Sunday, June 25, 2023
Florida fishing regulations and fishing season opening and closing dates:
- Red snapper: July 14-15. One fish per angler per day. No minimum or maximum size limits.
- Lobster: Season closed April 1. Two-day sport season (mini-season) opens July 26-27. Regular season opens Aug. 6.
- Snook: Harvest closed June 1. Reopens Sept. 1. One fish bag limit, 28-32 inches, snook stamp required.
- Grouper: Harvest opened May 1. Includes gag grouper, red grouper, black grouper, scamp, yellowfin grouper, yellowmouth, coney, graysby, red hind and rock hind. Harvest closes Jan. 1, 2024.
- Hogfish: Harvest opened May 1. Harvest closes from Nov. 1, 2023, to April 30, 2024.
- Cobia: New bag and size limits for state waters. Bag limit: Two fish per vessel. Size limit: 36 inches fork length.
- Spotted seatrout: Harvest opened Jan. 1 in Volusia, Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties. Harvest closes November and December 2023.
- Redfish: Harvest of redfish is banned in the Indian River Lagoon and Mosquito Lagoon beginning Sept. 1. FWC will reevaluate later in the year.
- Alligator: Hunt season opens Aug. 15-Nov. 1. Permits required.
- Dolphin: Bag limit is five fish per day per angler. Vessel limit is 30 fish per day. Captain and crew may not be included in limit. These fishing regulations began on May 1, 2022, for state waters.
- Tilefish: Harvest opened on Jan. 1.
- Bass: Bass at Headwaters Lake will soon become all catch-and-release.
For complete fishing regulations in Florida go to MyFWC.com.
Indian River County
Freshwater: High water temperature is slowing the bass bite in area lakes and ponds. Fish for bluegill, shellcracker and warmouth by using red worms or live crickets on cane poles.
St. Lucie County
Inshore: Tarpon and Goliath grouper can be caught around the Turning Basin at night on small live baits. Fish the baits to the bottom for the goliaths. Tarpon will take baits at the top of the water column. Tripletail can be caught around channel markers when the current is moving.
Surf: The week of west wind seemingly made the sargassum seaweed disappear. Clear beaches left behind have been good for the beach fishers who are enjoying some of the best whiting fishing of the year so far. Use pieces of shrimp or Fishbites for action.
Inshore: Snook fishing is very good throughout the southern Indian River Lagoon and St. Lucie River. Snook are starting to head down to the inlet and offshore wrecks for spawning season, but travel back and forth more frequently than we think. Live bait isn't necessary. Plenty of snook will take artificial lures. Use topwater plugs if in shallow water and jigs if working around the bridges.
There is plenty of microcystis algae floating around in the center and southern parts of the lake. Stay in the north and west sectors where fish are oriented towards habitat and drop-offs where they can cool down. Bluegill and shellcrackers are around the bulrushes and lilies taking crickets.
INSHORE: Catch and release snook fishing remains the best bet inshore right now. Some big fish cruising seawalls right now; and a properly presented topwater plug can draw some jaw dropping explosions. Typically the best action on the snook will be early morning and late afternoon, but don't overlook tide changes and approaching storms as well. At night the snook have been biting well around the bridges. A flair hawk is always a good choice, but the snook have really been smashing the 3" NLBN swimbait this week. Mangrove snapper continue to bite pretty well, especially at night. Live shrimp and small pilchards are the best bait for the mangroves. Look for the mangrove snapper to bite best around structure (bridges, seawalls, pilings, etc) with a moderate amount of current.
SURF/PIER: A little more action along the beach and at the pier this week with improving water conditions. A little more bait around (primarily pilchards0 this week which always help. The snook are in the inlets decently, and have started to move along the beach a little better as well. Sightfishing the snook in the trough is starting to become a viable option. Fishing live pilchards in the beach is also a good way to go. The Juno Beach Pier has had a god number of blue runners around, along with a few scattered Spanish Mackerel. The snook are also staring to get right at the pier as well. A live sandperch is a great way to go for a big snook right now. Small pieces of fresh shrimp on a very small hook with light leader is the way to go for catching perch and whiting.
Friday, June 16, 2023
It's Father's Day weekend and the snapper bite could not be better. If you can, take dad snapper fishing for chances to catch the big three of Space Coast snapper fishing — mutton snapper, mangrove snapper and lane snapper.
Muttons are running 10 to 16 pounds along Space Coast reefs. They are biting on dead baits like sardines, pinfish and grunts. Fish them on long leaders, up to 24 feet or longer fluorocarbon, using 4/0 circle hooks and enough weight to hold bottom in the current.
Mangrove snappers have been on the large side up to 8 and 9 pounds, especially off Sebastian and Port Canaveral. They have been caught better in 65 to 75 feet of water. Red grouper are being caught in the same zone.
Finally, don't turn your nose up at the lane snapper fishing. Squid, strips of grunts or even live shrimp on 2/0 J hooks will work good and pick up some triggerfish bites, too. Enjoy that Father's Day fish fry!
Closures & regulations changes in effect: Anglers are reminded about these fishery harvest closures currently underway and ones about to begin and end.
Grouper: Harvest opened May 1, 2023. Includes gag grouper, red grouper, black grouper, scamp, yellowfin grouper, yellowmouth, coney, graysby, red hind & rock hind. Harvest closes Jan. 1, 2024.
Hogfish: Harvest opened May 1, 2023. Harvest closed from Nov. 1, 2023 to April 30, 2024.
Snook: Harvest closes June 1. One fish bag limit, 28-32 inches, snook stamp required..
Lobster: Season closed April 1. Two day sport season (mini-season) opens July 26-27, 2023. Regular season opens Aug. 6.
Cobia: New bag and size limits for state waters. Bag limit: Two fish per vessel. Size limit: 36 inches fork length.
Spotted seatrout: Harvest open as of Jan. 1 in Volusia, Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin & Palm Beach counties. Harvest closes November and December 2023.
Redfish: Harvest of redfish is banned in the Indian River Lagoon and Mosquito Lagoon beginning Sept. 1. FWC will re-evaluate later in the year.
Alligator: Hunt season open Aug. 15-Nov. 1. Permits required.
Dolphin: New fishing regulations began May 1, 2022 for state waters. Bag limit is now five fish per day per angler; Vessel limit is now 30 fish per day. Captain and crew may not be included in limit.
Tilefish: Harvest is open as of Jan. 1.
Bass: Bass at Headwaters Lake will soon become all catch-and-release.
For complete fishing regulations in Florida go to MyFWC.com.
Fishing in the shallow water estuary has been productive recently. An increase in seagrass growth is helping. Look for speckled trout, redfish, black drum and snook to be taking live shrimp fished around the islands or along the east shorelines. Still some larger fish are hitting in Haulover Canal on split blue crabs.
Indian River County
Inshore: Catch-and-release snook fishing has been pretty good and fishing from the jetties at Sebastian Inlet has been much better since the sargassum seemingly went away in the same fashion as it arrived. Good spotted seatrout and redfish action can be had around the mangrove shorelines south of Vero Beach.
Freshwater: Bass fishing has been off since the water temperatures have been on the rise.
St. Lucie County
Inshore: Catch-and-release fishing for tarpon, snook and goliath grouper has been the main action in and around the Fort Pierce Inlet and the Turning Basin. Fish the channel edges and bridge and dock pilings with shrimp-tipped jigs for mangrove snapper.
Surf: Rick Kohs of Port St. Lucie said he was determined to fish the surf last Saturday. He found clean water as the sargassum-geddon has started to wane a little. After a slow bite, as he was ready to move from Middle Cove Beach, he got a bite from an 18-pound permit. Kohs was using clam-flavored Fishbites. Lesson here: Always make one last cast.
Microrcystis algae is spread across 50% of the lake, but mostly in the center and southern ends. The northern and western areas offer some algae-free fishing. Hot water temperatures have slowed any bass bite and the fish are staying lower in the water column. Bluegill and shellcracker are being caught on live crickets.
INSHORE- Catch and release snook fishing remains the best bet inshore. Been a pretty solid bite at night around the bridges using 3' NLBN Swimbaits. Outgoing tide has been the best bet for fishing the snook. The Loxahatchee River has had a few big snook around. Fishing a topwater early morning and late afternoon is a good way to go for some jaw dropping explosive strikes. Look for the snook to be laid up along or under good ambush points waiting for the current to wash baits to them. A few mangrove snapper around, with the best bite coming at night. Small live pilchards and live shrimp are the way to go for the snapper.
- The water is finally looking pretty nice on the beach again; feels like it has taken forever to clean up! The bait hasn't fully filled back in yet, but it also has improved as the cleaner water comes back in. Surprisingly a handful of pompano are still being caught first thing in the morning. It's not huge numbers, but those putting in the time have been getting a handful of bites. Mixed in with the pomps should be some croakers and big sandperch. Snook are filling in better and better along the beach and at the Juno Beach Pier. Look for the snook to be most active early and late in the day. When the sun gets up higher in the sky they get a little tougher to trick. A few more mangrove snapper showing up in the inlets and at the Juno Beach Pier.
Saturday, June 10, 2023
INSHORE- Catch and release snook fishing remains pretty good. A fair number of fish in the inlets, and that will only increase as we get later into the month. Live baits are the way to go during the day for the snook. At night flairhawks and 3 and 5" NLBN Swimbaits have been the best lure choices. A handful of mangrove snapper around. Small live pilchards and live shrimp are the way to go for the snapper.
Fishing here has been pretty steady for speckled trout, catch and release snook and redfish, black drum and jacks. There is seagrass, which has been a good sign and has helped buoy the trout fishing. Freeline live shrimp or fish a shrimp under a popping cork.
Sargassum seaweed has dominated the shoreline for several weeks making it difficult for anglers to be able to cast a line and keep it clean. It may be a week or two before this zone gets back to successful fishing.
Summer fishing patterns here mean release of all snook and all redfish. Sheepshead, snapper and a few mackerel are still being caught. Drifting the middle of the inlet during outgoing tides with small live blue crabs is a good way to get bit by an oversized redfish, jack or tarpon.
Indian River Lagoon
Anglers are hooking juvenile tarpon near the Thousand Islands on small live baits or suspending lures. Fish structure for sheepshead, croaker and snapper along the channel edges or around seawalls and bridge pilings. Speckled trout has been good in areas where anglers can find some grass or at the end of docks.
Rains have the river system moving which is always good for catching catfish. Use the current and stinky natural baits fished on the bottom to catch catfish in the Little Econ. The lakes have been good places to find bluegill and shellcracker biting live crickets.