“Good morning. I hope everyone had a great weekend, despite the heat. Here is the update on the inlet fishing: Along with the hot temps, the fishing has heated up as well throughout the inlet. Water temps have been holding in the 86-degree range and the greenies have been pretty thick everywhere. In turn, that all has brought the mangrove snapper out to play. Throughout last week and the weekend, anglers were catching many everywhere. The snapper are about a month late showing up, but they are plentiful now with many keepers being caught. Remember, they must be 10 inches overall to keep, and you can only keep five per person as a bag limit. There have been all kinds of other fish caught around the inlet. Here’s the breakdown.
North jetty: Tuesday through Thursday was a really good window for the mangrove bite. Lots of fish, plenty of keepers were caught on the incoming tide and the very beginning of the outgoing tide all along the rock seawall from the catwalk out to the jetty area! Live greenies and cut greenies were the bait of choice for the snappers. You can get the greenies by cast netting them, the bait shops don't sell them because they are so hard to keep alive. I saw some nice redfish being caught on artificial lures, top water. The reds were caught on the beginning of the outgoing tide. Out on the jetty, the mangroves were biting, but not as well as back along the wall. Incoming tide between the pilings with live or dead cut greenies were getting the bite.
Beachside the water is still really shallow because of the sand bar that has formed over there, but there were some nice Spanish mackerel caught on live greenies and gotcha lures. The water was so clear you could see them swimming around chasing the minnows present around the jetty. And as always, this time of year when the Spanish are around, so are the barracudas looking to eat one that gets hooked up. The cudas can be caught on a very lively large live bait or a green or pink tube lure reeled quickly through the water. I was told one of our regular anglers caught two big ones last week - about 40 inches or so.
Also, on the incoming tide last week (Tuesday through Thursday), the catch-and-release snook bite went off! Boaters were hooking a lot of them and landing some of them, and the goliaths ate the rest. Live croakers were what they wanted. I fished Thursday with some nice live shrimp I had and hooked up five and landed two in two hours. Bite was good. I didn't lose any to the groupers, got lucky. I also did see a couple nice redfish caught too. All the action was on the incoming tide. Outgoing tide at the tip before the nasty runoff water started out there was a decent snook bite on the croakers, along with a few cubera snappers that were hooked up, but not landed, the goliaths ate them mid fight! They like them too! They eat pretty much everything they can catch!
South Jetty: Over here, same thing. Incoming tide all along the rock seawall from the tip to the catwalk has been mangrove snapper city! A lot are being caught, but many have been too small to keep. However, there are quite a few keepers being had. Live greenies, cut greenies and live shrimp are the baits of choice. Also, on the incoming tide, the summer snook are hitting live croakers for those of you that enjoy catch-and-release fishing. Most have been the smaller juvenile fish, 28 inches and under, but every once in a while, a bigger one comes along. Catch-and-release redfish were also here as well. At the tip on the outgoing tide the black margates, blue runners and smaller jack crevalle and mangrove snapper are biting cut baits and live greenies. Once the runoff water gets around the tip and flows south, it pretty much shuts down and the pesky catfish start.
T-Dock area: Here, same as last report. During the clean incoming and beginning of the clean outgoing tide, snappers have been biting well on cut and live greenies, and shrimp. Several different species are being caught but most are small. The mangroves have been the predominate species being caught and some are big enough to be kept. Once again, lanes need to be 8 inches minimum, mangroves, 10-inch minimum and muttons 18. Don't get caught with undersized fish — it isn't worth a ticket. Also, there has been catch-and-release action with snook and redfish. Live baits and artificial swim baits are catching fish. Again, the clean incoming and first of the outgoing tide before the runoff water starts to fill the inlet, is best. Also, for you light tackle guys, the Spanish mackerel are around, chasing the schools of greenies and glass minnows. Small white or green jigs or live greenies fished free-line or with a float will do the trick to catch some.
Surf Area, both sides: Tannic runoff water has slowed the action at the south side of the inlet. Catfish and nurse sharks are being caught, along with a few stingrays. Further south at the park’s day-use area, a rock ridge out there is sometimes a good place to find mangroves, snook and redfish. Live baits are the best. The North side, being much shallower due to sand that has washed down the beach, requires one to go some distance up the beach for deeper water. Water clarity is decent and whiting are being caught on cut baits. Look for schools of minnows and greenies in the surf, and you might just find some predators around. Snook, tarpon, redfish and Spanish mackerel follow the bait pods, and you just might get some action tossing medium-sized swim baits or live baits into the surf. Also, there have been reports of sharks as well. I saw some bonnetheads and Atlantic sharp nose sharks in the surf at the jetty. They will eat anything and fight well, too!
That's all I have this week. Looks like August is going to be a great month to fish. Grab your gear and bait, bring water and sunblock and catch some fish!” — Snookman.