January 27th, 2018

Captain’s Corner for January 29 Dave Zalewski 460-9893

The colder than normal water temperatures for this time of year has affected both inshore and offshore fishing. Inshore anglers have their old standby sheephead to provide light tackle action and great table fare. Natural bait such as fiddler crabs, pieces of live or frozen shrimp, barnacles threaded on a 1/0 circle hook, clams and oysters will work after chumming the area will small pieces of whatever the bait of choice is. Artificial lures do not work well for sheephead because they are a grazing type of fish and rely more on scent to locate their prey.
Offshore anglers, when they can get out, have been affected in the same way by the water temperatures which have slowed down the grouper bite to almost a standstill. The standby fish right now are the smaller reef fish. White grunts, porgies, Lane and mangrove snapper have become our offshore targets. These species do not present much of a challenge as far as fight when caught on standard grouper tackle, but can prove a worthy adversary when caught on 12 to 15 pound class tackle such as that used for trout inshore and bass in fresh water. Small circle hooks(1/0 or 2/0) and the lightest weight that will get the bait to the bottom are necessary. Knocker rigs or jig heads can be employed with success. Live or frozen shrimp and squid strips are the baits of choice. When we have received a break between fronts the 60 foot depths have produced the best. Deeper depths do not seem to be holding as many of the prized reef fish and the shallower waters are still murky from the sediment being stirred up by the high seas.