JANUARY 2020 Fishing Report and FEBRUARY Forecast

JANUARY 2020 Fishing Report and FEBRUARY 2020 Forecast

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Capt. Rick Davidson, Editor (grassflats2@yahoo.com)

Sea Hag JANUARY Report

This has been a typical January…. windy at times, cold at times, little water at times…and great fishing regardless. We still haven’t gotten an extended cold front with temps in the 30’s that will drive trout into the river consistently, but there are fish there if you’re patient and fish deep. The relatively moderate temperatures have been a boon for redfishermen; when water temps get much lower than 48 degrees or so, redfish become very lethargic. Instead of going into deeper water, they will just sit quietly and expend no energy. I’ve drifted right on top of them at times. But the two tournaments this month, the GHS Tournament and the Santa Fe Raiders Tournament, weighed in some massive trout and redfish.

Brian Fletcher caught the big redfish in the Santa Fe Tournament, this 8.47 pounder. One of the heaviest legal redfish I’ve seen in a long time.
Chad and Greg House caught the big trout, this 6.96 gator.
Vanessa and Vinny Nguyen-Phu weighed in this fine pair of fish.
Ryan Willingham fished with his dad DW.
In the GHS tournament, Kristin Griffis caught the big trout, weighing 4.97 pounds.
…and Michael Neu won the redfish prize with this 6.72 pounder.
At the very end of grouper season, Mr. and Mrs. Hag (Danielle and Charlie) brought home some gags.
Jack Langley caught this unusual hogfish.
Kevin brought in a sheepshead; we’ll be hearing more about them in a month or so.
Kitty McCaulley landed this great redfish.
Most unusual catch this month: Nick Cook with a blackfin tuna!
Old buddy Jay Peacock with a 4.5 pound trout
Brandon Forshee and mates found these way overslot redfish offshore.
Danny Young from Valdosta with a fine matched pair.
You may have seen Zach Simpson working the docks at Sea Hag, but he can catch redfish too.
Eric Griffis seems happy with his trout.


We shall see what the weather holds this month. Winter is always a great time for huge trout if you get the right setting. Low tides on a sunny morning allow rocks and dark mud flats to absorb heat. As the water comes in, it may be four or five degrees warmer than the surrounding water. A partially or completely sunny day a few days after a cold front with an afternoon high tide is the perfect time to fish those inshore rocks you’ve marked in the past. The same holds true in the river, because of the dark mud lining the marsh grass; on warmer afternoons, move out of the channel and try fishing the shorelines on higher tides. Remember to fish very slow. At water temps below 50 it’s unusual to have a fish chase a fast-moving lure of any kind. Fish slow-sinking plugs in those shallows; I prefer soft baits so the fish will hold onto it longer. The  MirrOlure Paul Brown lures, or any sizable soft bait Texas-rigged to avoid getting hung up in the rocks are my favorites, but hard body slow sinking lures like the Live Target sardines or MirrOlure XL’s work as well (the hyperlinks are to some of my old how-to articles).

Redfishing will also be weather dependent; hopefully water temps will be high enough to stimulate them to eat and not hibernate. Gag grouper season is closed but red grouper are available and there are still some kingfish migrating south for you offshore folks.

There are two fine tournaments this month. The Fiddler Crab Festival is a major winter event, and there is a fishing tournament that weekend; the tournament is on Saturday, Feb. 15, with the Captain’s Meeting at the Sea Hag Marina the night of the 14th .   The Casting for Healing and HOPE tournament, a fund-raiser for the Defend Innocence project fighting child abuse takes place on leap day, February 29th.

Keep your eye on the Sea Hag Facebook page for information about fishing, especially when trout come in the river in good numbers, or give them a call at any time. Pick your days and you can do some great catching this month.

Capt. Kyle Skipper (352) 317-1654 www.m1fishing.com

The cooler weather has the fish fired up. The temperatures have pushed some very good quality fish into our area. It’s soon going to be very busy in Steinhatchee and I am starting to book up but I still have some availability if anyone is interested. 

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