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Week of December 4: The weather will cool, but the fishing may heat up!

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Angler of the Week: Emily Hanzlik submitted this photo of her dad, Paul, and shared this story: My dad  and I live in West Palm Beach, but fish the Sebastián inlet frequently. A few months ago we fish the inlet and it was pretty slow, so we decided to try fishing the park at the campground. We found a few jacks that day close to the boat ramp. We saw a lot of action that day, away from us around the mangroves and decided to bring our kayak up and give it a try. Leaving our house around 4:30 a.m. this morning, we arrived at the boat ramp and were fishing  after sunrise. It only took a short paddle out before we were hooked up on some jacks. A little further south and the bite started going off. With lots of jacks, ladyfish and a half dozen or so seatrout. We had a blast for about an hour and a half. We just caught the last of the incoming tide and apparently as the tide stopped to switch so did the bite. Always fun spending time on the water with family, catching or not."

Today's forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies, a high of 81 degrees, west winds at 9 mph, and one to two-foot seas. 

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And now for this week’s fishing report from our fishing guide….drumroll, please….. “Snookman” Wayne Landry:

“Good morning, Sebastian Inlet fishing friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. The weather was awesome. Here we go with what you’re seeking to start off the week. Fishing at the inlet last week and through the weekend was largely pretty good! Most of the action was on the north side due to the cloudy runoff water from the river on the outgoing tides and mixing with the churned up beach water.

The north side was much cleaner all along the beaches north and coming down the shoreline. Baitfish were scarce as the water was pretty cool last week, 68 to 69-degree water temps, but that brought out the cooler water species: black drum, pompano and sheepshead, which all were playing quite well. As of yesterday, the water temps have risen to 73 degrees along our coast from the SSE winds blowing the warmer water back in. The snook bite has been hit-or-miss due to the ever-changing water temps and clarity, but they were biting nonetheless, along with some big redfish I saw caught as well. The Spanish mackerel have thinned out greatly due to the absence of the greenies and pilchards, but some were around, along with some bluefish. So here we go with the breakdown.

North Jetty: The bite has been mostly on the high tide period and the first of the falling tide while there is still some water on the beachside. We still have that sandbar on the beachside of the jetty to keep it kind of shallow on the low tides. Black drum, pompano, whiting and smaller redfish were caught on the beachside of the jetty all the way up to Bonsteel Park. Sandfleas were the target bait they wanted, but fresh cut shrimp or fish bites would also attract a bite. Last Monday through Wednesday it was really good! Then the water dirtied up a tad and slowed the action, but fish were still caught. Inside the jetty, same high tide period, the snook bite has been pretty good on large live shrimp, if you could get some. Not a lot were caught, but there were enough to keep anglers interested. Many of the snook were either over slot, or under, but quite a few slots were caught while I was down there over the weekend. Remember, snook season closes on December 15 at midnight. In that same time frame and area, anglers were catching black drum up to 24 inches! Nice fish. Redfish were present as well, but you still cannot keep them; they must be released unharmed into the water as quickly as possible. Sheepshead were caught between the pilings on fresh sandfleas. A couple of flounder were also caught on the jetty over the weekend, same high tide period. One as about 24 inches. That's a pretty big flounder! Live shrimp did the trick for that one. One other species I heard was being caught were a couple of really nice cubera snappers at the tip of the jetty on big live shrimp, outgoing tide, early morning. The outgoing tide at the tip of the jetty for the bluefish has slowed down some, but they are still catching some nice ones on silver spoons. Not the numbers as in weeks past, but enough to keep you interested, if that's what you like. The Spanish mackerel bite has slowed due to the absence of baitfish and finger mullet. There are some around, but not like they were a week or so ago. 

South jetty fishing has been hit-or-miss.  If you get cleaner water on an incoming tide, you might get a few snook and redfish to play - live baits should work best. For the most part it has been slow and wet due to the bigger waves washing up on the jetty and the SSE winds keeping the water dirtied up. The flounder bite hasn't picked up over here yet. That doesn't mean they aren't there, it’s just that nobody is fishing them hard yet because snook are still open until December 15 at midnight when that season closes. The outgoing tide at the tip is the same thing as always: black margates, blue runners, puffers and catfish are about it there. The pompano bite on this side hasn't been good due to the very dirty water present. 

T-Dock area: Fishing hasn’t been bad. Boaters are catching a few flounder on finger mullet and mud minnows. From the shoreline I didn't see any caught, but most anglers are still fishing for snook, which are still playing well on the incoming tides on live baits. On the dock, about the only thing I saw caught over the weekend were some very small mutton snapper. They must be 18 inches to keep. Thre were a few Spanish mackerel and bluefish, along with the ubiquitous puffers.

Surf area, both sides: The south side has been pretty slow due to the dirtied-up water conditions.  Pompano, black drum and whiting are a possibility, but you need to find some clean water to escape catfish and stingrays. Also caught were small bonnethead and Atlantic sharp nose sharks, which are pretty good to eat if properly prepped before you put them in the cooler. You can keep one shark per person per day. There is no size limit on either species. 

On the North side, the water is cleaner and deeper. On the high tide phase, the pompano bite was fairly good all last week, but slowed down over the weekend due to the water silting and warming back up. Black drum and whiting were also being caught. Live sandfleas were the best bait, but fresh cut shrimp will work as well. Even with the absence of the finger mullet — there are some, but not many — the snook and redfish are still around to be caught. Most of the snook are small, but some have been keepers. 

That's all I have for now! This is a better report than it has been. The surf report I monitor shows that the surf in our area is going to pick up some by Wednesday, with NNE winds at 15 to 20 mph. This will help improve water clarity and cool it back down again for the cool water species. Hopefully it will pick back up to what it was a week ago! Cheers, everyone. Be safe and have fun!” — Snookman