2023 is here and it’s time to fill up the cooler with some fish to get the year kicked off right. Here in Crystal River, there are fish biting all the time. But knowing the type of fish that’s biting now will allow you to plan for your next fishing trip. If you have yet to fish in Crystal River, this January fishing report will help you get started.
With Grouper season coming to an end our focus shifts over to the ever-so-tasty Sheepshead, Mangrove Snapper and Hogfish. Our near shore and offshore rock piles are the place to be, as these fish are schooled up and ready to eat.
In this blog, we’ll show you what’s biting this January and how to reel in the catch of a lifetime with Crystal River Sportfishing.
Get Ready to Snag Some Sheepshead: What You Need to Know
Sheepshead fishing is a rush of adrenaline. It’s one of the best catches you can make this time of year!
These fish are hard fighters and even better table fair. Our saltwater Sheepshead is unrelated to the freshwater counterpart found in other parts of the country. The saltwater Sheepshead have some interesting characteristics including human-like teeth used to aid consumption of there common diet such as crustaceans.
We primarily fish for these species dropping a shrimp to the bottom using a jig head or knocker rig on a 20-30lbs leader. But what kind of gear do you need to hook a sheepshead this January? Consider these tips:
- Lighter spinning tackle such as a 2500 sized reel
- 7’6” Medium rod and 10-15lb braid will give you the sensitivity needed to feel their light bite.
- Hold on as these fish like to pull and try to get you back into the many rock plies and ledges they live in.
The Sheepshead typically stay grouped offshore from January to the end of March. Since these fish are spawning, they are ready to eat. This typically results in a lot of action from the fish, making it an exciting trip for any angler. That’s why it’s best to book a charter fishing trip with us now!
So if you’re looking for an action packed day and some great table fair to bring home don’t hesitate to contact Crystal River Sport Fishing to plan for your next fishing trip.
January Fishing Report: Catching Mangrove Snappers
Another exciting fish to catch this January is the mangrove snapper. The Mangrove Snapper is an extremely popular fish found in the waters of Crystal River, Florida.
This species is a member of the Lutjanidae family, and is typically found in shallow waters, among mangroves and coral reefs. This fish can reach up to 24 inches in length and can weigh up to 10 pounds.
The Mangrove Snapper is well known for its unique coloring, which is a mix of pink, yellow, and red. The fish has large eyes and a large mouth, making it well suited for feeding in its shallow water habitat. This species is highly sought after by anglers, who value its delicious taste and impressive size.
Mangrove snappers are highly social fish, often seen swimming in groups. They feed on small invertebrates and fish, and can be found near the surface or near the bottom. During the day, they often seek shelter in the mangrove roots, where they are well-protected from predators.
At night, they emerge to feed on the surface, using their sharp eyesight to locate prey. They are also known for their aggressive behavior, which is why they are a popular choice for fishing. Mangrove snappers are an important species for the marine ecosystems they inhabit.
Fishing Tips for Mangrove Snapper
Are you looking to reel in a mangrove snapper in January? If you’re looking to catch some mangrove snapper, it’s important to know the right techniques. Here are some tips to catching one here in Crystal River:
- Consider using a J hook for your best chance at snagging a mangrove snapper
- Cigar minnows and pinfish are some of the best bait to use for this species of fish
- Secondly, try fishing in areas with mangroves. Mangrove snapper like to hide in the protective branches, so areas with plenty of mangrove trees are ideal
- Thirdly, use a longer rod with a light line. A longer rod will help cast farther and allow you to keep the line away from the mangrove branches
- Consider using a 7 foot medium or medium/light strength, fast action rod
- And, finally, when you catch a snapper, make sure to use a dehooker. This will help you avoid damaging the fish, so you can release it back into the wild. If you follow these tips, you’ll be sure to have a successful mangrove snapper fishing trip!
How to Catch a Hogfish in Crystal River, Florida
As the last part of our January fishing report, we’ll teach you what you need to know about catching the popular hogfish. The hogfish is a species of wrasse native to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. It’s one of the most popular sportfishes in the area, and it is especially popular in the Crystal River, Florida.
The hogfish is known for its unique appearance, with a long snout and bright yellow stripes. It’s a prized game fish due to its size, as they can grow up to three feet long and weigh up to 22 pounds. It’s also a popular fish to eat, as it has a mild yet flavorful taste. Fishing for hogfish in the Crystal River is an unforgettable experience.
The clear, warm waters are home to a variety of species, and catching a hogfish is a thrilling experience. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just getting started, the Crystal River is the perfect place to try your luck at catching the elusive hogfish.
Hogfish are generally peaceful fish, but males can become territorial during mating season and will establish a territory around a group of females. They are also known to use their strong jaws to break open mollusk shells in order to eat the meat inside. In the wild, hogfish can be found in a variety of habitats, including coral reefs, rocky outcrops, and seagrass beds.
Fast Fishing Tips for Hogfish
Now that you know about the hogfish and some of its behavior tendencies, these fishing tips for hogfish can help you snag a great catch:
- Use live bait: Hogfish are opportunistic feeders and will often bite on live bait such as shrimp, crabs, or worms.
- Target structure: Hogfish are often found around structures such as coral reefs, wrecks, or jetties, where they can find food and hide from predators.
- Use a light tackle: Hogfish are generally not very large, so you don’t need a heavy rod and reel. A light spinning setup with a 6- to 8-pound test line should be sufficient.
- Be patient: Hogfish can be wary and may require some patience to catch. Try to move slowly and avoid making too much noise, as this can spook the fish.
- Respect size limits: Hogfish have size limits in some areas, so make sure you check local regulations and only keep fish that are of legal size.
- Practice catch and release: If you’re not planning on eating your catch, consider practicing catch and release to help preserve the hogfish population. This involves carefully releasing the fish back into the water after you’ve caught it, rather than keeping it for consumption.
Why Should You Go Charter Fishing in the Month of January?
Crystal River, Florida is a popular destination for charter fishing in the month of January because it is the peak of the winter season, when many species of fish are more active. The cooler water temperatures and the presence of baitfish can make for excellent fishing conditions.
In Crystal River, you can target a variety of species such as redfish, trout, and sheepshead. You’ll find these fish as well as mangrove snappers and hogfish.
Another reason to go charter fishing in Crystal River in January is that the weather is generally pleasant, with average high temperatures in the mid-70s and low humidity. This makes for a comfortable day on the water.
Overall, January is a great time to visit Crystal River for charter fishing, as the conditions are usually favorable and there are plenty of fish to target.
Ready to go fishing in Crystal River? Book with Crystal River Sportfishing today!