Surf & Pier

Surf & Pier January Fishing Report

2020 has been the most interesting year of my young, 62 years! The latest amazement, is catching pompano in Northeast Florida through December! As of 12/15, our water temps were still in the mid 60’s. Sixty-four is about all these big late season pomps will tolerate. After that, they are gone! Their next stopping point south will be New Smyrna Beach.

If you want to target pompano this month you will probably need to drive south. The best tool to use for success is not your rod ‘n reel, but the computer.  The water temperature is key. The range you are looking for is 65 to 75. Just do a google search for “Sea Surface Temperature”. My favorite is the one from Rutgers University. The satellite they use, flies over several times in a 24 hour period. Once you have located the area with the right temp, drive there and find clean water.

Even though we had a few very early freezes here in Jacksonville, it does not mean the good Whiting and Drum bite will stop. Their tolerance for cold water goes all the way down to 60 degrees. If the water goes below 60, and you do not want to drive an hour or two south, then stay home and tie rigs, rake leaves, do reel maintenance, and et cetera.

If you are going to target the tasty Whiting, you will put more in the cooler by dropping down to a size #2 circle hook, not to be confused with a bigger 2/0 hook that I use in warmer water. Also downsize your bait to about the size no bigger than a nickel. This includes Fishbites which I cut down to ¾ inch long.

We all know about the madness of the election, Covid-19, and toilet paper shortages, all of which we just want to put behind us! Here are a few fun crazy things that happened in the NE Florida surf in 2020. Personally, I caught bonefish and permit. I also had a huge leopard ray on that went TEN feet into the air. It was on a slick calm day, and it put on a show. The real showstopper was Randy Hjelm of Jacksonville with a 35 inch snook, caught at Jax Beach the first week of December!

See you on the beach.  Tight Lines!