Week of May 31: Snook are biting, but the season closes May 31
Today’s forecast calls for partly cloudy skies, a high of 82 degrees, east winds at 13 mph and one to two-foot seas.
Our fishing guide, “Snookman” Wayne Landry says fishing conditions have greatly improved. Here’s what he saw last week:
“Good morning, fishing fanatics. I hope everyone had an enjoyable and safe weekend. Let's get right to it. For starters, just a reminder that snook season closes Tuesday May 31 at midnight and remains closed until September 1st.
First, a little advice for fishing the tip of the north jetty on the outgoing tide: Boaters fishing the tip of the jetty have every right to fish there. To that end, anglers fishing from the jetties need to be mindful of that fact and adapt their fishing so as to not have any issues with the boaters. Fishing for us up top is a privilege, and not a right, and can be revoked at any time for anyone caught being rude or out of control. Otherwise, the jetty can be closed to public access. The bottom line: the jetty is not fishing pier, but a navigational aide for the boaters. Please be aware and courteous to the boaters so we don't lose out fishing privilege.
Now for the fishing report. The North jetty: Snook fishing has picked up here. Plenty of fish have been caught during the early morning and late evening incoming tides on both live mojarra and shrimp. Most fish are too big to keep, but a lot of slot fish are being taken. During the middle of the outgoing tide, snook are taking mojarra and shrimp. I saw small ones being caught on Saturday with a couple slot fish as well. (Snook season closes May 31 at midnight, and will remain closed until September 1. Small and keeper-sized mangrove snappers are also being caught at the North jetty on small live baits and cut bait between the pilings. Good-sized sheepshead are also present around the pilings. I saw about eight to 10 of them last Saturday. Spanish mackerel are also a possibility as more small baitfish finally show up for the ‘summer’ show.
South jetty: Here, the snook bite has also picked up quite a bit on the early and late incoming tides with live mojarra being the bait of choice. I think the fish know the season is closing and decided to let us keep a few. Anyway, most of the fish over here have been keepers, according to my buddies who fish this side, with anywhere from 10 to 15 fish per tide being taken home. Good numbers, and the crowd standing along the wall seems to indicate that as it has been busy. The outgoing tide at the tip has been slow, with only small black margates, blue runners and jacks being caught on cut baits.
T-Dock area: Back here, look for small snappers of a couple different species: mangrove, schoolmaster and lanes. All on cut baits. I did see a nice flounder caught on Saturday, though, about 16 inches, which is a nice fish and shows that they are still around. It was caught on a live mojarra by a young boy of about 5 years old. Nice catch! Snook fishing back here has been a nighttime deal on flair jigs and grubs. Also, I saw a couple small goliath groupers caught last Friday on mojarras.
Surf area, both sides: Southeast winds have blown out the south side, dirtying the water with weeds and turbidity. The north side has been much cleaner as it is blocked by the length of the North jetty. Small whiting and croakers are being caught, with a few pompanos by fishing further out. Look for schools of mullet and glass minnows coming down the beach, as it is getting time for the "glassies" to start showing up. Tarpon and snook, along with jacks and mackerel, are possible along the bait pods.
Offshore: For those getting out, the fishing has been largely good, with mahi being the species most are after. Again, most folks are doing the running and gunning to find weed lines, color changes and temperature breaks and birds to find them. The bite has been early, so you need to get out then. The fish are being caught on trolled islanders with strip baits or with ballyhoo, and some even naked. Also, when you do find some around the weeds, any live baits being pitched to them will work. Average fish are 10 to 20 pounds, with a few being up to 50 pounds. Most fish are being caught in the 180 to 300-foot depths, with some even out further. Mangrove snappers are being caught on the inshore reefs and ledges in 65 to 80 feet of water. The fish are being caught in the daytime and night on cut baits. Most fish are between two to three pounds, with a few pushing six to eight pounds. I haven't heard anything on the cobia or kingfish, but they are there.
Anticipate unsettled weather all week, but with light seas and East to Southeast winds, 10 to 15 mph) in the afternoon. Grab your fishing gear, chairs and coolers, don't forget the sunblock, and go fishing, or just hang out at the beach before the afternoon thunder boomers move in. Have a great week everyone!” - Snookman