Inshore Fishing Report
Snook season reopened on February 1st and there have definitely been some around throughout the river. We can expect the Snook fishing to continue to improve as we get into the spring. In the St. Lucie River, they have been caught on the docks as well as around the bridges. If you are fishing in those areas, they have been catching them on live pilchards and pinfish as well as live shrimp on a jighead. There have been some reports of some larger fish caught up in the North Fork of the river fishing live mullet and top water plugs on the seawalls. The Jensen Causeway has been providing action for anglers in the evenings and at night fishing live and artificial shrimp such as Thumper Shrimp and Monster 3x shrimp around the shadow lines. For the wade fishing guys, the Snook fishing on the west side of the river up by the power plant has been quite productive on artificial shrimp and DOA Cals.
The wade fishing on the east side of the river has been yielding Redfish, Trout and Snook. Areas to checkout have been Little Mud and Bear Point. DOA Cals, artificial shrimp and topwaters have been the go to presentations up there. Along with those species, there have been plenty of Jacks and Ladyfish to keep you busy.
We’ve still been seeing Sheepshead inshore around the inlet, the bridges and docks. If you are fishing docks for them, look for the docks with the most growth on them as those docks provide more food for the Sheepshead. We’ve been getting Fiddler Crabs pretty consistently the past few weeks and that would be your best option for targeting them. Fishing them on a jighead or with a split shot would be the best presentation if you are using them. Fishing shrimp on a jighead around structure has been producing Black Drum, Sheepshead, Croakers, Mangrove Snapper and a variety of other species.
The Pompano fishing inshore has been pretty quiet the past couple of weeks. A few fish have been picked off at the Jensen and Stuart Causeways for those targeting them from land. We haven’t seen too many of them directly on the Sailfish Flats as of late, but some have been caught fishing in some of the deeper cuts around the islands and off the ends of the docks off Macarthur Blvd. Last year the Pompano made a strong push inshore in April so we hope to see them pushing in soon!
Offshore Fishing Report
February provided us with some highs and lows offshore on the surface with a catch list consisting of Blackfin Tuna, Mahis, Sailfish and a few Wahoo. Anglers had to put their time in and cover ground in order to get into the fish as they were pretty spread out at times. Trolling Ballyhoo and fishing with live baits both provided action for anglers. Don’t be afraid to run a planer to get your bait down deeper as that’s how a majority of anglers were getting their Wahoo bites. Running and gunning to look for areas with life is one of the best strategies, look for weedlines, birds overhead, temperature changes in the water, structure or color changes before putting your lines in to give yourself some better odds of hooking into some fish.
Luckily for us, March and April typically provides us with our best surface bite of the year. Last year we saw more Mahi in the 30-50lb range coming back to the dock than we have seen in several years. Along with Mahi, expect to be hearing about Blackfins and Wahoo around as well. Trolling Ballyhoo with a skirt, chugger head or sea witch always provides a great presentation. Trolling a rigged mullet is also a great idea to offer these fish a larger presentation. Many anglers will troll Ballyhoo and have a shotgun bait straight out back with a rigged trolling mullet and when that bait gets hit, it is typically a nice Mahi or a Wahoo. Slow trolling live baits and kite fishing will get the job done as well. Give Bryan over at Stuart Live Bait a call to reserve your live baits the night before, 772-985-0425.
March and April also bring Cobia and Permit to our area. If you are looking to get into the Permit, fishing live crabs will be your best bet either on a jig head or free lined. Areas to look for them include the boils off the Power Plant and the nearshore reefs in the 60’ range. Our Cobia fishing can also be excellent this time of year. You will see them caught on a lot of the reefs and wrecks as they are cruising through. If you are bottom fishing, it is always a good idea to have a rod rigged with a Cobia jig in case one swims by. Many boats will be anchored up on some of the nearshore reefs such as the Sandpile looking to find them. You will be able to catch them on pretty much any live baits (pilchards, threadfins, blue runners, grunts, etc), crabs, select shrimp or Cobia jigs. Always be on the lookout for sharks as you may see them swimming on the back of the sharks as well. If you are planning on targeting Permits or Cobia, be prepared with some heavy tackle as the sharks will most likely be in pursuit of your fish. If you notice a cold water upwelling and see the bottom temperature start dipping into the 60s, running the beach to look for Cobia is always a solid option.
Bottom fishing has been providing a lot of action for anglers lately. Those fishing long leaders for Snapper have been picking away at some Mangrove and Mutton Snappers. Fishing chicken rigs with squid or sardines has been quite productive around the six mile, eight mile and the Rankin. Species making the catch list include a lot of Lane Snappers, Vermillion Snappers, Triggerfish and a mix of other bottom fish.
There have still been some Spanish Mackerels at Pecks Lake, you will definitely want to be prepared with some Glass Minnows to chum them up. Anglers going out without chumming for them have not been coming back with the best results. Once you get them fired up, you can throw Gulfstream Flash Minnows, Spoons or Gotcha Plugs at them to get them in the boat.
Surf Fishing Report
The Pompano fishing has remained steady as of late with the majority of the action coming on beaches south of Jensen Public Beach. Be sure to check the color of the water before setting up as if it is too cloudy, chances are the Pompano won’t be biting. As we get into the spring bite, historically the afternoon bite becomes more productive. FishBites have remained to be the most consistent bait this year if you are targeting Pompano. The hot flavors have consisted of Powerlime Crab, EZ Flea, Electric Chicken Crab, Purple Clam and Blue Crab. We have already even seen some Permit being caught on the new Blue Crab FishBites, this is going to be one of the best times of the year to hook into a Permit from the surf. We can expect to see the Whiting and Croaker bite to improve as we get into the spring months as well. Pieces of shrimp as well as Bloodworm and Shrimp FishBites will get the job done for them.