January 22 – 24

It has been a cool one all week for the Southwest Florida area. We rarely got into the low 70’s, with most morning runs starting off in the low 50’s. This pattern looks to continue till mid-week where we may get up to a few 75 degree highs. The fishing was good overall and in my area no signs of red tide lingering are evident. Back bay and nearshore fishing was good and the offshore anglers did great again out past 75 feet.

The inshore bite has and will continue to be focused on fish that do not mind cold water. Trout fishing took the top spot all week, with fish caught throughout the area using both popping corks and shrimp tipped jigs. Most of the trout are between 15 and 24 inches. Sheepshead fishing continues, especially around the docks near the passes as well as the wrecks and reefs within the first few miles of the shore. The sheepshead continue fattening up and are eating crabs, shrimp, and tube worms aggressively. Anglers looking for some redfish action need to get as skinny as possible on the flats with darker bottom, that is where they have been on the sunny days.

The offshore bite once again was good for snapper fishermen. There were several nice days last week and we can expect more of the same for this one. A lot of porgies came in this week along with the typical mangrove snappers, lane snappers, and a few red groupers. Most of those that fished stayed inside 85 feet as they could easily limit out and be back to the docks in a timely manner.

The nearshore fishing went well for sheepshead, black drum, snappers, and tripletail. These species all enjoy this cool down and are happy to tug on your line. A few cobia have been caught when fishing on mostly the wrecks throughout the area, with the best bet being in the northern part of the region. The black drum are mostly between the 20- to 40-pound range and can be seen mudding in water as deep as 30 feet. Those targeting the sheepsheads had to lightened up the leader size, as well as downsized their hooks to have the best chance at catching them.

Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper

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