Week of March 20: Chilly, cloudy water has slowed the snook bite, but warmer temps are coming
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Today's forecast calls for sunny skies, a high of 67 degrees, N winds at 18 miles an hour and one to two-foot seas.
Good morning, fishing fanatics! I hope everyone had a great weekend. First, I'd like to start off with a little educational info for all of you who want to do battle with one of our ‘jetty monsters,’ the Goliath Grouper. As you may know, Sebastian Inlet State Park employs me to educate and enforce the park rules and regulations for fishing on the north jetty and the park, as well. A large white signboard on the way out to the jetty and information kiosk between the parking and the jetty contain important rules for fishing the jetty. On both signs — especially the large sign — it states rule number 18: “Targeting Goliath Grouper, a protected species, is prohibited.” In simple terms, you cannot fish for goliath groupers on the jetty, at all. The rule is in place to protect our sea life resource, the goliath, from any harm, as they are protected strictly by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Please leave your heavy gear at home and leave them be. Also, since it is a written rule, law enforcement will get involved, and we don't want that to happen. Help us protect our valuable marine resources. Now on to the fishing action.
North jetty: For the better part of last week, fishing slowed down a bit. The winds were brisk and dirtied up the water, cooling it down from 76 down to 71 degrees. The snook bite has slowed, but some keeper fish have been caught in the early morning high tides. Live shrimp, artificial shrimp jigs have been the key baits on the jetty. Boaters have been catching some on live croakers and pigfish. Last week’s outgoing tide placed the fish farther out, making it harder for the jetty anglers to reach them. Other species being caught, but in small numbers, are the sheepshead around the pilings on cut shrimp and fiddler crabs. A few pompano, whiting and black drum were also caught midweek on the ocean side of the jetty on shrimp. Outgoing tide at the tip has been all about the bluefish and jack crevalles on any bait and also silver spoons. Some small Spanish mackerel showed up to play for a couple of days until the water got too sandy, and they left.
South jetty: The fishing has slowed a bit as well, with the cooler water temps and dirtiness. Incoming tide has been the better tide to fish with small snook and some redfish being caught on live baits along the inside jetty rocks. Outgoing at the tip has been all about the black margates, blue runners and jack crevalles. These fish have been biting on dead shrimp fished on the bottom. Not much else going on over here.
South catwalk: The main bite over here is still the sheepshead on live fiddler crabs fished around the pilings. Another species I saw caught over the weekend were some really nice sand perch and black margates on cut shrimp. Incoming tide is the best.
T-Dock area: Back here it has slowed down as well with the cooler dirtier water. There have been some bluefish being caught as well as some jack crevalles on small jigs and silver spoons tossed out to the channel area, both tides. The snook fishing has slowed with only a few being caught on live baits and jigs on the incoming tide.
Surf area, both sides: For the most part both sides have been blown out due to the high N,NE winds and big NE swell all last week and the weekend. About the only place fishable was the area just south of the south jetty, but nobody was fishing there because of the dirty water.
That's all I have, folks. We need springtime to return and stay so the fish can get back to their normal patterns and play a bit better. I keep reminding myself that it is still March — which is usually windy and rough — but April is just around the corner. Usually, good things happen in the April-May months. Have a great week, everyone. Get out and enjoy the outdoors! Be safe. — Snookman.