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Week of May 28: A lackluster weekend, but the warmer water should heat up the action

Two people holding large fish by the ocean.
Angler of the Week: Alberto, a friend of our fishing guide, "Snookman" Wayne Landry, caught a 37-inch permit (left) and a beast of a cubera snapper on Thursday. We decided to share both of his catches in one photo. 

Today's (Tuesday) forecast calls for partly cloudy skies with possible thunderstorms arriving at about 3 p.m., a high of 89 degrees, ENE winds at 7-10 mph, and one to two-foot seas. 

“Good morning, Sebastian Inlet junkies, I hope everyone had a great weekend! It was sure hot and bright out there! To begin, just a reminder that snook season closes on Friday, May 31t at midnight, and reopens September 1.  During this closure, snook are "catch-and-release” only. Give them a rest. Also, when fishing the north jetty, please note that all your fishing equipment and all your personal equipment needs to be placed in the center of the jetty, keeping the walkway between the yellow lines and the railing clear, as it is designated a safety walkway for pedestrians and for any medical emergencies that may occur where EMS needs access to the jetty. Only you, and the pole you are fishing can be in this area.

On another note, anglers looking for a massive thrill at the north jetty by targeting goliath groupers, please be aware that targeting them from the jetty is prohibited. It is rule number 14 on our large black-and-white rules sign on the way out to the jetty. This longstanding rule is to protect the fish from being harassed and possibly injured and killed. Violators can be banned from fishing the jetty.

Fishing the inlet over the weekend was lackluster. Maybe the fish decided to also go on vacation and enjoy some time off. There were plenty of folks fishing, but not many around. Prior to the weekend, last Wednesday and Thursday it was pretty good with several species being caught, and some baitfish around: finger mullet, tiny minnows, threadfins and some greenies starting to show. On Friday, it got quiet. Go figure. The water has been nice and clean, and finally warmed up to seasonal temperatures. It was at 83 degrees all weekend, but as of this morning, back down to 81, plus there is quite a lot of sargassum weed starting to show up, along with the snotweed, showing up on the bottom, getting all over the baits and rigs. Now for the fishing report:  


North jetty: Here, the action has mostly been on the early morning incoming tide on the inlet side of the jetty. Live shrimp has been the best bait to use. There were quite a few nice snook hooked up and lost, either to breakoffs, or to the hungry goliath groupers that are ever present around the tip. Most of the snook I've seen, and heard about have been too big to keep, but there were also several nice slot fish caught in the mix that weren’t devoured by the goliaths.


Mangrove snapper are starting to show, not in any numbers yet, but some are being caught. Shrimp and cut bait are doing the trick on them. Some schools of redfish have been spotted around the inlet, and a few have been caught, but they are still catch-and-release only. For those fishing ultra-light tackle and tiny jigs at the tip, both outgoing and incoming are getting fair numbers of lookdowns. These fish have no limits on them, and are great table fare!! Other species making a showing finally are the permit, and cubera snappers. The permit are showing due to the tiny blue crabs and calico crabs coming out of the inlet on the outgoing tide, plus the warm water helps. One lucky angler last Thursday caught a nice permit, and a very nice cubera snapper both on live shrimp. A couple other species I saw caught last week were some nice pompano and black drum. Live shrimp and cut shrimp did the trick for them. 

South jetty: It was slow on this side last weekend as well. Prior to the weekend, there was a good bite on the pompano on the tip, beachside, on the small ‘goofy jigs’. Those fishing for them told me that the fish were nice, and there were plenty pf them caught. Then that all went away by Friday, just like the north side fishing. At the tip on the outgoing tide, they were catching the normal cast of characters: blue runners, black margates, jack crevalle, catfish and puffers. During the late evening incoming tide, many undersized snook were caught, along with  catch-and-release redfish on croakers and mojarras. Live shrimp will get a bite as well. 

T-dock area: It’s been slow here, except for an occasional snook or two on the incoming tide, early and late. Live mojarras and croakers are the baits of choice. Small mangroves along with other snapper species are biting cut baits around the pilings on either tide. For those tossing big silver spoons and jigs to the channel area, the jack crevalle are always present and ready to play. 

Surf Area, both sides: South side fishing has been hit-or-miss. Find some clean water during high tide and  you may catch pompano and whiting. Sand fleas and cut shrimp will do the trick. As always for this time of year, look for the schools of mullet on the beach, and possibly some snook and tarpon around them.

North side: Over here, the surf fishing also has been  hit-or-miss, depending on the clean water, and the high tide period. Get those in your favor and you will probably find some pompano and whiting, along with a possible black drum in the mix since they seem to still be around. Keep an eye out for schools of bait in the surf: there will quite possibly be snook, redfish, tarpon and sharks present for the big fun factor! I chatted with one of our park volunteers the other day, and she said she hooked up with a nice cobia in the surf just north of the inlet fishing a live finger mullet. She said it looked to be around 40 inches or so, it made a jump in the waves and pulled off. This time of year, they are cruising the surf line looking for a snack. Not uncommon at all. 

That's all I have for this week. Not too shabby, but could be better. Hopefully, the fish will return from THEIR vacation and want to play. The weather should cooperate all week, so grab your gear, plenty of water and get out there and catch a keeper for dinner!! Snookman