Saturday, December 23, 2023

Ed Killer / tcpalm South Fla. Report


Florida fishing: Pompano, jacks, ladyfish because wind and waves will keep fishing inshore

Spotted seatrout harvest re-opens Jan. 1

Another weekend of crummy weather just in time for Santa's visit.

Don't expect to find any dolphin or snapper under the tree this Christmas, because few if any anglers will be able to reach the currents where they roam. Spanish mackerel will probably get a break, too, outside the reefs.

Fishing the lagoon in the wind will be the ticket. Drifting with jigs on Sailfish Flats, between Wabasso and Sebastian Inlet, or south of the sewer plant in Fort Pierce may yield a few pompano, jacks and ladyfish during the last hour of incoming and first hour of outgoing tide.

Florida fishing regulations and fishing season opening and closing dates:

  • Spotted seatrout: Harvest re-opens Jan. 1, 2024.
  • Snook: Harvest closed Dec. 15. Catch and release until Feb. 1, 2024.
  • Flounder: Harvest re-opened Dec. 1. Size limit: 14 inches. Bag limit: 5 fish per person.
  • Gag grouper: Harvest closed for both recreational and commercial 
  • sectors on Oct. 23. Re-opens May 1, 2024.
  • Lobster: Regular season opened Aug. 6-March 31, 2024. No egg bearers, 3-inch minimum carapace length. Lobster stamp required.
  • Alligator: Hunt season opened Aug. 15-Nov. 1. Permits 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.
  • Cobia: New bag and size limits for state waters. Bag limit: Two fish per vessel. Size limit: 36 inches fork length.
  • Redfish: Harvest of redfish has been banned in the Indian River Lagoon and Mosquito Lagoon since Sept. 1, 2022. FWC will reevaluate in the future.
  • Indian River County

  • Inshore: Sebastian Inlet's north jetty is closed to anglers because of bad weather for the last two weeks. No word on when it will re-open to anglers. Pompano have been in the lagoon running along the Intracoastal Waterway channel. They can be caught from the low bridge on Wabasso Causeway or by drifting in other parts of the lagoon all the way through Vero Beach and bouncing Doc's Goofy Jigs along the bottom.

    Freshwater: Speckled perch fishing is really good right now at Blue Cypress Lake, in the C-54 Canal and at Headwaters. Use 1/32-ounce jigs or 1/16-ounce jigs with or without live minnows to get bites.

  • St. Lucie County

  • Inshore: Pitch to the end of docks along St. Lucie Village or along Indian River Drive with a live shrimp on a naked jig head to catch a variety of targets: flounder, sheepshead, black drum, croaker and more. Snook, spotted seatrout and redfish, jacks, ladyfish and bluefish will also be caught.

    Surf: Rip currents will be common along all Atlantic Coast beaches in Florida. It may be difficult to fish until after Christmas, when the weather changes.

  • Martin County

    Inshore: Pompano have been roaming around the Indian River Lagoon between the channel and the flats to the east south of Stuart Causeway. Boats have reported skipping some as they move through the areas. Other anglers are picking some up using jigs and drifting with the tide.

    Lake Okeechobee

    It's been all about the speckled perch fishing the last two weeks and that should continue. Fish the Kissimmee River, King's Bar, Harney Pond Canal, Pearce Canal and the entrance to Taylor Creek for a good chance to catch specks on small jigs and live minnows.

    report courtesy of Ed Killer  TCPalm's outdoors writer. 

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