Plenty of Fish for All!


By Pam Anderson

January is usually when we locals have our eyes on finding someplace warm and cozy. But for all of you who like to get out in the chilly but sunny weather here in NW Florida, there are plenty of fish to catch and keep this time of year. And plenty of experts to help you find them!

Charter boats and guide boats in Grand Lagoon offer some great opportunities to get out and catch your favorites. And, they are all certainly the most experienced captains and guides in NW Florida!

Capt Andersons Fish PicThis time of year, in our bays and bayous and along the jetties and piers, Flounder, Redfish (Red Drum) with a slot limit of 18’27”, Spotted Sea Trout with a slot limit of 15-19”, Triple Tail and Sheepshead are there for the catching. Sheepshead, by the way, make great fish chowder!

In Federal waters, Greater Amberjack season is opening January 1 through August 24 this year; Lesser Amberjack is open year-round.

Year-round in the Gulf you can catch Snapper – Cubera, Mangrove(black), Mutton, and Vermilion. Red Snapper, of course, are catch and release until June 1st. Be sure to release them right so they are there for another day.

For grouper, Black Grouper (not Gag), Red Grouper, and Scamp are all open January 1-31 and will reopen later in the spring. King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel, and Cobia are open year-round but you usually see the latter two a bit later in the spring.

Other species that are really tasty and available year-round are Speckled Hind, Yellow Edge Grouper, Almaco Jack and Banded Rudderfish. Jacks make great ‘tuna’ salad. Or you can fire up the smoker and have a very special treat.

For up-to-date regulations on all species in State and Federal waters, you can purchase the ‘Fish Rules App’. It has a lot of great information.

Did you know that on Thomas Drive in the Grand Lagoon area there are more than 25 family-owned and operated restaurants open and ready to serve you local seafood, Southern specialties, Cajun, Italian, Chinese, Mexican, Cuban, and more?! Check them out this winter before the spring crowds come in. Several offer ‘hook & cook,’ cooking your catch for you and providing the sides at family prices.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Make your reservations soon for cruises on the Capt. Anderson III on February 14. The cruises are scheduled from 12 noon until 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. You can make reservations online at or in person or by phone.

Fisherman’s Walk at Capt. Anderson Marina offers a gift shop, ice cream, and the new Capt. Max’s Bar & Grill where you can sit inside, outside or on the upper deck bar as you watch the boats come in with their catches. There are some fun games for the kids too!

When planning your fishing trip, remember Capt. Anderson’s Marina… home of 3 large head-boats, 38 private charter and guide boats, and 4 dive boats… and Shell Island/Dolphin Cruises, all available March 1-October 31.

Capt. Anderson’s Marina…Where the fish are always biting and the kids are always smiling.