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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Dirty water doesn’t bother the snook or tarpon; Are pompano moving down the beaches?

SportsDirty water doesn't bother the snook or tarpon; Are pompano moving down the beaches?

Hurricane Ian walloped the Fort Myers area pretty hard and then skipped across the north end of the Space Coast before making a mess of things in the Carolinas. What was left behind was the following:

  • Dirty lagoon water
  • Torn up beaches
  • Scattered debris floating in the water

It also triggered fish which are migrating to get moving, like mullet, pompano, bluefish and Spanish mackerel.

Boaters on the lagoons should be careful not to hit floating pilings, sunken boats or other shoreline flotsam washed into the water by the winds and high tides. 

As for fish, snook and tarpon don’t mind water which is a little brackish so expect to find them feeding still. Pompano will be coming to hook for beach casters. Snapper fishing is still productive when current is good.

Lionfish slayer:Floridspan Pspannhspanndle mspann nspanmed 2022 Lionfish King sspanys invspansives spanre winning the wspanr on reefs

Contract awarded:Army Corps spanwspanrds key contrspanct to build EAA reservoir foundspantion for wspanlls

Sunken ship:Bospants sinking spant Fort Pierce mspanrinspan spanfter unexpected high wind gusts from Hurricspanne Ispann

A customer fishing with Capt. Rocky Carbia on Safari I partyboat caught this mutton snapper Oct. 2, 2022.

Closures & regulations changes in effect: Anglers are reminded about these fishery harvest closures currently underway and ones about to begin and end.

  • Redfish: Harvest of redfish is banned in the Indian River Lagoon and Mosquito Lagoon beginning Sept. 1.
  • Alligator: Hunt season open Aug. 15-Nov. 1. Permits required.
  • Snook: Season opens statewide Sept. 1.
  • Lobster: Regular season opened Aug. 6.
  • Dolphin: New fishing regulations began May 1 for state waters. Bag limit is now 5 fish per day per angler; Vessel limit is now 30 fish per day. Captain & crew may not be included in limit.
  • Grouper: Shallow water grouper season is open May 1 through Dec. 31. That includes gag grouper, red grouper, scamp and six other lesser species.
  • Hogfish: Harvest of hogfish is open May 1 through Oct. 31, 2022 in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.
  • Tilefish: A commercial fishing closure is in place beginning July 6 until Dec. 31, 2022.
  • Bass: Bass at Headwaters Lake will soon become all catch and release.

For complete fishing regulations in Florida go to MyFWC.com.

Indian River County

Offshore: Kingfish, cobia and snapper are strong possibilities on the reefs in 70 to 100 feet of water right now. The trolling is a little slow, but some dolphin are starting to head south for the winter along the western edge of the Gulf Stream.

Inshore: Snook fishing inside of Sebastian Inlet in the lagoon around the points and islands is starting to get pretty good. The bait run is still in gear, but winding down and the predator fish are chasing them around early in the mornings. The runoff has dirtied the water in Vero Beach, but the snook fishing is still pretty good.

Freshwater: These cool mornings are excellent for the bass bite at Headwaters Lake, Stick Marsh and Blue Cypress Lake. Use lipless crank baits to get bites along the shorelines where the bass will be making beds shortly.

St. Lucie County

Offshore: Snapper fishing on Bethel Shoal and the Offshore Bar has been steady since the storm current slacked off. Mutton snapper and mangrove snapper have been biting for anglers on dead sardines. Groper can be caught on the ledges in 160-200 feet of water.

Inshore: Runoff has dirtied the water a little bit, but the snook fishing is still pretty good. Taylor Creek, St. Lucie Village and the points of the mangrove islands north of north causeway have been great places to fish.

Surf: Some of the first pompano of the season have been coming down along area beaches. No sand fleas are around, but anglers can catch mostly shorts with occasional legal ones on Fishbites and Fish Gum. 

Martin County

Offshore: Capt. V.J. Bell of Stuart Big Game Fishing docked at Hutchinson Island Marriott in Stuart has been steering clients to catches of dolphin, snapper, mackerel and sailfish. The action has been hit and miss, but it could get hot at any time. Mutton snapper fishing has been great in 70 feet of water.

Inshore: Snook fishing in the Snook Capital of the World (that’s what Stuart’s called, right?) has been red hot. They’re around docks, bridges, seawalls, rocky shorelines, cuts and channel markers. They are beginning to move from the inlet upriver so look for them at bridges like the Evans Crary, Roosevelt and Palm City.

Lake Okeechobee

The level of Lake Okeechobee is at 14.21 feet above sea level and rising. As water comes down the Kissimmee River from Hurricane Ian’s deluge in the chain of lakes upstream, the lake has risen 8 inches in 7 days which is a pretty strong flow. Catfish at the mouth of the river where it enters the lake can be caught. Bass are biting better now that the temperatures are cooling off some. 

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