Week of February 14: A chilly, windy week ahead, but look for Spanish mackerel, blues, black drum, sheepshead
Bundle up! Today’s forecast calls for mostly sunny skies, but a high of only 61 degrees with north winds as high as 20 mph by midday and 3 to 5-foot seas.
Our fishing guide, “Snookman” Wayne Landry reports that last week was slow at the inlet, mostly due to the chilly water temperatures (61-62 degrees most of the week).
“The water had calmed down and cleaned up, but it was just too cold,” Wayne says. “This week looks like the water temps have warmed a bit — now showing 63 degrees — but the winds are going to be tough for fishing. Winds will be north on Monday (15 to 20 mph) and the rest of the week they will be anywhere from ENE and moving around to ESE and SSE and blowing anywhere from 15 to 25 mph, along with a 5-6 ft swell.”
Wayne reports that anglers are catching a few black drum and sheepshead on clams and dead shrimp at the North jetty, but nothing spectacular.
“The main species I saw caught all last week were the small Spanish mackerel and bluefish on small spoons and jigs,” Wayne says. “There are some snook around, but they are too cold to want to play. We need the water to warm up some more to around 72, which is their ‘lower comfort’ level. There’s plenty of bait around for them: the seasonal ‘threadfin herring’ have moved in to feed on tiny fish fry around the jetty. The snook key in on the herring this time of year. The herring can be caught at the jetty on small sabiki rigs. There are a lot of rays: southern sting rays, cownose, spotted eagles and baby mantas, along with the pesky catfish.”
Fishing is also slow at the South jetty, Wayne adds, but sheepshead, sand perch, black margates and small flounder are being caught. The flounder are being had on small finger mullet in the "surf pocket" area. Small jigs are also getting bites. On both tides, plenty of small blues and Spanish mackerel are being caught on spoons and small jigs, but they are small.
“While the water was calm and clean last week, surf fishing offered a good pompano bite both north and south of both jetties, Wayne says.
“There weren’t a lot of pompano, because they prefer water temps between 65 and 70 degrees, but there was enough action to keep anglers interested,” Wayne says. “Most were being caught on live sandfleas if you could get them. Also, dead shrimp works too.”
Wayne notes that he saw anglers catching small bonnethead sharks (they will eat anything they see) and pesky catfish.
At the T-dock area, small Spanish mackerel and bluefish are feeding on small minnows, and there are occasional flounder if you search for them, Wayne says, but it’s quiet back there.
“The wind is going to be a factor in the fishing this week,” Wayne warns. “Batten down the hatches and anticipate rough seas all week. Find a calm spot out of the wind and enjoy the ‘pleasant’ temps this week and enjoy the Florida outdoors. Have a wonderful week, all.”
If you'd like to be featured as the Angler of the Week, please send in your photos. We're also looking for folks to submit photos for our new "commonly caught fish" page. If we use your photo, you'll receive a stately illustrated hardcover book highlighting 100-plus years of Sebastian Inlet history. Check out this new feature on our fishing page. www.sitd.us/files/3e635b018/Sebastian+Inlet+commonly+caught+fish.pdf