WEEK OF 1/15/24-1/21/24 FISHING REPORT

South East FL Fishing Report

Offshore bite continues to be steadily good with all the usual winter suspects. More sails showing up on each cold front, more tunas moving in as we get nearer to spring time, and good wahoo opportunities before each front, getting better and better as we approach the full moon. But more importantly, the deep water. With the opening of Golden tile season, any weather window can pose an opportunity for landing a giant golden tile on artificial. Think deeper. Whether you’re fishing a stryke, semy, or eye drop, you have a chance of landing one of the most prized and best tasting deep water fish around on an artificial lure which is a very rewarding experience. There is also endless possibilities for bycatch in the deep water, especially this time of year. The usual deep water bycatch list consists of black belly rose fish, blackfin tuna, Atlantic bonito, and possibly even a pomfret or swordfish if you are thinking deep enough. With that being said, the shallower deep-jigging can be very effective this time of year as well, with chances for many species of grouper, including snowy, yellowedge, Warsaw and more. Many species of snapper inhabit the same areas as well, including yelloweyes, vermillion, blackfin snapper, and more.

The inshore bite has been just as steady and spectacular. There have been many opportunities for catching larger than average size bluefish which only inhabit our waters for a short period of time in the winter. More and more jacks are beginning to fill in along the beaches as we get closer to the spring, along with a steady pompano and Spanish Mackerel bite. Can’t catch em from the couch!
Report by Spencer Jackson/@spencer__14
Panhandle Inshore-

With the chilling weather starting to hit the Panhandle the inshore fishing is heating up! Redfish, Speckled Trout, and Pompano have been the main focus as we slide into the Florida winter. However a local favorite has been added to the list lately. More and more people are hitting the bridge pilings and inshore structure to load up on the Sheepshead. Commonly caught on small jig heads tipped with fiddler crabs 🦀. The JYGPROFISHING crappie jigs come in a wide range of colors and sizes to suit your needs based on the current and water clarity. The versatility and strength of these jigs make them a perfect option for every inshore species! After testing the JYGPROFISHING pompano jigs they tested as yet another versatile option to throw from the piers and beaches. We caught Pompano, Redfish, and Mangrove snapper on the yellow and orange jigs….in the same spot off Pensacola Beach.

Targeting Pompano and Winter Reds with Pomp jigs and Crappie jigs- When surf fishing I like to have my set rigs in the rips, on the bar, and just behind the bar. I have also caught dozens within feet of the shorelines with my casting rig. The Inshore PRO line up has you covered on the rod side. They are very light, strong, and perfect for long casts when needed. If you are only beach fishing stepping your braid down to 10lb will add a lot of distance when you need it. It’s a ton of fun to catch them on the surf rigs but it’s a different level of excitement to sight fish with these lightweight rods and lures! Give it a try! Trust me!

Offshore Panhandle-

The Offshore conditions continue to be spotty most everywhere I look. With few people having the ability to make the runs everyone is waiting for that first good window to send it to the Rigs, ditches, FAD’s, and hard bottom ledges for the groceries. Sunday saw a small window with boats bringing back some Swordfish, Tuna, and Grouper. We know they are there…we just need Mother Nature to give us a shot. My hope is that with the fishery seeing minimal pressure the upcoming Grouper, Snapper, Tuna, Wahoo, Mahi and other highly targeted species will be thick and we should see some great fishing as soon as the weather lets us!

Puerto Rico-

We Flew in Saturday hoping for a small window to get offshore and chase some big Yellowfin Grouper. Sunday morning presented the best chance but we were only able to push a couple miles from the marina. @joel.Mendoza.925 and I set out before sunrise realizing quickly we weren’t going to be able to make the 30 mile run to the pristine reef that holds the Yellowfin Grouper. So we changed plans and explored the nearby reefs. These reefs are highly pressured yet we were still able to check off 2 new species for Joel. He picked up a grande Lionfish on the JYGPROFISHING Semi 130g in 130’. He also got a very cool snake mackerel just 50 yards away in 800’ on the Stryke 340g (Red Madness).

On Tuesday of our trip we connected with @a_pescar_por_mi_isla_ aka Vito. Although this was a family outing to check out the keys off of Salina’s, PR we could resist throwing some crappie jigs. Vito put us on some really cool shallow reefs where we played with the jacks before tucking into a spot out of the wind. While we were there, we loaded up on Mangrove Snappers and prepared some of Vito’s famous Passion Ceviche! Possibly the best meal we had all trip! Lastly, we accomplished a huge goal for the trip. Capt. Vito put us on some huge Tarpon and we all got to have some fun on the big sticks 🤙

Huge thanks to our JYGPRO family for an unforgettable trip to Puerto Rico!

Report by Ryan Smith/@gulf_coast_slow_jigging