Stuart Deep Sea: January 2020

Safari 1 snapper smiles will be bountiful during the days of January. Photo credit: Safari 1.

Fish vision will be 20/20 as the new pages of the calendar reveal saltwater excitement offshore of Martin County. Best fishes for the New Year will be found around the expansive reef system in our local ocean. 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 fishing strategies.  The New Year’s liquid 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 seasonally, 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.

The Florida winter will be firmly in place in January`s near coastal fishing zone. This month, the 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

King mackerel will make a strong showing this month, like this sturdy king caught by Michael Higgins on the Safari 1. Photo credit: Safari 1.
All flavors of snapper will populate the reefs of Martin County, like these pretty mutton snappers caught aboard the Safari 1 by Jason Bourque. Photo credit: Safari 1.
Lane snapper will blanket the Safari 1 filet table of January. Photo credit: Safari 1.