DECEMBER 2019 Fishing Report and JANUARY 2020 Forecast

DECEMBER 2019 Fishing Report and JANUARY 2020 Forecast

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Capt. Rick Davidson, Editor (

Sea Hag DECEMBER Report

Hoping everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s. I also hope you had a chance to get out and do some fishing over the holidays, because the fishing has been over the top. There’s been some wind, and not much water as usual this time of year, but both offshore and inshore, people have been bringing in some amazing catches. Here’s a small sample of catches this month.

I got to take CCA’s Leiza Fitgerald and Douglas Barrett out for a trip, and Doug connected with this fine redfish.
Fisher Holloway got the right name and this giant trout learned the hard way.
Melissa McCaulley brought home this fine-looking gag grouper for dinner.
Robert Mashburn with the kind of massive trout we expect to see in the winter.
Paul Austin found this redfish up a creek.

Capt. Mike and Melanie Farmer took first place redfish in the Eggnog Open Tournament.
The Sheffield crew with a full board of gag and red grouper and vermillion snapper.
Chris Moody with a beautiful pair, redfish and trout.
Mama Hag Danielle will be eating grouper for a while.
Khloe Greyling fished in the river and found this trout.

Jackson Willerson came down from Rome, Ga. to catch this fine flounder.
Brian Stauffer loves kayak fishing, and this is why.
Brialee Singeltary with an upper-slot redfish caught north of the river.
Katie Garrett with two fine gag grouper.
Bobby Rykard found this way overslot redfish near Keaton Beach.
Chase and Madison had the first of many great days on the water!

The Doerings with a nice red. You don’t even need a boat to catch nice fish at Steinhatchee.
And finally, I had an especially great holiday because my grandson Walker Esposito caught his very first fish, this trophy croaker!


As always weather dependent; we’ve had a very mild winter and while trout came in the river briefly, they’re not there in large numbers yet. A quick freeze will send them in and the fun begins. It’s easy to fish the river as long as you can get anchored near but outside of the channel. In very cold water the fish will be deep, so fish jigs or fishfinder rigs with weights near the bottom of rocky holes 20 feet deep or so, which means I can guarantee you’ll get hung on rocks, so bring lots of replacement tackle. In shallower water, drift live shrimp with small weights (crimp-on or large split shot); cast upriver and let the bait drift past the boat. In the afternoons, especially with flood tides, the shoreline will warm up and you may find fish nearer the marshlines and shore. In warmer weather, fish shorelines and rocky areas on the flats very slowly, using unweighted soft plastics and barely moving the baits. Redfish get very lethargic but those that haven’t migrated offshore still need to eat. Just fish as slow as you can, then slow that down another fifty percent. Slow is the word on the flats in the winter. Paul Brown Corky Devils or Bass Assassin Salty Snacks are good choices.  And unlike the rest of the year, don’t rush out there at daybreak before the water warms up. Fish activity in the winter varies with time of day (and resulting water temperature). Offshore, gag grouper season ended on December 31. Red grouper are open year round; in the gulf, amberjack will be closed until August.

There are two tournaments in January. On the 18th there is a fundraiser for Gainesville High School’s Fishing Club, and the 25th is the same for the Santa Fe High School baseball team. For more information, call the marina AT (352) 498-3008.

This is going to be another great year of fishing for the Steinhatchee area, so come join us. Accommodations, boat rentals, fishing licenses, tackle, live bait…. we’ve got everything you need so give us a call. And Happy New Year to all.

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