Friday, January 26, 2024

Ed Killer / tcpalm South Fla. Report


Florida fishing: Snook harvest season is about to open. Are you ready to take one home?

The wait for snook season to begin is almost over. A week away, depending upon when you read this, and we'll be able to invite home one of our favorite fish.

Feb. 1 will be the start date for snook anglers fishing along Florida's Atlantic Coast to begin keeping one a day. Season's end will be May 31. Note: Snook regulations are different for the Gulf Coast so be sure to check for complete results.

To start the season, water temperature is still a little cool at many of the well-known snook spots. That will require using slightly different techniques. Here are three things to remember that might help:

  • Slow down one's presentation. Fish are cold-blooded and snook are tropical, so they're moving more slowly when they feed.
  • Fish deeper spots. Snook will seek deeper water to avoid more rapidly changing temperatures in shallow water.
  • Use jigs instead of topwater. Snook will be around bridge pilings, deep cuts near seawalls and at the foot of spillways. Jigs will get in front of snook. Fish the bottom of the water column.
  • Indian River County

    Inshore: Fishing at Sebastian Inlet features snook (all release until Feb. 1), black drum, flounder, Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Diamond jigs and Gotcha plugs will work in the upper part of the water column for macks and blues. Jig along the ICW channel in Vero Beach for pompano.

  • Freshwater: It's been very busy at Headwaters Lake for bass anglers, although the fish have not been cooperating. Vegetation is plugging the route into the south part of the lake. The road in has been a washboard, too.

    St. Lucie County

  • Inshore: A few boats have caught pompano south of South Bridge down to the Power Plant by drifting and jigging with Doc's Goofy Jigs or similar types of jigs. They are typically 1/8-ounce or 1/4-ounce in chartreuse or white. Snook anglers will target the Turning Basin and South Bridge with live mullet when season opens.

    Surf: It looks like the marine weather forecast for the weekend will lend itself for good fishing from the surf zone. Hutchinson Island beaches should have plenty of anglers fishing. Will there be whiting and pompano? Probably with the best fishing during the outgoing tide. Use Fishbites in the EZ Flea or crab flavor.

    Martin County

  • Inshore: Black drum, croaker, sheepshead, jacks and ladyfish are being caught around the bridges on cut shrimp.

    Lake Okeechobee

    It's been a good time to catch limits of speckled perch (specks or crappie) on small jigs and live minnows. This weekend, Major League Fishing will be hosting a bass tournament, so expect company in your favorite fishing spot. Weigh-ins and take-offs will be out of Clewiston.

    • report courtesy of Ed Killer  TCPalm's outdoors writer. 

From Todd @ Juno Bait Crew-Juno Beach


INSHORE-  Some pretty good sheepshead reports coming out of Palm Beach Inlet.  Small to medium sized live shrimp remain a top bait choice for the sheepshead.  With a smaller shrimp they don't have as much of a chance to nibble it off; they just have to go ahead and eat it.  Jupiter has been holding a few sheepshead as well, just not in the snake kind of numbers.  Inshore pompano reports were slow this week in Jupiter; with a few still being caught inshore in Stuart.  Snook season opens back up a week from today.  It's been a little slow on the snook, but warmer temps this weekend (ahead of a cold front coming early next week) will likely have them biting a little better.  The shrimp jig bite remains good at night around the bridges for the snook. 

SURF/PIER-  Overall the surf fishing has been good this week.  Early in the week with the wind blowing like crazy, the big bluefish came through the Juno Beach Pier and proceeded to just chew their faces off!  Any swimming plug, topwater, spoon, diamond jig, GT Ice Cream, etc that hit the water was promptly destroyed by a hungry bluefish.  Unfortunately it was a small window that only lasted a day.  Southeast winds have (likely) pushed them up north.  When the wind comes around and blows north look for some of them to end up back here again.  Still a decent pick on the pier of smaller bluefish, jacks, and the occasional Spanish Mackerel as the week has gone on.  Pompano reports were a bit slow this week, but a few were caught locally.  With ocean conditions calming into the weekend (and some really nice looking water on the beach right now) look for the pompano to make a little showing.  Plenty of spinner sharks along the beach right now as well.  Yes the sharks are a pain in the butt...BUT watching a spinner blow a topwater into the air is pretty entertaining.  A pretty solid pick of whiting and croakers along the beach.

Sebastian Inlet Report with The Snookman


                    In a word: Dismal

 “Good morning, Sebastian Inlet fishing junkies; I hope everyone had a great weekend despite the chilly winds. This report is going to be brief, thanks to cold weather, very brisk winds and rough seas. All which makes for lousy fishing, especially at the inlet!

Since Thursday, when the weather took a turn for the worse, the ocean has been rough and dirty — especially the south side of the inlet — and water temps from Canaveral to Wabasso have been in the lower 60s. From Wabasso south it is 74 degrees. So, not conducive for fish wanting to play. Not many folks fishing. Prior to the poor weather conditions, anglers were catching nice numbers of black drum, some pompano and whiting on the north jetty on dead and live shrimp, as well as cut clams. The tip of the jetty, both sides, was the place to be. Also, I noted when I was there before the weather set in, we saw some schools of the big bluefish swimming around the north jetty. Large spoons and cut baits will work for them. The south side and the surf area were messy due to the outgoing tide carrying runoff down the beach, which just shut everything down except for catfish and stingrays. Not much else to report. 

For the remainder of the week, look  for SSE winds at 10 to 20 mph and three to four-foot seas this week. This pattern will allow the water to slightly warm up, but unfortunately will also dirty it up more, especially the south side; the north side may stay pretty clean, and that might be the place to be. I wish I had better news, but that is it in a nutshell. I have to keep reminding myself that it's wintertime. If you do go out, good luck, and I hope you can find a nice spot to fish and catch something.” — Snookman

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Ed Killer / tcpalm South Fla. Report


Florida fishing: Bluefish, sailfish, pompano on the move with winter cold fronts

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” — John Steinbeck, “Travels with Charley: In Search of America”

Steinbeck must have loved catching bluefish because they're running right now from Sebastian to Vero Beach to Fort Pierce to Jensen Beach and Hobe Sound. In fact, you may not know this, but the Florida record bluefish was caught in 1973 in Jensen Beach by Liz Yates and it weighed 22 pounds 13 ounces. That's a whopper of a chopper for sure.

The winter cold fronts are fish pushers. Sailfish, blackfin tuna and dolphin are migrating south with the cold air masses. Along the beaches, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and pompano are moving, mostly. Maybe the mackerel movement has stalled north of Fort Pierce Inlet according to condo owners reports from North Hutchinson Island.

Florida fishing regulations and fishing season opening and closing dates:

  • Spotted seatrout: Harvest re-opened Jan. 1. Central East region regulations — Bag limit: 2 per harvester, zero captain and crew bag limit when on a for-hire trip. Slot limit: More than 15 inches and less than 19 inches total length. May possess one over 19 inches per vessel or, if fishing from shore, one over 19 inches per person, included in the bag limit. Harvest closed Nov. 1-Dec. 31.
  • Snook: Harvest closed Dec. 15. Catch and release until Feb. 1.
  • Grouper: Harvest closed Jan. 1. Includes gag grouper, red grouper, black grouper, scamp, yellowfin grouper, yellowmouth, coney, graysby, red hind and rock hind. Harvest re-opens May 1 in Atlantic waters.
  • Hogfish: Harvest re-opens May 1.
  • Cobia: Bag limit: Two fish per vessel. Size limit: 36 inches fork length. No closed season.
  • 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.
  • Lobster: Harvest will close March 31. No egg bearers, 3-inch minimum carapace length. Lobster stamp required. Sport season (mini-season) will be July 24-25, 2024.
  • Alligator: Hunt season opened Aug. 15-Nov. 1. Permits required.
  • Flounder: Size limit: 14 inches. Bag limit: 5 fish per person. Harvest closed Oct. 15-Nov. 30.
  • Bass: Bass at Headwaters Lake will soon become all catch-and-release.
  • Indian River County

    Offshore: It's been worthwhile to run north of Sebastian Inlet if you want to catch sailfish, blackfin tuna and dolphin. These fish have been in 120 to 180 feet along current edges. Look for color changes or slight temperature changes.

    Inshore: Black drum, sheepshead, pompano, bluefish and mackerel can be caught around the ends of the jetty. Fish with cut shrimp or sand fleas to catch drum, sheepshead and pompano. Use chrome jigs, Gotcha plugs or Mylar jigs to catch blues and macks on fast retrieves.

  • Freshwater: Crappie (specks or speckled perch) can be caught on tiny jigs and minnows in canals, ponds and lakes in the western part of the county. Blue Cypress Lake is a good place to catch specks in limits when the water cools down.

    St. Lucie County

  • Inshore: Snook — catch and release only until Feb. 1 — can be caught under docks and around the points of mangrove islands on live sardines or mullet. Pitch to docks with live shrimp for shots at sheepshead, croaker, flounder, jacks, ladyfish and bluefish.

    Surf: Paul Sperco of Port St. Lucie and Capt. Paul's Pompano Rigs said it was a good week to be out on the beach. One day, he and his son Randy Sperco caught and released a few permit while also catching bluefish, whiting and a couple of pompano. Fish the falling tide. Look for the right color green water. Use sand fleas or Fishbites.

  • Martin County

    Inshore: Pitch docks and fish the bridges with shrimp-tipped jigs to catch sheepshead, croaker, black drum, jacks and ladyfish. A few people are catching pompano while drifting and jigging the Sailfish Point Flats.

    Lake Okeechobee

    Crappie fishing continues to drive the majority of the angling activity on the lake. Anglers are using small jigs and live minnows and fishing from pontoon boats in the Kissimmee River, around King's Bar, Tin House Cove and near Harney Pond Canal to catch limits. Next week, the MLF Phoenix Boats series will fish out of Clewiston for $75,000. Be ready to share your favorite fishing spots.

  • report courtesy of Ed Killer  TCPalm's outdoors writer. 

Beach Fishing With Paul Sperco Palm Beach/Martin County Area


The trip to the beach today was definitely different from recent ones this past week . Randy and I fished up by Ft Pierce and our catch list included pompano, permit, blue runners , and bluefish that weighed close to 15 pounds !! I managed to land a pompano that hit the new Flesh/Pink Crab Fishbite not long after setting up and then the activity stopped . The water color was good and there was just enough wave action to think that the pompano should be biting . Another single bite on a green machine pompano rig baited with Powerlime Crab Fishbites put a nice 2 pound pompano in the cooler . A small school of mackerel showed and one of rods bent double and after that fish was staking line a second pole bent over and Randy grabbed that one . These two bites were both permit and after landing both of them we took a couple of pictures and released them . The Flesh/Pink Crab Fishbite took one fish and Electric Chicken Crab caught the other one . Two more pompano made there way into the cooler and and then a bite I have never seen in Florida exploded . Wave after wave of 10 to 15 pound bluefish took out every anglers pompano rigs as bite off after bite off happened from South to north . The bluefish were almost beaching themselves as they chased croakers up on to the sand . Randy grabbed a 7 foot spinning rod with a 2500 Penn Spinfisher reel and lost 3 spoons on 3 casts . We rigged up a YoZuri surface plug with a 40 lb fluorocarbon leader and he landed 3 before they moved on . Being from NJ I have seen these bluefish on more than one occasion just obliterate schools of bunker and sand eels but I’ve never seen blues this big storm the beach the way they did today . We packed it up after they came through and Randy kept one for the smoker . The picture of what was in its stomach tells the story of why there probably wasn’t a pompano within 5 miles of the beach after that blitz !!! Crazy day . You just never know what you’ll experience down here in Florida when you hit the beach . Good luck and catch em up this week .

Sebastian Inlet Report with The Snookman

 Anglers of the Week: We received a submission from "Justin and Jaden,"  who  corroborated Snookman's claim in this report that this is the best black drum fishing in many years. The note accompanying the photo reads, "Drove here from Orlando in the morning, fished high tide, everyone was hooked up on drum on shrimp bounced on the bottom! Beach side or inlet side, they were biting everywhere! Probably one of the best drum fishing days I have personally had!" 

“Good day, Sebastian Inlet fans and fishing fanatics! I hope everyone had a great weekend despite Monday’s bad weather. Unfortunately, this week isn’t expected to improve. We’re in for another roller coaster ride due to the weather patterns. According to my research, El Niño  lasts on an average of 9 to 12 months and it is due to return to normal patterns around April through June. La Niña patterns last an average of one to three years. Let’s hope we return to normal soon. The good news is that the fish have been biting well the last four days. I'm not going to offer a breakdown because there are only two areas producing fish at the moment. The north jetty and the south jetty. Now, for my report:

North jetty: HOT, HOT, HOT! During the last four days, the black drum have finally made an appearance and stayed around. There have been a LOT of really nice fish caught on BOTH tides, both sides of the jetty, with the tip being the hot spot on the outgoing tide beachside, and the inside of the jetty on the incoming tide. Most of the fish I saw or heard about when I wasn’t there were in the 16 to 20-inch range, with a lot of fish pushing the 24 inch max limit as well — and quite a few over slot! Remember you can only harvest five per person per day, 14 to24 inches. Of the five you keep, one can be over the 24-inch max. On average, it would be safe to say that about 100 or so fish a day have been caught and kept in the last four days. Also, I didn't see or hear of any undersized fish caught. One of my friends and his buddy said, and I agreed, this has been the best black drum bite we’ve seen in about the last 8 to 10 years! A drum bonanza for sure. All of the caught fish were biting shrimp — live or dead — sand fleas and fresh clams. Regarding the clams used for bait, remember, live clams in the shells are not allowed to be brought onto the jetty, shucked/smashed on the concrete out there, which leaves a mess of shells on the deck. Rules number six  seven on our rules sign asks that you shuck them at the cleaning station before taking them out on the jetty. Thank you.

Along with the black drum there are big redfish being caught on the same baits, as well as big jigs and silver spoons on the outgoing tide. They are still catch-and-release. Angler are also catching sheepshead around the pilings, but not in the numbers they were weeks ago. I did see a few nice pompano caught as well on Saturday at the tip. Also, whiting were being caught on Sunday, same baits as the drum.  That's pretty much all for over here. 

South jetty: Not so hot! But there are some fish over here, just not in great numbers. Outgoing at the tip are the normal cast of characters: black margates, spot tail pins, some sheepshead, a few black drum and pompano, and lots of catfish. Live shrimp, dead shrimp and fleas are the baits of choice. On the incoming tide with some cleaner water the drum bite has been better along the shoreline. Also mixed in with them are some pomps and catch-and-release redfish. I did hear of a couple nice flounder caught in the surf pocket on mud minnows. That's pretty much all that is happening over here. 

The T-dock area has been really dead, and the surf areas, both sides have been a dirty mess, especially the south side. North side, if you catch the high tide and clean water, you just might catch a few drumpompano and whiting. Use cut shrimp and sand fleas for bait. But it's been tough.

That's all I have, folks. Like I said earlier, it's going to be another roller coaster ride in the weather department this week, so if you do go out, prepare for rain and wind, with cooler temps arriving by the weekend! Get out and catch those black drum before they disappear.” —Snookman

From Todd @ Juno Bait Crew-Juno Beach

 INSHORE-  Inshore reports were a bit slower this week, but still some fish around.  Pompano reports inshore seemed to slow (or maybe people stopped talking!) in the river.  A cold front into the weekend will likely get them biting again.  A brightly colored Doc's Goofy Jig is a great way to go for the pomps.  In addition it will also entice strikes out of jacks, ladyfish, and honestly just about anything else around!  Sheepshead action improved drastically in Palm Beach and to a lesser extent Jupiter Inlets this week.  Live shrimp remain a solid bait choice for the sheepshead.  A few weeks away from snook season opening back up.  Catch and release action on the snook has been a bit slow.  It takes a little more work, finesse, and time to get them to bite with cooler water temps.  Pay extra attention to tides and keep the baits on the smaller side for the best action with the snook.  Doesn't mean the snook won't bite a bigger bait or lure this time of year; you just have to be much more patient and expect fewer bites.    

SURF/PIER-  It wasn't a record setting week along the beach this week; but fishing overall was decent.  Some big schools of big bluefish around the past few days.  Best action on the bluefish has been late afternoon.  GT Ice Creams, diamond jigs, and loud noisy poppers have all been good lure choices.  Watching a big bluefish come up and smash a topwater is about as cool as it gets.  Just be ready to get those blues in quick; the sharks are around and making quick work of any blues stretched out for an extended period of time.  They don't exactly leave these days; but it's about time to really start seeing the numbers of blacktip/spinner sharks blow up over the next few weeks.  Targeting the sharks with topwaters is another really good adrenaline rush! Best acton on them will be early morning and late afternoon.  Pompano reports were a little slim this week.  A few pomps around, but didn't hear of any big numbers to speak of.  Spanish Mackerel action is good at Peck's Lake (Conditions will likely change that going into the weekend) with plenty of limits coming up.  A Gulfstream Flash Minnow or Clark Squid spoon are both great lure choices for the Macs.

Friday, January 5, 2024

Beach Fishing With Paul Sperco Palm Beach/Martin County Area

fished with two of my sons, Paul Jr and Randy , and our catch list included pompano, blue runners, jacks, bluefish, and even a couple of nice permit . The only species that made the cooler were the pompano as we caught and released everything else . We fished on the south end of Hutchinson Island yesterday and today we tried up north by Fort Pierce . I never heard of a an outright blitz on the pompano . Jr, Randy, and I managed to put a recreational limit of 6 pompano in the cooler yesterday while catching and releasing a bunch of blue runners . Jr caught a double header of of pompano on one of my Green Machine Rigs that was baited with Powerlime Crab Fishbites. The other four were caught on Electric Chicken Crab and EZ Flea . Today was a different story as the pompano were hard to come by as Tandy caught the only one that made it into the cooler . I was lucky enough to hook and land 2 nice permit that were quickly released right after a quick picture . Both permit bit on the same Green Machine rig with the Powerlime Crab . We also played catch and release with some bluefish and some jacks . If you have never had the thrill of hooking and landing a permit from the beach you are missing out on a thrill . When I first moved down to Florida years ago I had a conversation with Capt Mike Hollliday, who has probably caught and released more permit than anyone on the Treasure Coast, and his explanation of the releasing this great game fish so another angler can experience the bite, fight, and release is a position I agree with 100 percent. It is certainly legal to keep a permit but I just think it has more value to our resource to let them go . Randy and I played catch and release with bluefish, blue runners , and some jacks today also . Powerlime Crab and EZFlea were the baits that produced today . 2024 is just hours away and I wish everyone a safe, healthy, and Happy New Year. As we enter January let’s hope the bigger pompano schools start to show and we kick off the New Year by putting some in the coolers . Good luck and catch em up .

Snook-Nook Fishing Report

 Unfortunately December didn’t provide us the best weather conditions with a lot of wind, but when there were weather windows, the bite was pretty good inshore. We should begin to see better conditions in January as historically we get a lot of those fronts we have been experiencing in December that bring the wind and rain. Triple Tail, Sheepshead, Black Drum, Croakers, Snook, Trout, Redfish, Pompano, Spanish Mackerel and Bluefish have all been on the catch lists over the past few weeks and we should continue to see them around over the next few months. 

Running the crab trap buoys and fishing the channel markers north of the Jensen Causeway is a great place to look for Triple Tail. December provided us with some excellent Triple Tail fishing with many quality fish over ten pounds coming back to the dock. On clear days, you can run down the crab trap buoys to see if you can spot them and sight fish them with a shrimp. You can also look to find them on the channel markers. Along with the Triple Tail, you can expect to find Sheepshead, Croakers and occasionally some Black Drum on the markers. A lot of times when you find the Croakers, they will be schooled up so you can try to take advantage of that opportunity and load up on them and have an excellent fish fry. 

Sheepshead fishing is starting to heat up for us and will only get better as we typically see our best Sheepshead fishing in February. You will look to find them around structure such as docks, the causeways, sea walls, submerged mangroves and pretty much anything with solid barnacle growth. You can also look to find them on some of the nearshore reefs like Pecks Lake. Live shrimp, chunks of crabs and fiddler crabs when available will be your best bait choices. Black Drum fishing around the causeways has remained productive as well fishing the same baits, there have been a few Redfish around the causeways as well so don’t be surprised if you catch one as bycatch. Some Black Drum have also been caught underneath the power lines up by the power plant.

Snook season closed on December 15th, but the Snook bite remains productive with the cooler water temperatures. You will find that the fish tend to be a bit more lethargic when the water temperatures drop and will be more inclined to feed on a slower moving presentation. This time of year you will want to look for Snook in areas with deeper water and structure as they will use those areas to stay warm, you can also look for them sunning themselves to stay warm on the flats and along sea walls. Live and artificial shrimp in the mornings and evenings are great choices this time of year if you’re looking to target Snook. The evening bite at the causeway has been pretty good for anglers free lining live shrimp and throwing artificial shrimp such as Thumper Shrimp and Vudu Shrimp. Fishing flair hawk jigs and slow rolling paddle tails are also solid choices for those looking to fish artificials. As the sun gets higher and the water warms up the fish will become more active and more willing to chase after a live bait. Fishing the dock lights at night with smaller artificials is a productive strategy, we also tend to see some Trout mixed in with the Snook in the lights this time of year. 

Our inshore Pompano bite is starting to heat up for us. Anglers have been catching them fishing jigs in the inlet, in the crossroads and on the Sailfish flats. Land based anglers have also been picking some off at the Jensen Causeway east side relief bridge. Jigging for Pompano this time of year can bring anglers a lot of action as you will also run into Bonefish, Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish, Jacks and more that will be mixed in with the Pompano. The Spanish Mackerel have also been starting to show up at Pecks Lake for those who are looking to load up on them. Gulfstream Flash Minnows, Gotcha Plugs and spoons will be your ticket to getting them. 

Surf Fishing Report 

The surf fishing bite has started to pick up over the past few days as we’ve had some favorable weather and a nice west wind to knock the waves down. We’re starting to see some better numbers of Pompano off our beaches and some quality sized fish hitting the sand. EZ Flea and Electric Chicken Crab FishBites have been the ticket the past few days. Anglers are also finding success on sand fleas and clam. The majority of the Pompano have been caught in the deeper troughs, about 90yds off the beach. Some nice sized Whiting have been picked off by those Pompano fishing, they’ve been 60-90yds off the beach. We should continue to see the Pompano bite improve throughout the month. There have been Spanish Mackerel and some bigger Bluefish have been in the surf as well for those who want to throw lures. The fish have definitely been around when conditions have permitted which is always a great sign! A few Permit have been caught as well, Powerlime Crab FishBites have gotten the bite on them, you can also try the Blue Crab flavor as that typically produces some Permit bites from the surf.

Lake Okeechobee Fishing Report – Capt. Angie Douthit

The bass and crappie fishing is in full swing with prime spawn time among us and will continue through the month of April so book you’re next fun day fishing the big O for big bass and specks soon. The main areas around the lake have been real good ranging from Observation shoal to the Monkey box and on up the North shore, parts of Kings bar, areas on the east side are Nubband Slough, Hendry Creek and areas around J & S towards the back hard wall areas. The crappie bite for those of you who prefer to jig over minnow fishing are doing well, fishing basically around the same areas as for the bass anglers. Some colors that are catching specks range from white, green, pinks and orange. The night time minnow fisherman are catching them good both in the lake and the Kissimmee River and especially fishing Harney pond canal which is located in Lakeport. While in Lakeport, stop by Big Water Bait & Tackle store for all your fishing needs, live-bait, snacks and friendly staff. As a friendly reminder, Okeechobee has always hosted a few major bass fishing tournaments during the winter months so be on the lookout for a busier than normal January and February and allow the Anglers that come to Okeechobee, who help support the community a friendly welcome. Lures that have been catching bass are: swim jigs/swim baits; worms; flipping/pitching creature-style lures such as crawdads; spinner baits; shallow crank baits; some top water such as spooks and devil horses. Colors to consider are: black/blue; white; red shad; june bug; tilapia and Okeechobee craw. A kind reminder to prep your boat for launch in the boat prepping lane NOT after you back up to the ramp and block those who have prepped ahead of time and are ready to put in, be mindful and respectful so we all can enjoy our time on the water. 

From Todd @ Juno Bait Crew-Juno Beach

INSHORE-  A mixture of inshore action this week.  Cooler air temps did seem to bring a nice little push of sheepshead and occasional black drum inshore.  Little better fishing up to the north(Stuart and north), but the ICW in Jupiter and Loxahatchee River did also have a few fish around.  A live shrimp on a light jighead or simple fish finder rig is the best option for the tricky bait stealers.  Boat docks and seawalls with some barnacle growth are good areas to start the search for the sheepshead; especially when they have dark bottom and close proximity to deeper water.  Mixed in with the sheepshead will likely be a few mangrove snapper, big sand perch, and ever present catfish.  

The Loxahatchee River did have a few pompano around this week, with a 3/8 Pink Doc's Goofy Jig being a top lure choice.   Catch and release snook fishing was fair this week.  Not a wide open bite on the snook; but those putting in the time have been catching a few.  The shrimp jig (or a 3" NLBN) bite has been pretty good at night; with outgoing tide being the best bet in most cases. 

SURF/PIER-  The first part of the week saw some pretty nice weather; and with it came a good mixed bag of action along the beach and at the Juno Beach Pier.  Pompano reports improved, with a decent scattering of fish being caught up and down the beach.  It didn't seem that any location in particular was red hot for the pomps; more of a scattered pick as they moved up and down the beach.  On the beach sand fleas, clams, and FishBites remain the bait of choice.  Not many pompano at the pier this week, although a handful did come up on bright colored Doc's Goofy Jigs.  Spanish Mackerel action has also improved this week.  The Macs have been biting up north at Peck's Lake and also decently at the Juno Beach Pier.   On the Juno Beach Pier a white crappie jig or small diamond jig will be excellent lure choices.  Very good croaker/whiting bite one day at the Pier this week, with live shrimp being the top bait choice.  Some big bluefish around the past week as well.  The sharks have the bluefish only feeding selectively; so it has been talking a little work to get the bites out of them.  About time for topwater shark action to really get going...won't be long at all now! 

Sebastian Inlet Report with The Snookman


Good morning, Sebastian Inlet fishing fanatics. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and I wish you all the best for 2024. Here’s the FIRST report for the new year. Fishing throughout the inlet has been pretty good due to the seas calming down due to the light, westerly winds. The incoming tides have been the most productive as that's when the water is a bit cleaner. The outgoing tide is good until the river runoff starts dirtying it up quite a bit. The water is still cold, 65 to 69 degrees, but that has increased the bite of ‘cool water’ fish. There have been black drumsheepshead, whiting, black margates, small bluefish, small Spanish mackerel, snook, redfish, spotted seatrout , pompano and flounder caught throughout the inlet.  A good mix! Here’s the breakdown:

North jetty: The best fishing here has been on the high tide periods, and the first hour or so of the outgoing, at the tip. Last week, (Wednesday through Friday) the black drum made a nice showing for those fishing clams and dead shrimp at the tip, and beach side. Most of the fish I saw and heard about were in the 20 to 28-inch range, along with smaller fish caught as well. Remember, minimum size is 14 inches and maximum size is 24 inches, and the daily harvest limit is five per person per day, with one fish allowed over 24 inches of the five allowed. Some sheepshead were also caught at the tip as well, but most were caught between the pilings on small sandfleas, or cut shrimp. Sheepshead have a minimum size limit of 12 inches overall, no maximum size limit, and you are allowed to harvest eight per person per day on those. Some nice whiting were being caught on the beach side of the jetty for those fishing the bottom with cut dead shrimp. There are NO limits on whiting as of yet. I did see a few in the one to two-pound range caught. Just a hand full of pompano were caught on the jetty as well, sandfleas were the bait of choice. Pompanos have a minimum size limit of 11 inches to the fork, with no maximum size, you can onlys harvest six per person per day. On the beachside, in the surf area, I saw a couple nice flounder caught on live shrimp. They were in the 16 to 18-inch range. The minimum size for the flounder are 14 inches, with no maximum size. The harvest limit is five per person per day on those. On the spotted seatrout being caught, the season just opened on January 1. The minimum size on them is 15 inches, and a maximum size of 19 inches, and you can only harvest two per person per day. These fish like live shrimp and any small live baits you can get fished along the shorelines, jetty area and the beachside surf area. Those fishing the outgoing tide at the tip are catching small bluefish; the bigger fish have left, so if you do keep any they have a minimum size limit of 12 inches to the fork, no maximum size. The daily limit is  three per person per day. Finally, anglers are catching small Spanish mackerel at the tip of the jetty on the incoming tide. Most of the fish are really small, 10 to 12 inches. Keepers must be at least 12 inches to the fork — no maximum size — and you are allowed to take 15 per person per day.

South jetty: When the water is clear, you can catch flounder in the surf pocket area on small finger mullet and mud minnows. All the fish I saw over the holiday weekend were in the 16 to 18-inch range. These flounder will also hit small grub jigs and other small jigs, you just have to bump along the bottom with them. Incoming high tide, again when the water cleans up, look for spotted seatrout and catch-and-release snook. Use small live baits, shrimp being the best. Small bluefish and black margates round out the rest of the catch at the tip on the outgoing tide. 

T-Dock area: Mostly quiet here, except for flounder caught from the boats fishing the shorelines on both tides. During incoming tide, snook and spotted seatrout are along the shorelines chasing live baits, shrimp being the better bait. For anglers fishing small jigs and silver spoons there are small bluefish and Spanish mackerel being caught on both tides, the first of the outgoing being the better time frame for them. 

Surf Area, both sides: South side, just south of the jetty to the day-use area, there has been a  good pompano bite going on from what I heard. Many were caught using live sandfleas for bait. Fresh cut shrimp and fish bites or fish gum will work too, but sandfleas are the top bait. Quite a few anglers hit their limits. Also, look for whiting and black drum in the mix, as it is the time of the year the drum are migrating to the rivers to spawn. 

North Side: Pompano, whiting and black drum were biting well just north of the jetty all the way north to Mark's Landing. Sandfleas, fresh cut dead shrimp and fish bites will do the trick. 

A great report to start out a great new year! The weather is supposed to be good all week, and hopefully the water will clean up more and the bite will continue. Grab your gear, bait and lunch, and see what you can catch. Happy New Year, everyone!” — Snookman.