Friday, January 5, 2024

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.

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