Happy New Year 2019 and welcome to the outstanding surf fishing that January brings to our Space Coast Beaches. This is the time of year when we separate the weekend warriors from the more dedicated (crazy) anglers. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a snob, I have rolled over a lot of times on cold mornings and decided from my warm bed that no one was going to catch fish on a given day. Only to find out later that the bite was on and I missed a good day of fishing. When asked later where I was during all the surf action, I responded that I had things to do around the house. Note to self: I am not a good liar.
So dress for the conditions and enjoy the crisp mornings and great surf fishing on our beaches. The layered look is in this year for the surf angler. Growing up in the Chicago winters, I recall my Mother saying “remember dress warmly and take an extra sweater, you can always take it off if it gets to warm, without it you will be cold”. Truer words were never spoken and for the Florida winter angler it’s the same. Dress in layers and shed the cloths as the day warms up.
January will see a host of opportunities for anglers. Whiting, sheepshead, drum, bluefish, pompano and sharks will be in the surf. Anglers will be able to use a number of different rods, reels, baits and tactics during this time of the year to catch fish. Live sand fleas are a prime bait for pompano and sheepshead and always a first choice. Clams and shrimp follow as bait for whiting and drum. Bluefish are ravenous and will eat just about anything but, dearly love a chunk of finger mullet as do the bonnethead sharks. So with the right baits, favorable wind and sea conditions anything is possible and generally happens during January.
If the bluefish are running there is no better beach sport than catching them on a single hook rig in the surf. Anglers use Fishbites or chunked finger mullet and once hooked up with a 18-20 inch bluefish their in for a real treat. Use casting / spinning rods (7 to 8 ft) and a silver gator spoon with single hook attached, tip with Fishbites for a deadly bait in the surf. Tight Lines