Week of June 27: Fishing has been slow, but picking up with sheepshead, Spanish macks at North jetty
“Good morning, all my Sebastian Inlet fishing family, I hope you all had a great weekend! Last week and this past weekend, the fishing at the inlet was very lackluster, not a lot going on except for the all-day extreme heat. The only action I saw all last week was on Thursday morning when we had quite a big mullet run on the north beach and surf area and all around the jetty. I have never seen so many mullet on the beach this time of year! Usually we see some, but the water was black with them there were so many, and they hung around for about 3 or 4 hours and then were gone. While they were around, the huge girl snookies were just pounding them all morning. It was a sight to see, for sure. They were huge fish and I only saw a couple caught on live mullet, and they were 30-pound plus fish, over 40 inches in length. The other spectacle was a small, deceased pigmy sperm whale on the beach in the afternoon. Sea World folks removed the creature with the help of some beach goers. Not much else was happening, to the tainted water and all the slimy brown algae everywhere.
North jetty.... The only action fish-wise over here were some nice sheepshead caught on the incoming tide on live fiddler crabs by a couple guys from Ft Meyers. They had six fish between them that looked to be about 2 to 3 pounds each. Nice fish! I also saw a few small Spanish mackerels that were caught on gotcha lures at the tip on the outgoing tide. Some mangrove snapper are being caught, but they are back to being small again. All the small baitfish that attracted them have left, due to the stormwater runoff from the Indian River Lagoon tributaries.
South jetty.... It’s been slow here, too. Small sea bream, black margates, blue runners and jack crevalles are being caught at the tip on the outgoing tide on cut baits. The algae is dense here, too. On Saturday, I saw a few nice Spanish mackerel caught on gotcha lures at the tip, also on the outgoing tide. Small snook and couple nice flounder were caught on the beach on live mojarras. The late evening incoming tide has been a better time to fish for catch-and-release snook, most are the smaller fun ones with a couple redfish mixed in I'm told.
T-Dock.... Back here is a little slow still as well, but there has been a mixed bag of small snappers being caught on cut bait, and small live bait. Mangrove, mutton, lane and school master are the species being caught, but most are undersized.
Surf area, both sides.... Clean water is a key factor here — If you find clean water and no algae and seaweed, whiting and croakers and a possible pompano are possible, along with a sheepshead or two. With the baitfish starting to appear at the beaches, there will also be some snook and tarpon and possibly some nice redfish "harassing" them, so be on the lookout for them. Small jigs, grubs, live bait will be the best to use for them.
Offshore.... Fishing out here has been dependent on weather and distance offshore. It has been a chore to find fish because they aren't holding anywhere in any pattern - it's been a run-and- gun deal again. Plenty of weed lines but some of it has no sea life under it. Look for small baitfish and turtles and such on the weeds that attract the predators. Also, look for diving birds as a sign for fish. Mahi have been scattered anywhere from 80 to 320 feet and are hitting trolled shirts with and without strips or ballyhoo. One captain I chatted with said yellow/white was the color they wanted for him, without strips. Also, the bite on these fish has been an early bite, so keep that in mind. Rigged ballyhoo and trolled shirts and pitch baits are working when you find some. Most of the fish are anywhere from 12 to 25 pounds, with some bigger ones possible. The kingfish bite has been pretty good I heard in the shallower areas, 30 to 60 feet with fish 10 to 25 pounds being caught on live slow trolled baits, large-lipped plugs and drone spoons. The fish are in and around the bait pods. The bite on these fish also has been an early one. Mutton snapper and nice mangroves are being caught on live and cut baits on the inshore reefs in 85 to 110 feet of water on sardines, pilchards and grunt plugs fished on the bottom. Most fish are 3 to 8 pounds. For those who want to run out far, the east side of the gulf stream is still producing some nice blackfin and yellowfin tuna on trolled islander lures with and without strips or ballyhoo. Also, if you find they are feeding they will hit live pilchards and cut bait tossed at them. The fish are in 300 feet on out.
The weather should be good all week, so get your gear, coolers and all and get out and enjoy the ocean and beaches each day before the afternoon thunder boomers set in. Cheers, Snookman.”