Offshore Fishing Report
April typically brings along some excellent offshore fishing if you are looking to head out the St. Lucie Inlet. We are starting to see some bait show up on some of the nearshore reefs such as Bull Shark Barge. If you are going out to fish the surface, having enough bait is definitely going to be important as there have been a lot of Bonita around that you may have to pick through to get the quality bites. Bryan and Mike from Stuart Live Bait have been in the Manatee Pocket in the morning selling pilchards, threadfins and goggle eyes, give them a shout the night before to reserve your baits, 772-985-0425. We’ve had some Sailfish action along the reefs and wrecks in 90’-140’ and these fish should push shallower with bait arriving nearshore. Our spring Mahi bite should be right around the corner. We have been seeing flurries of Mahi being caught already south east of the inlet in 200′ which is a great sign for a good spring run. Look for them around weedlines that are holding bait. Other things to look for to increase your chances would be debris in the water, temperature changes, color changes and birds overhead. We’ve had a solid Blackfin Tuna bite from 150’ out to Push Button Hill. These fish are being caught on live baits, trolling and on vertical jigs by anglers out at the hill.
For those bottom fishing, we’ve had some clean water lately from a strong north current which has been good for those looking to target Mutton and Mangrove Snapper. A lot of them have been caught on the 50’-90’ reefs and wrecks. You’ll want to use a long leader as these fish can tend to get leader shy especially with the clearer water. Keep a flat line bait out when you’re Snapper fishing as there have been a lot of Kingfish caught in the same range. Along with Muttons and Mangroves, there have been plenty of Lane and Vermillion Snapper around as well.
Nearshore fishing has been steady with Permit, Cobia and big Jack Crevalles all making the catch list. The Permit have mainly been caught on live crabs at the boils off the power plant. You can free line them or fish them on a jig head. Cobia have been caught around the 60’ wrecks and reefs such as the Sand Pile and Pipe Barge. Anglers have been catching them on live baits, select shrimp, crabs and Cobia Jigs. Always check out any sharks that swim by to see if they have any Cobia on them. Those running the beach have found a few Cobia cruising on the surface as well as schools of big jacks. Throw a popper towards the school and hang on!
Inshore Fishing Report
Snook fishing is starting to heat up in our area and it will only continue to improve as we get closer to their summer spawn. The water temperatures have been warming up which makes them more eager to feed on live baits such as pilchards and mullet. For those fishing from a boat, look for them on seawalls in the mornings and evenings as well as on docks. Docks in both the St. Lucie and Indian River have been holding fish as well as the causeway bridge fenders. They haven’t really started showing up in the inlet in numbers yet, we can expect more fish in that area towards the end of the month and going into May. A lot of Snook are still being caught at Jensen Causeway in the evenings and at night. We’ve had a good amount of shrimp flowing through on the outgoing tide which they have been feeding on. Match the hatch with a live shrimp or artificial shrimp such as a Thumper Shrimp, Monster 3x or Vudu Shrimp to give yourself a good shot at hooking up. For those wade fishing, we’ve heard solid reports from both the east and west side of the river north of the power plant. Snook, Trout and Redfish have all been in the mix. Topwater baits, DOA Cals and artificial shrimp have been the go to baits if you’re looking to head that way. If you prefer fishing with live bait, you can’t go wrong with a live shrimp on a jig head or popping cork.
There have been a few Tarpon around cruising through the channels. If you are going to target them around the causeways, try to fish the outgoing tide as there have been some crabs flowing through. Live mullet and crabs will be the best options for them. Tarpon fishing should start heating up as we get closer to the summer. If you are looking to tire your arms out, there have been a lot of big Jacks inshore cruising the seawalls. Live mullet, pilchards or a topwater will be your best options.
The Pompano bite inshore has been on the slower side over the past couple of weeks, but has begun to really pick up here as of late. Last year, we had some of our best inshore Pompano fishing in April and it is looking like we will be experiencing that again this year. Anglers have been catching them off the Jensen Causeway Mosquito bridge, the east relief bridge on the Stuart Causeway as well as in the Ft. Pierce Inlet. We have still heard about a lot of fish to the south of us that will need to come our way as they head back north.
Those fishing live shrimp around structure have found a variety of species including Flounder, Snapper, Black Drum, Sheepshead, Croaker and Bonefish.
Surf Fishing Report
March was tough on a lot of our surf anglers due to unfavorable conditions such as seaweed and wind, but luckily we’ve had some steady reports coming from the surf over the past week. You will definitely want to check the beach before setting up as there has been a good amount of seaweed, but that doesn’t mean the seaweed is going to be bad at every beach. Anglers have been putting their limits of spring Pompano in the coolers and FishBites have still been the bait of choice. The top flavors have been Powerlime Crab, Electric Chicken Crab and EZ Flea. If you are fishing multiple rods, it would be a good idea to stagger your casting distances as there have been good amounts of fish caught both in the 100yd range as well as the 50-60yd range. Don’t be afraid to go after a late afternoon Pompano bite either, historically we see a lot of spring Pompano get caught in the afternoon. The Whiting fishing has been improving for those fishing in the first trough, remember not to cast too far as you may be casting past them. Pieces of frozen shrimp as well as bloodworm and shrimp flavored FishBites should get you the bite. The Whiting and Croaker fishing is just starting to kick off and we will see more in the area over the next couple of months.