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Mike Farmer’s Guide to Fishing Steinhatchee this January

Santa has come and gone and the New Year is now upon us. I want to wish each and everyone of you a Happy New Year. I hope that each of you reading this had a wonderful 2019 and that this New Year brings you plenty of blessings. I know that I had a truly blessed year in 2019 and look forward to what this year will bring. I want to thank all of you who take time to read my articles each month and a special thank you to each of you who have become my customers as well.

Much of your success when it comes to fishing in Steinhatchee in January will come from understanding the movements of the fish and being able to pattern them. Mother Nature is very much in control of what type of patterns we will see. Will we have a hard, cold January or will it be a much milder one as we have seen at times? Another thing we may see is a roller coaster month where Mother Nature forgot to take her Bipolar Meds and we just get up and down temperatures with no consistency. January is the toughest of months to build a pattern that works on a regular basis.

Man Holding Fish

If December ends with water temperatures in the 50’s and January continues to stay cold enough to keep those water temperatures down, then things become pretty simple for the most part. Trout will move into the Steinhatchee River and its surrounding creeks. This is a perfect opportunity for those of you who have a small boat that can navigate the shallows of our creeks. The deeper holes in these areas will hold fish in great numbers. During low tide periods they become forced into these holes. Dallus Creek is an area that has many of these types of fishing holes. Anchor to the outer edges of these deeper areas and cast into the deeper waters. A shrimp baited onto an 1/8 oz jig head is a great choice of baits to use in this situation. The thing I really like about this choice of bait is the number of species that it will catch. Most of us primarily fish for Trout and Redfish but this time of year we find plenty of bonus fish as well. Expect to catch not only Trout and Reds but other species that love the shrimp as well. Flounder, Black Drum and Sheepshead will commonly be found in these same areas this time of year.

Should Mother Nature deliver us a much milder month, things will change up just a bit. The grass flats near and connected to these creeks will be a prime area to target. The fish will move in and out of the creeks with the tides so the prime time to target these areas will be the latter half of the outgoing tide and the first half of the incoming tides. Unweighted soft plastics such as the Salty Snack from Saltwater Assassin are a great choice of bait to use. Rig these baits weedless with the hook that comes with them or I prefer to use an unweighted or lightly weighted wide gap swim bait hook. The other bait that shines during this time is some type of slow sinking/suspending hardbait. My choice is the Rip N Slash from Unfair Lures. Fish both baits as slow as possible without snagging the rocks or grass. Just when you think you are fishing slow enough then it’s time to slow down just a little more. Don’t try to impart very much action into these baits, just a slow retrieve with an occasional pause is normally the best way to trigger a strike from these cooler waters.

Should we have that roller coaster month of weather, then I say Bless your Heart and good luck. No just kidding. This type of weather will cause fish to be scattered and not as grouped up. The key then is to work both pattern types until you find something that works. If you’re lucky, both will work well.

Happy New Year! Thanks for taking the time to read. God Bless and I hope to see you soon in “The Hatch”.

Capt Mike Farmer

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