Includes Vero Beach, Ft. Pierce, Stuart, West Palm Beach and Lake Worth
Snook fishing remains the main focus for the entire month of May, as season will close at the end of the month. Live bait fishing will yield the most numbers of snook around any structure, along the river systems here locally. Diving plugs, topwaters, D.O.A. Shrimp, Hogy Lures are all great choices if you choose to target snook on artificial. Also in the mix we can expect plenty of jacks, tarpon, redfish, cubera snapper, and the occasional gator seatrout when live bait fishing around structure. Shrimp on the bottom will be a good idea if you’re targeting fish to take home to eat, such as flounder, sheepshead, black drum, and snapper. Again, fish near or around heavy structure for added success. Short fish-finder rigs with 20-40lb test leader and a small circle hooks with one to three-ounce lead egg sinkers attached to a swivel will work well when meat fishing inshore.
This week the conditions have made it tough to want to go out with all this rain passing by our area. If you do brave the storms, expect good kingfish action in 60-feet of water all around nearshore wrecks outside of St. Lucie Inlet. A few cobia are lingering around but the large schools of fish have tapered off from what it was in March and April. Mutton Snapper, mangrove snapper, and lane snappers have started to make a strong showing on nearshore reefs and wrecks where the cobia where the cobia bite has been lacking. Live or dead white baits on the bottom will produce larger snappers for the dinner table as we get closer to the month of June. Chumming is always a good idea, the process usually takes 30-minutes or so to get a school of snappers into a feeding frenzy.
Groupers will be the main focus offshore this month. Seventy to 180-foot depths are excellent areas to target larger groupers for the dinner table. Bottom fishing with live grunts, sardines, pinfish, or pilchards is a sure fire way to coax a hungry grouper out from under a rocky reef. Heavy tackle is recommended to keep them from diving back into a rocky hole, before you can wind them up. Strong circle hooks, 60 to 100-pound leader, 6 to 12-ounce of lead is recommended on a fish finder rig. If bottom fishing just isn’t your thing, trolling still remains decent for mahi, sailfish, and blackfin tuna this week. Most fisherman are trolling around push button hill this month in depts. of 275 to 600-feet for the best action with skirted ballyhoo or small tuna feathers. If you find a good weedline you can also stop and drift live baits all through the water column close to the condition for added action.
Capt. Jonathan Earhart