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