Gulf of Mexico

Hogfish swimmingJanuary is a good month for catching table fish in Gulf waters. Red grouper and lane snapper usually scatter on patches of live bottom in 60 to 100 feet of water. Check for the season openings for both these popular fish before targeting.

Mangrove snapper hang out small nearshore ledges and on artificial reefs in as little as 20 or 25 feet of water, and those same spots often hold spawning sheepshead.

Grunts, triggerfish, porgys, mangrove snapper, and hogfish can usually be found on ledges in 30 to 50 feet of water and are often so cooperative that a shrimp dropped anywhere near one of these spots doesn't last long.

Cobia are regularly found around any of the artificial reefs in January. Sandbar sharks will steal hooked grouper and snapper, and roving schools of bonita and Spanish mackerel will often put in an appearance at any time.


Charlotte Harbor

Snook chases a lure underwaterJanuary means trout season (as always, check the official season dates and regulations at before targeting) and chunky fish will be found in canals, boat basins, and waterways during periods of cooler weather. They’ll often move out onto nearby flats if the temp approaches the 80 degree mark. The old standby shrimp/popping cork rig is hard to beat for catching numbers of trout, but skilled anglers can sometimes catch larger fish on jigs or on topwater plugs.

Redfish can be found in mangrove creeks and canals may start to appear upriver.

Sheepshead spawning season ramps up in January and these good-eating fish will school  around canal mouths, pier and dock pilings, and on the artificial reefs in the harbor.

Catch-and-release snook fishing is often good around dock lights at night and in tidal creeks during the day. Black drum can usually be caught in the PGI canals, around the highway bridges, and at the artificial reef off Alligator Creek.