Inshore Fishing Report
October brought us a few early cool fronts which is a great sign for our winter inshore fishery. Species you will see making the inshore catch list in November include Sheepshead, Red Fish, Black Drum, Triple Tail, Pompano, Croakers, Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish, Snook and more! If it is too rough offshore and you are looking to fill the cooler, you will have plenty of opportunities inshore this time of year.
Our late fall and winter Sheepshead fishing is typically excellent. We have already been hearing about a lot of them being caught. The best places to look for Sheepshead are on structures that have barnacles on them. These structures can include: dock pilings, channel markers, submerged mangroves, sea walls and concrete. Live Shrimp on a jighead or fished with a split shot will give you a good shot at them along with a variety of other species. Live Fiddler Crabs are another excellent option for targeting Sheepshead, it is pretty tough for them to pass up! We are hoping to have Fiddler Crabs in stock throughout the winter. One of the best ways to fish them is on a Hooked On Jigs football head jig, ask one of the staff members to show you one next time you stop in!
We have had a really nice Redfish bite here lately, unfortunately Redfish were closed for harvest and are only catch and release as of 9/1/22. They are still an awesome fish to target and a species that we really haven’t seen much of in our area over the past few years. The majority of the reds that have been caught have been around the Stuart Causeway. The most productive method there would be fishing live shrimp on a jig head around the bridge columns. Live Croakers, Finger Mullet and cut mullet are baits that will too. There have been a few caught at the Jensen Causeway, towards the power plant and you can also expect to see some caught on docks throughout the river this time of year as well.
The Black Drum bite has started up and we can expect it to only get better as we get later into the season. You can expect to find them around the causeways: The Stuart Causeway, Jensen Causeway, 10 cent bridge and Roosevelt Bridge. Live shrimp and crabs on the bottom will be your most productive baits for targeting Black Drum. Similarly to targeting Redfish around the causeway, you can fish a Shrimp on a jighead with the weight of the jig depending on the current around the bridge columns and you should be able to run into a few!
Stone Crab season has opened up which means you will see stretches of crab trap buoys lining the channels of the river. All the crab trap buoys provide a great opportunity to look for some Triple Tail. You can cruise down stretches of traps on clear days and see if you can spot one. If you do, you can pitch them a live shrimp on a small jig head or free lined and they will typically be all over it!
October brought us some great inshore Pompano fishing. The majority of that action came from the Jensen Causeway east side relief bridge (The Mosquito Bridge). A lot of anglers were able to successfully catch their limits multiple days. 1/4oz-3/4oz Pompano Jigs depending on the current with a teaser produced the majority of the fish. Pink jigs with a chartreuse teaser and chartreuse jigs with a pink teaser have been the hottest colors here lately. We can expect the inshore Pompano fishing to continue to improve with more cold fronts. You can also expect to start finding them by the Stuart Causeway, on the Sailfish Flats and in the inlet.
You can still expect to find plenty of Snook action as we have reached the tail end of the mullet run. A lot of these fish are fattened up from the mullet run and summer spawn and are a bit more lethargic especially on the cooler mornings. Fishing slower presentations such as live shrimp, artificial shrimp and slow rolling swimbaits are great presentations to get you a bite in these conditions. As the sun gets a bit higher, they will be more willing to chase a live bait such as a Croaker or Pilchard. You can expect to find them around docks, the bridges, on seawalls and cruising mangrove lines. A lot of anglers will find success around the bridges in the evening and at night fishing the shadow lines.
Offshore Fishing Report
October provided some great offshore fishing for us here on the Treasure Coast both on the surface and on the bottom. On the surface, Mahi, Sails, Blackfin Tuna, Wahoo and Kingfish all made their way to the cleaning tables. We had a really solid Wahoo bite, not all the fish were monsters, but still a lot of quality fish. Some were caught high speed trolling around the full moon while a lot were caught fishing live baits and trolling ballyhoos. Over the past few days, most of the action for Mahis, Sails and Tuna has been 100-150’ northeast of the inlet on the troll. You can expect to see a lot more boats trolling to get their bites this time of year. Kite fishing will be extremely productive for pelagics as well this time of year. You are able to fish more rods and cover more columns of the water by kite fishing while offering different bait presentations. We can expect to see more Sailfish showing up as we get more cold fronts. The Kingfish action has been steady in 60-90’ trolling and fishing dead baits.
On the bottom, the Vermillion Snapper have been around in good numbers. Some larger Vermillions have been caught out at Pushbutton Hill while there have been some more scattered around from 90-140’. Vermillion fishing can be super simple when you get into them with chicken rigs and pieces of squid, just have to get them past the sharks! We have also seen a lot of Red Grouper caught over the past week. You can catch them fishing with live baits such as Croakers, Pinfish, Grunts or Pilchards and on larger dead baits. Along with the Red Grouper and Vermillions, there have been Mutton Snappers, Mangrove Snapper, Lane Snapper, Triggerfish, Amberjacks and a variety of other reef fish making the catch lists. As we get into the winter, you can expect to find more Lane Snapper showing up on the shallower reefs which can provide great action for the entire family.
Surf Fishing Report
The surf bite is starting to tick in the right direction, we have been hearing about a lot of juvenile Pompano being caught from 75-100 yds off the beach which is common for us here this time of year. There have been schools of bigger Pompano being caught in the Sebastian and Melbourne region north of us. As we continue to get cold fronts, these schools will begin to push south and be right off of our beaches. Electric Chicken Crab and Sand Flea flavored FishBites have been the hot FishBites flavors for the Pompano. You can catch them fishing with baits such as Clam and Sand Fleas as well. It is extremely important to have the proper equipment to be able to reach these Pompano at times. You will want to have an 11’-13’ rod to be able to sling your bait out to the deeper troughs. Long cast spinning reels such as the Penn Spinfisher VI spooled with 15-20 lb monofilament will also make a huge difference in increasing your casting distance. The proper sand spike will also make a big difference, longer sand spikes will help with your line entry and bite detection. Capt. Paul Sperco sat down with Jeff Weakley from Florida Sportsman to discuss the equipment he uses when he hits the beach, you can check it out here: https://www.floridasportsman.com/onlineexclusive/saltwater-pro-tips/videos/465178/penn-sealed-saltwater-reels-durable-reels-for-surf-pier-and-other-saltwater-fishing/465322?fbclid=IwAR3q3jk2abd1qTsxuiTzRqObgFT2dfbCp2Kib3LxKlZMDHIZLhHxiMVl73A. Capt. Paul is in the shop on Thursday mornings from 6am to noon and is always happy to provide any tips or advice.
There has also been some steady Whiting and Croaker action going on in the first trough. Pieces of shrimp or bloodworm flavored FishBites have been producing the most action. If you are looking to target them, try to aim for the high tides.
If you are looking to cast artificials, the Spanish Mackerel have been showing up in good numbers off the beaches. You can throw spoons, Gotcha Plugs or Gulfstream Flash Minnows to have a good shot at them when they are around. You can also expect to catch Bluefish and Jacks fishing this same method this time of year.