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Week of April 18:  Snook bite has picked up, but a windy week ahead

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The forecast calls for partly cloudy skies, a high of 82 degrees, southwest winds becoming east-southeast by early afternoon, and 2 to 3-foot seas. The remainder of the week will be blowing hard, with 21 mph winds out of the north on Tuesday and 19 to 20 mph winds out of the east-northeast Wednesday through Friday.

Our legendary fishing guide, “Snookman” Wayne Landry offers this detailed fishing report:

“Fishing at the Inlet has been kind of quiet all last week due to the windy conditions out of the southeast, which roughed up the water and dirtied it and brought seaweed with it. The water did warm  back up to 75 degrees as of this Monday morning and calmed down a lot. Friday through Sunday last week the water was calm and cleaned up nicely on the north sides. The south side was also calm and clean, but a lot of weeds to contend with. But there were fish to be caught! 

North Jetty: The snook bite has picked up a bit from the ‘lock-jawed’ fish we had a week ago. The bite has been early morning and late evening and on the tide changes. The favorite bait of choice was mojarras, but a couple were caught on live shrimp, too. Most fish caught were still the large females, but several slot fish were caught in that period. The keepers were averaging 30 to 32 inches. There were still large redfish caught on the same baits on the outgoing tide, but they will take almost anything as they aren't as fussy as a snook. Bluefish are still around but are on the small side as the waters warm up. The sheepshead bite has gone away, but small ones are still around. I haven't seen flounder on this side from two weeks ago when a few nice ones were caught. Schools of big jack crevalles occasionally swim past the jetty and large silver spoons and big top water plugs will entice them to bite. 


South Jetty: Over here, the fishing has picked up as well, with quite a few snook being caught on both tides, and here, too, the bait of choice is live mojarras. Most fish over here will be smaller than the north side fish and must be released unharmed, but I did see some slot fish (29 to 30 inches) taken over the weekend. Bluefish and big jacks are over here as well, traveling in and out the inlet and can be caught on large silver spoons tossed to the channel area, both tides. Outgoing tide at the tip, if you can find a spot, is producing lots of black margates, sea bream, whiting, sand perch and blue runners on any cut bait tossed out. One of the guys I know goes down almost every day and leaves with a full five-gallon bucket of nice fish!! 


T-Dock Area: Back here, it is picking up as well, with the introduction of the warmer water and small baitfish around the dock. Small mangrove snapper are arriving, with some small sheepshead as well, all being caught on small pieces of cut bait. Bluefish and some Spanish mackerel are present for those tossing small jigs to the channel. Big jack crevalles are back here, too, chasing  finger mullet. Large spoons and  jigs thrown to the channel might hook up one of those fish. The snook bite back here is kind of a haphazard. If the water is clean, they might be feeding on schools of mojarras at the rock shoreline, incoming tide is best. 

Surf (both sides): If you can find clean water and calm conditions,  look for whiting and a few pompano being caught on the north side. The south side is still dirty and weeded up. Anglers  are also catching ever-present bluefish and Spanish mackerel with spoons and jigs. Keep an eye out for some pretty big tarpon swimming up and down the beach chasing the mullet schools. They can be caught on live mullet, croakers, pinfish, or large silver spoons tossed in front of them. This is the time of year that they do that. I had a report from one of my friends of a fish around 100 pounds being caught in the surf.

Offshore: The bite out there continues to be good when weather lets you get out. Mangrove snapper, vermillion snapper and some grouper are being caught on the offshore reefs in 80 to 100 feet of water. Live and cut baits work for them. The sharks, though, are still a big problem in landing your fish, as they are hungry, too. Dolphin (mahi) are still present out in 300 to 1000 feet (look for the birds and weed lines for them). Feathers with a strip bait will do the trick. Also, keep a pitch rod ready for any fish that you see just free swimming. Most fish are between 5 to 10 pounds with a few 20 pounds in the mix.  I received a report from a couple of friends who went out 20 miles on Sunday looking for rays and sharks. They found them and quite a few cobia, which is what they were after. They ended up boating nine fish. One was 35 inches to the fork and the other big one was 46 inches to the fork. The rest, they said, were just shy of the 33-inch minimum required to keep. 

The weather looks good for Monday, but the rest of the week is going to be another windy week (see forecast at top of article). To that end, grab your gear, cooler, chairs, pack a lunch and get outdoors and enjoy the mild weather. Cheers, everyone.”