Stuart Offshore: January 2020

Kicking off the new year with smiles should be pretty easy in 2020 with what we’re expecting off the coast this January. Experiencing an extremely warm start to our winter season last month only helps the next couple months here. Typically, in January, water temperatures are in the low to mid-70s off our coast and everything north of us is deemed uninhabitable as our pelagic fish don’t like water temperatures below 67 degrees. With every north wind, and temperature drop expect another body of fish to make their way down the coast.

Bait is already staging off our beaches and reefs, so once the fish make it here. there’s no reason for them to continue their journey south. Focus along color changes, temperature breaks, and reef lines to maximize your efforts. Depths from 75-to-175 feet are where we spend most of our time now but extending your hunt both deeper and shallower can be beneficial at times, especially when searching for mahi. Obviously keep an eye out for debris and floatsum and when you find it be prepared to fish something deeper down in the water column as bigger dolphin and wahoo often hang deep on stuff like that.

Most of our efforts are still spent trolling for the first half of this month, but live bait becomes easier to catch this time of year and Capt. Bryan is normally selling some in the Pocket during the morning rush. If you decide to catch your own, make sure you use a de-hooker. You can buy one that my little boy Thatcher makes at Snook Nook, Fish Heads, White’s Tackle and Stuart Angler.

The target species right now are pretty much everything except for grouper due to seasonal closures. Sailfish, mahi, blackfin tuna, wahoo, king mackerel, cobia, and snapper are all fair game in January and can even be targeted on the same day. Just try not to spread yourself too thin, it’s usually better to focus on just a couple or a few of the species in a given day.

Wishing you a Happy New Year and hoping your next fishing trip is Off The Chain.

FORECAST BY: Capt. Scott Fawcett
Off the Chain Fishing Charters
Phone: (772) 285-1055

There will be great dolphin action over the coming months, Here is Erik with a nice one! Photo credit: Capt. Scott Fawcett.
Getting ready to release another sailfish aboard Off The Chain. Photo credit: Capt. Scott Fawcett.