Winter time is when the natural order of the world determines what happens in a lot of places. Such as the oranges freezing in central Florida and the fish biting in St. Joe Bay and many places in the gulf. The mullet in the creeks and shallow water have also suffered big time losses. While it has been so cold in January it will be up to Mother Nature to determine how long it will stay cold this winter which will also have a large bearing on how good the fishing will be later on in the spring. As long as I can remember we have had cold winters every so often and each time we do, the fishing seems to really catch on when the weather starts warming up really good in the spring time.
Inshore fishing in the bay and the ICW is very good this time of the year in the deeper water. Look for fishing places in ten feet or more depth of water and you will be surprised at how many speckled trout, red fish and other bottom-dwellers will be all together. Whiting and pompano are really coming on strong but when a high-pressure cold front moves in during this time of the year, give yourself 2 or 3 days break from fishing because the fish are going to take a break until it warms up a little bit.
Offshore fishing is really good this time of year when you can get a suitable day to go offshore. The amberjack have been reopened and the trigger fish, white snapper and beeliners are really good this time of year when you can get to them. I do not know at this point what the allocation of grouper and scamp are for the recreational fisherman. I do know that the red snapper, red grouper, gag grouper and scamp have all been individually allocated to the commercial fishermen. Which means that they can fish for these fish anytime of the year except during February and March.
I have been and will continue every effort I can with the NMFS and all of the other government agencies that are putting a stop to anybody fishing. At this point, I do not see any quick relief but I still have all of my hopes that we will get some better allowances down the line. As the information from the government arrives I’m sure that Woods and Water will keep us posted.
Don’t forget to file a float plan, and let somebody know when you are going to return.