Well… The mistletoe is down and the ball has dropped.. By now we’ve all had a chance to break our New Year’s resolution. Personally, I made it a near-record twenty-three and a half hours. Oh well, maybe I can lose those extra pounds next year. I really don’t know why I try to lose weight anyway, it’s never really lost, more like misplaced for a short time, like truck keys. It is, however, comforting to know that some things never change.
Speaking of change, the changing of the calendar brings with it the closure of grouper season for the next four months. Which only makes sense, since grouper are migratory and spend the winter months off Florida’s east coast. Have I mentioned yet this year how much I dislike the National Marine Fisheries Service and the South Atlantic Council? I take no comfort in the fact that their stupidity remains perpetually unchanged. If common sense were currency, they couldn’t afford to buy a cup of coffee.
Since bottom fishing is pretty much limited to amberjack and the fact I’m rather perturbed with the closure, I’m going to skip that part of this dissertation. With bottom fishing off the table, the kingfish will take center stage this month. Last month the kingfishing really heated up and if conditions remain good, the bite should continue through January. The fish should be on many of the inshore reefs from Cris Benson down through Pelican Flats. Once you locate the kings, slow trolled frozen cigar minnows should be all you need to catch an easy limit. Mixed in with the kings, there should be some cobia, blackfin tuna, bonito and a possible wahoo or sailfish.
If trolling is your gig, January can be pretty good month for you. There should still be a few dolphin around and there’s also a very good chance at a sailfish or wahoo. Also, you may have a shot at a blackfin tuna on the troll. Naked ballyhoo and ballyhoo/lure combos should both be in the spread, but you may want to use wire rigs on everything due to the increased chance of a wahoo bite. Definitely put a dark lure with a ballyhoo on the downrigger.
Even though the bottom fishing is out, there’s still plenty of opportunities out there. So, do your best to get out there and celebrate the new year properly… by catching a good one!
See ya on the pond!!