Friday, June 16, 2023

Sebastian Inlet Report


Cleaner water brings back the action! Look for jacks, blues, spadefish, catch-and-release snook

Our trusty fishing guide and snook-hunting legend, “Snookman” Wayne Landry gives us the lowdown on the fishing scene at Sebastian Inlet. First, he gives advice about staying hydrated and staying clear of Goliath groupers:

“I'd like to start off with a safety tip for you all today. Summer is coming and the heat is here. If you are going to be out for an extended period of time, either fishing or beaching it, bring an umbrella or some kind of shade to block the sun, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and safe. At the inlet on Sunday, a person passed out and we had to call EMS to secure the situation. And remember, canopies and cabanas are prohibited on the jetty, but umbrellas are allowed (they cannot be attached to the railings or any part of the structure). Now for the good news on the fishing. Yes, I said GOOD news!

North jetty: To begin,  I'd like to point out that targeting Goliath grouper on the jetty is PROHIBITED. It is one of the rules for fishing the north jetty. The reason for the rule is to protect the species from harm as they are federally protected and managed, and there is really no safe way to land them and safely release them. I saw two killed last year, and it just broke my heart. So far, the sargassum weed is still gone! Last week began slow due to the dirty water, but by Friday small swells and light winds cleared the water. There were a lot of small mullet swimming around the jetty and few nice schools of small greenies everywhere. Lots of cow nose rays were swimming around the jetty as well. It is that time of the year where they are migrating down the coast to spawn.

Now for the fishing: Outgoing tide early in the morning at the tip was producing some nice catch-and-release snook on live mojarras and small croakers. On Saturday, at the tip, there were a couple of nice black drum caught on live shrimp on the outgoing as well. Jack crevalles, blue runners and Atlantic spadefish were caught on dead shrimp. On the incoming tide, there were quite a few tarpon rolling around the tip of the jetty heading north up the beach, but none were hooked up. A few nice sheepshead and Atlantic spadefish were caught between the pilings on cut shrimp, incoming tide as well. Also, the mangrove snappers are starting to show up, but most are just under the 10-inch minimum size limit to keep. But that's a good sign! Also, there have been several mutton snappers caught on both tides, but they too have been too small to keep. The minimum on them is 18 inches overall. Due to all the greenies around the jetty and the smaller minnows present, there have been quite a few nice lookdowns being caught on ultralight tackle on small white and green jigs, on the incoming tide at the tip. Not much to them, but a tasty fish to eat. No limits on them. There have also been some Spanish mackerel around, but not many to the silty water. Anglers also caught palometas over the weekend on the high tide, ocean side of the jetty. They look like a small pompano, but they aren't; they have three slightly visible vertical stripes on their sides and long orange and black dorsal and anal fins. They don't get very big, but they are good to eat if you can catch a batch of them. They are an "unregulated" species, so they have no size limit or bag limit. And for those of you looking for a big fish to mess with, some big barracudas are starting to roam around. They can be caught on big live baits, or various colors of big tube lures thrown at them. 

South jetty: Here, the fishing has also picked up quite a bit. Outgoing tide at the tip they’re catching black margates, blue runners, some mangrove snappers, jack crevalle and a couple of nice pompano. The mangroves for the most part have been too small to keep on this side as well. Also caught at the tip, on both tides, along the rock shoreline, were catch-and-release snook and redfish. Live mojarras and small croakers have been the baits of choice. On Saturday, I saw someone catch a 24-inch flounder. It is that time of the year for the summer run of those fish. Also remember they have to be 14 inches to be kept. 

Catwalks, both sides remain closed by the Florida Department of Transportation.

T-Dock area: The fishing is improving daily. With all the small glass minnows, greenies and mojarras around and the water cleaning up, there has been a flurry of action. Both tides around the dock pilings they’re catching snappers on small live and cut baits. Mangroves and muttons are the flavors, but most of them have been too small to keep. As I previously mentioned, that's a good sign! Spanish mackerel are also a possibility on small live baits fished with a float, or with small jigs of various materials, hair of soft plastics. Jack crevalles and some blue runners are there to play, too. The catch-and-release snook are around for those hardcore snookers. Incoming and the very beginning of the outgoing on live mojarras is your best bet. Flounder are showing up around the south jetty and time it’s for the summer run: they could be a possibility back here around the sandy areas. Any small live bait or small rubber jig will entice them. 

Surf area, both sides: I haven't heard much from the surf guys and gals. The water, though calm, is still silted up. The only thing that bites in such conditions are largely catfish and stingrays.  Watch out for possible bait schools migrating down the beaches this time of year. You might encounter tarpon, snook and redfish around them. Fish live baits if you have them, or medium to large plastic swim baits. 

That's all I have today, and I'm glad it is better than what it was. It can only improve as we enter summer and the water conditions improve. Grab your gear, get out to your favorite honey hole and enjoy our fishing, beaches and what Florida has to offer!” — Snookman


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