I’d like to say the new year started off with a bang. Unfortunately, in my case, it was the clunk of a failing transmission. Not exactly the way to start off 2015, but maybe I’m just getting the stressful garbage out of the way early. At least for now, I’m gonna believe that. Oh well, as they say.. Onward and upward, at least I haven’t been thinking about the grouper I can’t keep!
With the yearly grouper shutdown upon us, the slow trolling/live baiting will take the center stage for a few months. In January, the slow trolling was pretty darn good. The kings were biting like they hadn’t had a meal in weeks. As if they weren’t enough, there were more than a few sailfish with some blackfin tuna, mahi and cobia thrown in for good measure. Transmission not withstanding, all-in-all I would say it was a pretty good start to the angling year.
The key to a carryover of last month’s action is going to be general water characteristics and temperature, the biggest of which is temperature. This time of year, the fish are driven by temperature. Once the water temp starts dipping into the 60’s, the king schools start tightening up into dense knots and begin moving south in a hurry. Once they get back to water north of the 70 degree mark, they tend to loosen up a bit and stop moving so fast. Hopefully, the water will stay above 70 and remain relatively clear. Then, we should be able to enjoy another month of awesome fishing!
February can be a decent month for trolling if you like to catch sailfish. Just like the kings, the sailfishing will depend on water temp. The 70+ range seems to be the key. The biggest problem for Bally trollers is the fact that much of the sail activity has been centered around the kingfish on the inshore reefs. Bring plenty of ballyhoo as the kings have a tendency to clip them off right behind the hook. With the sailfish, there should be a good chance at a mahi, blackfin or maybe a wahoo.
For this month, if you’re running offshore, keep a close eye on your temp gauge. One fish’s nemesis is another’s fairy godmother. Those temps below the 70 degree line may make some fish move south. But, that 68 degree mark is Baby Bear’s porridge for the cobia. If you can find an edge where the water jumps from the mid 60’s to the 67-70 degree range, you could be in the spot. If there’s Christmas trees of greenies and gannets diving along the edge, that’s even better. There’s a good chance there should be some manta rays and/or free swimming cobia in the area. Have both jigs and livies ready in case you encounter some finicky fish.
Whatever the case, take your Honey fishing for Valentine’s Day and cook her a heart healthy fish dinner! Blackened cobia fajitas are my personal go to, but don’t be afraid to step it up with some shrimp or scallops. Feel free to copy my m.o., I won’t tell nobody!
See ya on the pond!
Thanks and tight lines!