Fishing is Fine Where the Water is Brine
December 20th, 2018 by Curtis Condon

Consider chartering a boat to access more saltwater fish species. Just remember, all charters and guides are not created equal, so do your homework. Ask for recommendations from friends and family members. For more options, visit one of the many guide associations online, such as the Florida Guides Association at www.florida-guides.com.
© iStock/krblokhin

In the fishing capital of the world, bass is king. However, January isn’t necessarily the optimal time to fish for bass, particularly largemouth.

To experience the best fishing January has to offer, just add salt.

This month is prime time for many saltwater fish species, such as seatrout, grouper, snapper and mackerel.

The most convenient way to fish for some of them is from the beach or a pier. But for the best success and access to the most species, a boat is essential.

If you don’t have a boat, borrow one. Better yet, charter one. The charter company takes care of gear, fuel, bait and logistical details so you can concentrate on fishing.

Guides aren’t cheap. Prices run the gamut, from less than $100 for fishing with a crowd to several hundred dollars—and much more—for a private charter. But cost should not be your only consideration. Safety is important, too.

Make sure the charter company you choose has the required licenses or certifications. Operators of for-hire saltwater boats are required to have a U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license.

Five Outdoor Classics You May Have Never Heard Of
Most Americans are familiar with Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” and London’s “The Call of the Wild.” A few have even read them. But they are just two of the outdoor classics written in the past 100 years.

Here are five more to curl up with in the off-season. Most people have never heard of them, but they are well worth the read.

  • “The River Why,” by David James Duncan.
  • “Meditations on Hunting,” by Jose Ortega y Gassett.
  • “Trout Bum,” by John Gierach.
  • “The Longest Silence: A Life in Fishing,” by Thomas McGuane.
  • “Winterdance,” by Gary Paulsen.

Catch of the Month
Here are prime fishing opportunities around the state in January.

  • The Keys: bonito, bluefish, cobia, drum, grouper, jack, mackerel, pompano, seatrout and snapper.
  • Central: crappie and snook.
  • Northwest: crappie, grouper, seatrout, snapper, stripers and triggerfish.
  • Central West: crappie, flounder, grouper, sheepshead and tripletail.
  • Southwest: amberjack, crappie, drum, grouper, ladyfish, mackerel, pompano, sheepshead, snapper and sunshine bass.

Got a Tip or a Whopper?
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Many of Curtis Condon’s fondest memories involve outdoor adventures with friends and family, whether fishing with old school buddies, backpacking in the mountains of the Northwest with his sons, or bird watching along the Gulf Coast with his wife. He feels fortunate having the opportunity to write about the outdoors and other subjects for more than 30 years.