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Week of March 14: Look for snook, black drum, sheepshead as calmer weather arrives midweek

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Our Angler of the Week, who identified himself as Mark G., proudly displays this monster  33-inch snook. caught using a live croaker.

Updated on March 18: It’s going to be a gusty one. Today’s forecast calls for sunny skies, a high of 82 degrees and 15 mph SE winds pushing 2 to 3-foot seas.

Our fishing guide, “Snookman” Wayne Landry, reports that the past weekend’s fishing was a bust, thanks to gnarly weather, high surf, and wind-whipped water.

“Before the weekend, fishing had been picking up,” Snookman says. “Last week, I saw all kinds of fish being caught on both sides of the inlet. This week — after Monday and Tuesday — winds are supposed to lighten up and hopefully warm the water back up to the 75 degrees it had been last week. It’s currently 71 degrees. This is time of year you must be there at the right time, with the right bait when they ‘turn on’.”

The snook were biting at the tip of the North jetty on the outgoing tide on Tuesday and Wednesday, Wayne says, noting that live shrimp was the dominant bait.

“On the incoming tide, they bit some on live pilchards, pigfish and shrimp,” he says. “Most of the fish were too big to keep, but quite a few slot fish were taken. Also, the redfish were present to keep things interesting as well. Black drum were mixed in, as well with folks using live shrimp, clams and dead shrimp. Most of those being caught were between 16 to  24 inches, with some pushing 8 to 10 pounds. Sheepshead were still abundant around the pilings on both tides, with live fiddler crabs and cut shrimp pieces taking them. Most fish were around 12 to 16 inches. Also, there are still bluefish and small Spanish mackerel around for those throwing silver spoons, jigs and cut bait on both tides — outgoing being the better tide. The flounder fishing has pretty much gone away with the showing of the warmer water temps, as they like cooler water.” 

Dirty water churned by south-southeast winds has slowed down the fishing at the South jetty, but Wayne says he saw snook and redfish being caught on any type of live bait before the bad weather moved in.

‘Most were caught on the incoming tide along the rocky shoreline along the jetty,” Wayne says. “On the outgoing tide, they were mostly catching catfish, black margates, stingrays, small sand perch and a few pompano when clean water was present, all on cut shrimp at the tip of the jetty. Bluefish and Spanish mackerel were also being caught on both tides on silver spoons and jigs.”

There’s little happening at the T-dock, Wayne says.

When the surf isn’t rough, anglers are catching pompano and black drum on sandfleas and shrimp, especially on the south side just south of the jetty.

“I saw pompano up to about 12 to 14 inches, and black drum from 2 to 4 pounds,” Snookman says. "Also, the bluefish and Spanish mackerel can be caught on silver spoons and jigs. Be aware of pesky catfish and stingrays in the dirtier water. Also, blacktip sharks are being caught on the south side along the beach. They will eat anything. They can be table fare, but I recommend that you carefully release them back into the water, as they keep help keep our fishery in check. If you don't know how to prep them, let them go, as they will spoil quickly and could make you sick.”

It's going to be another off-and-on week, but still pleasant. Get out to your favorite fishing hole or sunning spot and enjoy all that Florida has to offer,” Wayne says. “Tight lines everyone, and be safe.”