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Week of December 27: Arctic weather will lose its grip but south jetty the best bet for now: blue runners, bream sand perch

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With much of the north side of Sebastian Inlet closed due to hurricane damage, folks are getting creative in choosing fishing spots.

Today’s forecast calls for sunny skies with a high of 66 degrees, N winds at 15 mph, and one to two-foot seas.

And now for a chilly fishing report from our own “Snookman” Wayne Landry:

“Good morning, fishing fans! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. The weekend’s cold weather kept most folks away from the inlet. There were just folks dressed up like penguins. The fishing, AGAIN, was on the slow side everywhere in the inlet. The cold water (68 degrees) was still dirty most everywhere and slowed the fishing activity. The lack of baitfish doesn't help either. Last week was also windy and rough. About the only thing I noticed was that the roe mullet are back in the inlet. The commercial cast netters were harvesting them, along with folks cast netting from the shoreline. Mullet schools increase the possibility for catching huge bull reds, big jacks and sharks as the mullet migrate through the inlet to the intercoastal to spawn. Be on the lookout; you just might hook a big one! To that end, here is my report: 

North side, jetty and catwalk are still closed, so fishing is limited to the beach and seawall.  About the only thing I saw last week were sheepshead caught on live fiddler crabs along the rock shoreline on both tides. Also, I watched a guy throwing his cast net for mullet and he was getting a LOT of nice-sized sand perch and a few nice sheepshead as well. In about six to eight throws of his net he filled up four five-gallon buckets of these tasty fish. Most were bigger than your hand, about 10 inches long or bigger. Very nice, the sheepshead I would say were in the one to two-pound range, and he caught three of those. Not much else to report: the floundering is still ‘floundering.’ 

South jetty: The fishing is just a tad better, especially on the incoming tide. Last Wednesday and Thursday the water had cleaned a bit and quit a few nice pompano were caught on small goofy jigs and white hair jigs on the outgoing tide, beach side, also on the beach south of the jetty. Blue runners, small sea bream and sand perch were also caught on cut shrimp at the tip. Anglers also caught small snook and sea trout on live shrimp on the incoming tides. The trout must be released. The season for them doesn't open until Jan. 1. (The limit is two fish per person, 15 to 19 inches, and you can keep one of the two over 19 inches). The flounder have been hit-or-miss. If you have a favorite spot, fish it and hope for the best or try several different spots until you find one or more. Use live finger mullet if you can find some or mud minnows. Most fish are small, in the 15 to 16-inch range, but I have reports from some of my flounder guys of fish upwards of three to five pounds, 

South catwalk: Here, the bite continues to be the sheepshead on live fiddler crabs. Fish them around the pilings on either tide; incoming is better as the current isn't so fast - and it is easier to fish. I spoke with my sheepshead pro who is getting his limit of five each day. The fish are averaging 12 to 13 inches.

T-Dock area: It is slow. The only fish I saw caught last week were small Spanish mackerel and small mutton snappers and jacks on the incoming tide. The mackerel and jacks were biting small white jigs, and the snapper biting cut bait fished around the dock pilings. Also, the incoming tide is still producing small snook for the boaters fishing live baits around the shoreline and rock point eddies. Small flounder are possible from the dock fishing finger mullet and mud minnows on the bottom. Undersized flounder can be caught back here on the incoming tide. 

Surf area both sides: The surf has been blown out by winds and waves. If you can find some clean water, the odds improve for catching pompano and whiting. The south side is better to fish because the water is deeper. Last Friday, I talked to a couple of anglers who caught pompanos and a few decent whiting fishing with cut shrimp. They said they had to weed through those pesky catfish to catch the fish.

That's all I have for now. Hopefully, the water conditions will improve and so will the fishing. Florida weather should return this week, so grab your fishing gear, bait and go fishing! You never know when you are going to hit the ‘jackpot’ and get a nice catch for dinner. Happy New Year, and I hope you have a safe, enjoyable and prosperous new year. - Snookman.