Includes Vero Beach, Ft. Pierce, Stuart, West Palm Beach and Lake Worth
Fishing inshore this week has been stellar for slot snook (28- 32-inch slot size, one per person.) Clients this week have all been targeting and catching personal best snook, as well, mostly fishing larger live baits around our St. Lucie inlet. Biggest caught by clients this week was 43-inches. Keeper size fish have also been plentiful. Again using live bait near structure has been an ideal way to target these keeper sized snook with great success. Redfish are lingering around if you know where to look. Fishing a shrimp on a jig head is your best bet. Snapper fishing has been steadily improving with snappers commonly being legal size to keep (5 per person, 10-inch minimum size). Mullet are also starting to make an appearance, but the run is not in full swing yet, in the next few weeks we can expect the annual migration of large schools of mullet through our region.
Nearshore action should start to heat up soon. North winds will start to drive down lots of Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jack crevalles, and ladyfish. Nearshore reefs are great spots to stop and bend the rods with steady fish catching action. Nearshore wrecks will still be holding some kingfish, cobia, snapper, and a few goliath groupers. Tarpon will be along the beaches chasing schools of mullet as the annual mullet run starts this month.
This week offshore, the main focus will be snapper and mahi. Snapper fishing around six and eight-mile reef has been excellent for mutton, mangrove, lane, and vermillion snappers when bottom fishing. If trolling is more your speed, then zip out to depths of 120-feet or greater and set out a nice ballyhoo spread around or along a nice weedline, current edge, or color change. Trolling at four to six-knots is ideal for covering ground and catching mahi. If you come across a large school of mahi, simply stop the boat and cast at the school. Keep one mahi in the water close to the boat to keep the school near the boat, until you have caught your limit. You can also expect a few sailfish, kingfish, wahoo, and blackfin tuna in the mix as well while trolling.
Capt. Jonathan Earhart