The Waller Report
January has already arrived, along with a new year! This time of year, fishing can be tough, and many people do not venture out during these cold, winter months. However, there are still some fish to be found inshore and on the nearshore reefs. You may not be able to get out every day this month, but there should be some decent days that Mother Nature brings to us in January.
When planning a trip on the water this winter, watch the weather, looking for days when the winds are not howling and the temperatures are above freezing. One of the most important things to keep in mind when fishing this time of year is to wear layers, as the early morning wind can be brutal. Wear socks that wick moisture away from your feet and wear insulated boots or shoes. Long johns are also a must this time of year. I wear heavy gloves to drive, changing to neoprene for pulling the anchor, and I always carry extra pairs of gloves in case they get wet.
Safety is critical when fishing in the winter, and wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) of some sort is a good idea. If you fall into the water in the summer with shorts, you can swim back to the boat; however, in the winter when you are bundled up, you may not be able to swim with the extra water-logged clothing. Additionally, water temperatures are quite cold in January, and hypothermia is an ever-present danger in the winter.
Inshore, redfish and sheepshead are pretty much all we catch these next few months. When fishing inshore, fish slowly with artificials. If fishing around docks and other structures, we typically get sheepshead and reds in the same area. When the tackle shops are out of fiddlers, we change our rigs to a # 6 treble hook and use fresh oysters as bait. Since you can’t cast when using oysters, you must fish straight down next to pilings or docks. The best fishing times this month are around low water. The perfect trip for sheepshead would be two hours before and after low tide. Wintertime sight fishing for reds on flats boats can be really good this month also. The waters are crystal clear, and being able to see the fish can make for a lot of shots at fish. Out on the reefs, plan on catching weakfish and black sea bass, as well as reds and sheepshead. On our trips to the reefs, we usually fish with live shrimp on the bottom.
There are many seminars at the Charleston Boat show at the end of this month, so make plans to attend and get more information about our local fisheries and see the new boats.
Capt. Michael Waller | SaltFisher Charters www.saltfisher.com | (843) 224-8197 or | (843) 343-7538