It’s tough to pass up the chance to fish when beautiful weather strikes, regardless of what’s biting. That’s why guide, swimbait-maker and YouTuber Elias Vaisberg recently set out in mid-January to target his local jetty for some fine winter fishing. Watch and learn as he sweeps the rocks for tautog, sheepshead, black drum and more.
Winter Jetty Fishing for Whatever Will Bite
Vaisberg starts with clusters of mussels that he sourced from a local seafood company. “Most seafood shops have mussels most times of the year,” he advises. Cracking and threading the clusters onto a half-ounce bottom sweeper jig, he casts in behind the rocks and out of the current. That, Vaisberg says, is where fish are hiding in winter. “Doesn’t mean they feed though, is the problem.”
The first catch is a little tautog, which Vaisberg throws back, but bigger tog and sheepshead soon follow. The latter, he explains, are “not too unusual, but not really a common winter catch” in the area. Bigger sheepshead are farther out at this time of year, but some keepers remain.
“Can’t beat that on a January day, huh?”
Next up is semi-fresh shrimp, which Vaisberg says he almost feels bad for using as bait. Nonetheless, he cuts them into segments and gets to work.
The first taker of note, surprisingly, is a scup. Vaisberg complains that “junk fish” like bluefish tend to steal the shrimp, making it tough to stay in the strike zone for long. But he gets plenty of hits as black drum, sheepshead, tautog and ling round out the day’s catch—plus a tantalizing nibble. Could it be a giant red or black drum passing through?