Week of December 6: Calm winds and clean water bring “cool water” species
The forecast for Wednesday, December 8, is sunny skies a high of 82 degrees, east winds at 5 mph, and 2 to 3-foot seas.
Our tuned-in fishing guide, “Snookman” Wayne Landry, has the latest chatter about what’s happening at the North Jetty, and the fishing has turned out like he’s been predicting.
“The winds calmed down, the water has cleaned up and the water temps are hovering at 68 to 69 degrees along the coast,” Wayne says. “The ‘cool water’ species have turned up the wick in the bite! The talk of the north jetty is the black drum and sheepshead. They have started biting well on live and dead shrimp on the outgoing tide at the end of the jetty and along the northeast ocean side. Most of the drum have been of the smaller size (15-18 inches) and a few pushing the 3 to 4 pounds.”
Wayne predicts that the bigger drums will arrive later in the month and into February. In the past, fish up to 50 pounds or more nave been caught during this time of year. Chunk blue crab works well for this species, he notes.
“The sheepshead are being caught, mostly in the one to two-pound range, with a few going to the three-pound mark,” Wayne says. “They’re being caught on dead and live shrimp. This is the time for them as they like the colder water, they come into the inlet and river to span this time of year.”
“The other species I saw caught over the weekend were pompano on the beachside of the jetty,” Wayne says. “While I was there, angler caught several on cut shrimp but pompano also love sand fleas if you can find some. Most fish were in the 12 to 13-inch range which are nice fish for the table.”
Wayne says whiting are also being caught in the "pocket" area of the surf and on out. Also look for bluefish on the outgoing tide, at the inlet side of the jetty at the end.
“Bluefish were flying over the rails coming in like crazy,” Wayne says. “They were hitting silver spoons and cut baits as well. Most of the fish were between 15 to 18 inches and some a tad bigger, but there were a lot of them being caught!”
Flounder fishing on the north side is still slow, but smaller ones are being caught (15 to 16 inches for the most part) on small finger mullet or mud minnows. The snook bite throughout the inlet has largely been at night on the outgoing tide on bucktail jigs with a lot of slot fish being caught.
At the South Jetty, fishing over has also been pretty good with the cleaner and calmer seas, Wayne says.
“Sand perch, whiting, sheepshead and a few pompano are being caught on cut shrimp at the southeast tip of the jetty on the outgoing tide,” he notes. “Bluefish are on the beach surf area, too, on spoons and cut bait. The flounder over here — just like the north side — is pretty slow with only smaller fish being caught so far.”
At the T-dock area, bluefish and some Spanish mackeral are still being caught on both tides with silver spoons casting to the channel,” Wayne says. “I haven't heard anymore about the flounder that were being caught before the season opened, but that doesn't mean they aren't around; you just have to find them. Finger mullet and mud minnows are the best bait. Also, the sheepshead should be showing up around the dock pilings and along the rocky shorelines using cut shrimp.”
With the water calmed down and cleaned up a lot, surf anglers may hook pompano, whiting and black drum. Wayne says bluefish and mackerel are a good possibility as well. He suggests throwing silver spoons and small jigs (one-quarter or one-half ounce should work).
“The weather is supposed to be really nice this week with light winds all week,” Wayne says. “With the cleaner and calmer water here, the chance of getting some fish for the table are good! Get some bait or your favorite artificials, find a nice spot on the beach or a spot on the jetty, cast a line, relax and catch some fish, as the possibilities this time of the year are really good!”