Inshore Fishing Report
Our inshore fishing is starting to heat up! We are beginning to get into the best time of the year for Snook fishing as they prepare for the summer spawn. Not only do we have a chance to catch a good number of fish, this is the time of year where you tend to see a lot of the bigger breeder Snook caught. When you are targeting these fish, please remember to treat them with care when caught as they will be providing us with our future Snook population. Using circle hooks and reducing their time out of the water are helpful to ensure a strong release of the fish. Snook season remains open until June 1st if you are still looking to harvest a slot. A lot of Snook are starting to move around and are starting to stack up around the bridges as they inch their way closer to the inlet. As we get into May, you should start finding them in better numbers in the inlet and areas around the inlet such as Hole in the Wall. You will still be able to find them throughout the St. Lucie and Indian Rivers as we approach the spawn and throughout the summer, but a good majority of them will work their way to the inlets at some point. Anglers will find a lot of success live baiting for them this time of year with either Pilchards, Mullet, Croakers or Mojarra. If you are looking for Pilchards, Bryan with Stuart Live Bait has been on the boat in Manatee Pocket about every morning with them, give him a call at 772-985-0425 to reserve your baits. There have been some Pilchards scattered throughout the river as well if you are looking to net your own baits. The Croakers have been a bit elusive for our bait guys so far this year, but rest assured as soon as they are able to find them, we will have them in stock. They typically show up in better numbers in May so they should be coming soon! With the temperatures heating up, if you are planning on fishing in the afternoon or later in the morning, try to fish in areas with either deeper water, flowing current or shaded areas as the Snook will head to these areas as the water heats up. If you are looking to fish artificials, mornings, evenings and at night will be your best bet. The water has been pretty clear inshore as of late and a lot of anglers have been finding success on white paddle tails. There has been a steady flow of shrimp underneath the Jensen Causeway on the outgoing tide so artificial shrimp such as the Thumper Shrimp and Vudu Shrimp have been very popular options. Dock light fishing has been productive as well, along with Snook we have been seeing some Trout that have been caught in the lights.
The Pompano fishing at the Jensen Causeway has been really good throughout the month of April. There have been a few days where the fish haven’t been there and other days where anglers are getting their limits in under an hour. A lot of the Pompano have been caught directly at your feet up to 10ft away from the bridge so be sure to work your jig through that zone. Overall April provided us with our best inshore Pompano fishing of the year. We saw the same trend last year and that action last year did continue into May for us so we can hope that these Pompano will stick around with us for a little bit longer. We are still hearing reports of Pompano caught south of us and those schools will have to pass by us on their way north. Popular jig colors have consisted of chartreuse with a pink teaser, pink with a chartreuse teaser, chartreuse/orange jigs and chartreuse/pink jigs with a pink or chartreuse teaser. You will want to have an assortment of different weights with you depending on the wind and current to ensure you are offering them the best presentation you can. Along with the Pompano, bycatch has consisted of Spanish Mackerel, Croaker, Jacks and lady fish on the Pompano jigs. A few anglers have gotten into some Pompano wading on the flats as well, they have been catching them on artificial shrimp and paddle tails.
For those looking to target Tarpon, we have started seeing more of them showing up here inshore. There have been some smaller fish in the 30-40lb class around some of the docks in the St. Lucie, some in the same range and larger in the North Fork and some around the inlet and causeways. Fishing live crabs or mullet will be your best options if you are targeting them and the outgoing tide has been more productive. We still haven’t reached our best Tarpon time but we should see more showing up here in May.
Surf Fishing Report
We’ve still had some Pompano action happening on our beaches. As mentioned in the inshore section, there have still been reports of schools of fish caught south of us as well that will need to head our way. We’ve been getting solid reports from our southern beaches such as Hobe Sound producing limits of Pompano and scattered reports from some of our more local beaches. The fish being caught have varied from 60-100yds off the beach so if you are fishing multiple rods, it would be wise to vary your casting distances. The hot baits have been FishBites EZ Flea, Powerline Crab and Electric Chicken Crab. This is the time of year where we start seeing weeds on the beaches more frequently so it is also wise to check the beach before you set up all your equipment. Luckily we have plenty of public beach accesses so you are able to check out different beaches to see the conditions.
The Whiting and Croaker should start showing up in the first trough soon, we typically see better numbers of them by the second to third week of May. It is crucial to not overcast when targeting them as they are typically right off the beach. Pieces of shrimp, shrimp FishBites or bloodworm FishBites are going to be your best bait options.
Along with the Whiting and Croaker, we should start seeing more Snook and Tarpon on the beaches by the end of the month. Anglers have begun to see some Tarpon rolling off the beaches already and some Snook have been caught as well. You will see a lot of anglers will have a spare rod rigged up with a sabiki rig in case any pilchards push through, they will free line the pilchards for the Snook. If you catch a smaller Whiting or Croaker, you can use that as bait and big Snook have a tough time passing them up!
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