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Week of March 28: Look for snook and reds if water warms back up 

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The forecast calls for sunny skies, a high of 78 degrees, northwest winds in the morning becoming east-southeast in the afternoon, and one to two-foot seas.

Our fishing guide, “Snookman” Wayne Landry says chilled waters slowed the fishing action at Sebastian Inlet last weekend.

“The water had cooled back down to 71 degrees from the 74-75 it was last week, and the fish just shut down, and the baitfish, (the mojarras) left town as well,” he laments. “They do that when temperatures change so drastically. There were fish being caught around the inlet, but slow both sides. Last week, when the water warmed up the snook bite was the talk of the inlet, with fish of all sizes being caught on both sides. The main bait of choice was the mojarras. The bait will return, along with the fish, when the water warms up to where it was last weekend, so be patient.”

However, fishing was good last week at the North jetty prior to the arrival of the cooler water, with anglers using primarily mojarras as well as live shrimp to catch snook and reds on both tides.

“Most of the fish, as always, were too big to keep, but a lot of slot fish were taken as well,” Snookman reports. “There were also many large redfish caught in the mix just to keep it interesting, and they too were too big — I only saw one keeper caught. Last Monday, a large school of redfish surfaced on the north tip — about 500 or so fish in the school — and they bit for a while. Most of the fish were in the 40 to 45-inch range.”

Snookman says the black drum disappeared about two weeks ago, but sheepshead are still around the pilings, being caught on live fiddler crabs and cut shrimp. Bluefish are biting silver spoons and cut bait, but not like they had been. It’s time for them to move on as well as the water warms back up, he says.

“Spanish mackerel are being caught but they are small, being caught on small jigs and gotcha lures on both tides,” he says. “Flounder are being caught in good numbers. Last Tuesday, I saw three caught on the North jetty, fishing the incoming tide with live shrimp, and they were all about three to five pounds. On Wednesday,  I saw two more caught — one in the surf pocket on cut bait —and one on the tip of the jetty on live shrimp. Both fish again were about three to five pounds. One of my jetty crew told me on Wednesday that one of them had hooked a cobia  estimated at about 30 pounds while fishing for snook, but he lost the fish at the net.”

Similarly,  the snook bit was good on both tides at the South jetty, Snookman says, with anglers using live mojarras and live shrimp.

“Most of the fish were too small to keep, but a lot of slots were caught as well,” he says. “The little ones keep you interested and they are fun to catch. Outgoing tide at the tip was producing black margates, sea bream, sheepshead, sand perch and a few whiting for those using cut shrimp. Bluefish and Spanish mackerel can still be caught over here using large silver spoons thrown to the channel area.”

Fishing has picked up at the T-Dock area while the mojarras were thick, Wayne says.

“I saw quite a few really nice snook caught back here on the incoming tide when the water was clean and warmer,” he says. “This past weekend though, nothing. Most of the fish were 34 to 36 inches and had to be released, but I did see two measuring 30 and 31 inches, respectively. Also, back here one of my friends caught two small Goliath groupers about 22 to 24 inches while fishing for snook.”

 Fishing was hit-or-miss at the surf on both sides, Wayne says.

“If you found clean water and a high tide, there were some pompano being caught, and some really nice whiting from what I heard from my ‘surf people,’” Wayne says. “Also, bluefish are roaming around for folks throwing spoons out in the surf. Beware, the pesky catfish and stingrays are hungry too.” 

“The weather is supposed to be nice most of the week —until Thursday when another front comes through — so enjoy the outdoors!” Wayne advises. “Be careful in the water as the Portuguese man o’ wars are thick right now, and they will hurt you. Tight lines, all.”