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 wintertime 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 www.martinreefs.com. This website will give one an expansive selection of all of Martin County`s offshore Artificial Reefs.
The seasonal conditions associated with the Florida winter, will be firmly in place in January`s near coastal fishing zone. This month, the continued procession of cold fronts will have patterned the way these fish feed and move through the 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, at times, should be available in 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 offshore angler’s endless options as they dial in their 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
Pirates Cove Resort and Marina
4307 SE Bayview St. Port Salerno, Florida
Reservations: (772) 334-4411