Thanksgiving weekend is upon us and the fishing action should be pretty good. Pompano, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and further offshore, sailfish, dolphin, blackfin tuna and wahoo are all migrating south as the day periods grow shorter.
So while you work through those yummy leftovers all weekend, you’ll have plenty of fishing action to look forward to. The surf, offshore and lagoon fishing should all be solid with plenty of targets ready to bite.
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Closures & regulations changes in effect: Anglers are reminded about these fishery harvest closures currently underway and ones about to begin and end.
- Flounder: Harvest re-opens Dec. 1.
- Hogfish: Harvest closed from Nov. 1 to April 30, 2023. Harvest reopens May 1, 2023.
- Spotted seatrout: Harvest closed from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 in Volusia, Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin & Palm Beach counties. Harvest reopens Jan. 1, 2023.
- Snook: Harvest closed from Dec. 15 through Jan. 31, 2023. Harvest reopens Feb. 1, 2023.
- Grouper: Harvest closed from Jan. 1, 2023, through April 30, 2023. Harvest reopens May 1, 2023. Includes gag grouper, red grouper, scamp and six other lesser species.
- Redfish: Harvest of redfish is banned in the Indian River Lagoon and Mosquito Lagoon beginning Sept. 1.
- Alligator: Hunt season is open Aug. 15-Nov. 1. Permits required.
- Lobster: Regular season opened Aug. 6.
- Dolphin: New fishing regulations began May 1 for state waters. Bag limit is now five fish per day per angler; Vessel limit is now 30 fish per day. Captain and crew may not be included in limit.
- Tilefish: A commercial fishing closure is in place beginning July 6 until Dec. 31.
- 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: The reefs in 70-90 feet of water are producing good fishing for mangrove snapper, triggerfish and sharpnose sharks. Occasional kingfish and cobia can be caught in this area, too. Closer to the beach, look for solo cobia, tarpon and kingfish near any bait schools.
Inshore: Sebastian Inlet State Park is open on both sides but the north jetty is still closed to anglers until further notice. Boaters are catching snook, oversized redfish, jacks and tarpon still using live mullet or croaker for bait. Vero Beach anglers are finding snook in the mangroves.
Freshwater: Cooler night time temperatures have energized the bass bite at Headwaters Lake and Blue Cypress Lake.
St. Lucie County
Offshore: Mutton snapper and mangrove snapper are still being caught on the reefs in 80-90 feet of water. Use dead sardines for bait. Farther out, in 120-160 feet of water, sailfish, mahi mahi and blackfin tuna can be caught by trolling ballyhoo.
Inshore: Snook, cubera snapper, goliath grouper and tarpon can be caught in the Turning Basin near the port. Snook can also be caught around structure on the changing tides. Trout and redfish can be caught on the points of the mangrove islands north of North Causeway using live bait.
Surf: The pompano are moving through the Treasure Coast. The best time to catch them is during the incoming tide and near the beginning of the outgoing tide. Cast 150 feet out to the sand bar with Fishbites or pieces of shrimp. Whiting will also be in the same zone. Spanish mackerel can be caught fishing with jigs or small topwaters reeled fast.
Offshore: Spanish mackerel are being caught along the St. Lucie Inlet State Preserve reef and near the Kingfish Hole at Peck’s Lake. Recreational anglers should work away from commercial fishers to avoid conflicts. Reel fast to get bites. There are schools of mackerel from the inlet all the way down the reef.
Inshore: Tarpon and snook can be caught in the area of the inlet and Crossroads using dead mullet while anchored. Big jacks are around, too, ranging up the St. Lucie River and taking live bait, lures and jigs
After rainfall from Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole, the level of the lake is now at 16.36 feet above sea level. That means the areas holding bass are 3-4 feet deep. Bass fishing is pretty good on topwater frogs, topwater hard lures, lipless crank baits and spinnerbaits but the best offering is still wild shiners available at area tackle shops.