A weak front is on its way creating northeast winds through the next few days. Sea conditions should allow for decent offshore fishing Friday and Saturday, but Sunday may be iffy.
The most productive zone in the forecast is the surf. Relatively calm conditions allowed anglers to wet a few lines, and for some, the pompano bit. Spanish mackerel are also in the surf zone. Snook are there, too.
Good luck to the anglers competing in Friday and Saturday’s Southern Kingfish Association National Champion, postponed from May. They’ll be shoving off from Causeway Cove in Fort Pierce, so head down there in the afternoons to watch the weigh-ins which are free.
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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 closed from Oct. 15 through Nov. 30. Harvest re-opens Dec. 1.
- Hogfish: Harvest closed from Nov. 1 to April 30, 2023. Harvest re-opens 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 re-opens Jan. 1, 2023.
- Snook: Harvest closed from Dec. 15 through Jan. 31, 2023. Harvest re-opens Feb. 1, 2023.
- Grouper: Harvest closed from Jan. 1, 2023 through April 30, 2023. Harvest re-opens 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 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 5 fish per day per angler; Vessel limit is now 30 fish per day. Captain & crew may not be included in limit.
- 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: Mangrove snapper. kingfish and cobia have been the catches the last few days on the reefs in 70, 80 and 90 feet of water off Sebastian Inlet. There are still some tarpon around, but this front coming may move them out of the area.
Inshore: The high water has been good for snook and redfish fishing along the mangrove shorelines south of Vero Beach. Use swim baits or suspending lures to get bites. At Sebastian Inlet, jigs will catch Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Flounder must be released until Nov. 30.
Freshwater: Headwaters Lake has been heating up with great bass fishing as the temperature cools down a little and the days grow shorter. Use lipless crank baits to fish the edges.
St. Lucie County
Offshore: Wherever there are 40-pound kingfish lurking, there is a fleet of about 100 tournament fishing teams which will depart Fort Pierce Inlet every day in search of them. Take-offs will best be viewed from the Fort Pierce Inlet Jetty at first light every day. Weigh-ins start around 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Causeway Cove Marina in Fort Pierce. They are free and open to the public.
Inshore: Capt. Mark Dravo of Y-B Normal charters in Fort Pierce has been on a good snook bite the past month. Live mullet will get good bites around structure. Dravo also said his anglers have been catching a few redfish with the high water from tides and spotted seatrout.
Surf: Beach anglers have a legitimate shot at catching Spanish mackerel, pompano, croaker, jacks, blue runners, bluefish and sharks when casting from the shore. High tides mean the fish have crossed over the bar and are closer to the trough so no need to make those moon shot casts. Walton Rocks was going off with Spanish Wednesday morning according to reports.
Offshore: Decent action on the reefs for mutton snapper and greater amberjacks. Use long leaders to get those mutton snapper bites and grunt or pinfish plugs. Cobia are around, too. Spanish mackerel are on their way to Peck’s Lake. Just remember to reel fast.
Inshore: There is still good good snook action all over the river systems. Bridges, docks, seawalls and channel edges all are good places to catch common snook or lesser species like tarpon snook and fat snook which can be found schooling in spots for their spawn.
The level of Lake Okeechobee is at 15.67 feet and rising slowly as runoff from Hurricane Ian continues to work its way south from Kissimmee. That means bass are in their typical high water feeding areas in 2-3 feet of water around the vegetation like lily pads and bulrushes.