January 2015 is moving right along and will soon be over. Our winter fisheries have not been too predictable so far, however, it could all change from day to day. Our region's weather has held out for the most part, minus the ice storms and high winds that followed.
In our waters we are still holding true to our winter time, cold water tactics to find and catch fish. We are seeing more and more anglers return to the are and start back fishing. It usually takes several weeks after Christmas for everyone to settle back down and get back to what really matters: fishing! Like I mentioned before, winter time fishing is not as easy as some may say, but with some homework and good weather, you can take luck out of your game.
With all the freshwater flowing down stream to us now from run offs and snow melts, we are getting warmer water in the river systems and some odd ball species as well. This cold snap and the conditions that it triggered spawned a good number of blue crabs to invade to the shallow to deep waters. Most anglers and some land lovers are getting full traps in the 12-20ft range in brackish waters. Larger commercial traps will perform better in deep waters, however, the old style loop crab baskets will work just as good from a bridge or dock. Chicken, minnows, and even a can of dog food with holes punched in it will work for crab baits.
Trout and red fish have been somewhat elusive since the cold snap. We are seeing smaller trout and plenty of red fish in the ICW canal and into the Apalachicola river system. This system holds loads of fish and many of them spend the winter months in the deeper holes and channels. Tarpon, trout, red fish, and some sharks call this area home for January and February and are often shy to bite. A good fish finder and a way to target fish in the 12-25ft water is a must for back water fishing in our region!
As a by catch this week we are seeing huge numbers of sheepshead invade our waters. I talked with several guides and most of the action is sheepshead, and in a big way. Some anglers are getting over their limit in the ICW canal and into the deeper waters of Apalachicola and St. Joe Bays. Live shrimp and small crabs will find the action, so bring plenty along with your plastics. I like a Carolina Rig with a # 6 long shank hook for live crabs and shrimp and I present the bait on the hook shank as to get the most feel from the bite. Sheepshead are notorious for stealing bait, so keep that in mind!
Fishing is improving little by little, so get back in the action.
Capt. Brent Romiti - Bluewater Outriggers
Fish commonly found in St. Joe Bay and NW Florida Gulf Waters
Daniel Fussell, Director of Marinas
Office: (850) 227-9393 - Fax: (850) 227-9394