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Winter in S Florida!

Capt. Jim Hobales
January 23, 2024
Flamingo - Saltwater Fishing Report

When you think of winter you think of cold and snow up north, but in South Florida it's not that way. Most of the cold fronts this year affect us with a little cold and plenty of wind. It's been a really consistent pattern with a day or 2 of decent weather and then another front and more wind.

It's not always unfishable in the backcountry of Everglades National Park, you just have to go. It's a great time to learn new spots! It's possible you fish an area that's usually protected, doesn't work unless its blowing. Wind moves fish and baits around. This is something you learn by fishing in terrible conditions.

This past week I fished Flamingo on Sunday 1-14-24. It was blowing 15-25 out of the S.W. and usually a wind people stay home on. Some people don't care, it just about getting away. This day I fished with my friend Mike, and it started out slow. We were fishing NLBN against Gulp. They both catch fish although the Gulps need to be replaced after every fish while NLBN lasted thru allot of fish. I don't ever remember getting so many hits as or before NLBN hit the water.

We worked around and fished all the islands that had protection in Fl Bay. Lots of big Jacks up on edge of flats, they were swimming on the backs of Sting Rays. They are fun when they blow up the lure, as it comes over the back of the Ray. We caught a bunch waiting for a Redfish to show up. They never showed up on that spot. We moved around a decided to fish into the wind. We fished the edge of a channel that was loaded with mullet. We cast at the potholes as mullet swam through and found Snook and Redfish sitting in them. The wind really picked up, so we called it a day.


I am fishing Flamingo today with Dennis, Bill and Greg. We are fishing the backcountry, starting in Whitewater Bay. It was cool and water Temps were 70.52. A small front went thru last night and chased away whatever Tarpon were around the last few days. We stopped in Whitewater anyway and took a look for Tarpon. I had them casting some NLBN Twisted Tea colored Paddle Tails. The Trout were there, they caught about 20 or so and more Ladyfish than that. It was a great warm up! We ran back looking for Redfish a friend had found a couple days earlier, we only caught 1. We made a move and ended up fishing creeks on the coast.

We had a good bite of Trout along the shoreline. The tide was starting to come in and the Redfish bite was on. They caught Redfish and Trout on every cast for a couple hours. The Reds were 16 to 26 inches, and the Trout were 12 to 20".

It was getting late, and we had 1 stop on the way in. We saved a few Jacks and Ladyfish so we could hook some Goliath Groupers. Dennis had already caught a small Goliath on an Artificial already, so it was Bill and Greg's turn.

I hooked up a bait and to Greg where to cast it, tossing a 1-pound bait isn't easy. It took a couple cast and then the hit, he couldn't believe it. The Goliath ate turned and ran into mangroves and cut us off. rerigged and another bait was a similar result. We are down to our last Jack. It's a bout 1 1/2 lb.'s. He cast and before it hit the Goliath ate it. Greg fought it for 5 minutes and landed a 40lb. Goliath.

Its Bill's turn now and we had 1 Ladyfish left. He made a good cast, it was instantaneous. He came out of mangroves pretty quick and boatside for some photos. Great day with great guys but we were 20 miles from the dock, and it was time to go.


I fished with neighborhood friends A.C and Ian in Key Largo today. We Caught allot of Yellowtails and then went offshore with the Cigar Minnows we netted. We had a few Kingfish eat our Baits and then my buddy A.C got this nice Grouper which was released.

Our weather will get really nice here in the next couple weeks, when it does Tarpon time! The coolest Tarpon fishery there is, and they are big! I really live for the 4 weeks or so that they are here, it fun. There will also be Snook and Redfish. Fishing at Flamingo the next few months is plenty of fun, lots of rod bending!

I also do charters out of Key Largo and Biscayne Bay for an assortment of species. If you're interested in a fun day of fishing give me a call at 305 333 8149.

Let' go Catch'em,

Capt. Jim Hobales

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Flamingo Fishing Forecast:

Back country Tarpon next 3 months.

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Captain Jim Hobales was born and raised in South Florida. In the early years he learned to fish his home waters of Miami's Biscayne Bay and the Florida Keys. In the early 1980's he was introduced to Flamingo, at Everglades National Park, it was a life changing experience. Captain Jim became obsessed with the fishing in both Florida Bay as well as Whitewater Bay in the backcountry. Captain Jim is an Everglades National Park permitted guide and a Met registered guide.

Contact Info:

Caught Lookin Charters
7900 NW 174 Terr.
Miami, FL 33015
Phone: 305-333-8149
Alt. Phone: 305-362-6460
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