The final week of the year and it looks like we will have a nice weather window to fish once more in the Northern GoM on Sunday.
We are projecting average fishing for the last few days of 2023 and into the new year. There have been multiple cold fronts that have moved through the past 4 weeks, which has significantly cooled off the Gulf of Mexico. In previous years, the water temperature has stayed higher than it is right now, so we are not certain that we will have the same winter wahoo bite that was hot in January and February last year. You will see last January’s SST below and you can compare that to the current SST and conclude that we should have a below average winter season off of Orange Beach/Destin/Panama City Beach.
SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE
If you scroll back to Thursday’s satellite shots, you will pull up 3 very usable shots to get an overal idea of what the Gulf looks like right now.
The northern areas closer to land are showing temperatures below 70, which would rule out any true pelagic fishing this time of the year. We would avoid any areas showing black in the far north for trolling. The further south you move you will see that there is slightly warmer water in the 71-73 degree mark. This is still on the colder side for Pelagics, but they will stay in this temperature as long as there is bait around for them to eat. Near the spur you will see an even slightly higher temperature from 72-74, which is still the lower end of comfortability… but you are most likely going to find the majority of your fish in this area. We would focus on targeting structure/ledges/rigs/etc. that are in this warmer water. Further south you go you will see a much warmer 74-76 degree water which is ideal temperatures for almost every pelagic fishing save for mahi-mahi which are typically caught in much warmer waters.
The shot from this week is showing favorable conditions forming closer to the double nipple area and almost out to the eastern fads. There is still a very nice upwelling south of Lloyds ridge and extends as far west as Ursa, Mars, Titan, Blackhawk, etc. If we had unlimited range we would be fishing the rigs on the edges of this upwelling.
We are seeing stronger current lines to the east of the eastern fads that are moving directly north. This area of current intersects the warm water push that we have seen on the SST chart making it a prime area for the next few days. The area of water around the MS Canyon rigs is slightly moving west, but looks slack for the most part.
There is not anything to write about in the Chlorophyll chart this week. Find the bait and you will find the fish regardless of the color of the water right now.