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Week of September 4: Slow opener for snook season, but redfish were raging

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Our Angler of the Week photo was shared by our fishing guide, "Snookman" Wayne Landry. He writes: " The snook season opened up with a dismal bite all weekend, (I) spent three days down there and no pics for you except this pic of one of my bud's snapper limit he got Saturday."

Today’s forecast calls for sunny skies, a high of 86 degrees, ENE winds at  eight to 10 mph, and three to four-foot seas.

And now for “Snookman” Wayne Landry’s latest fishing report: “Good morning, Sebastian Inlet fishing fanatics. I hope everybody's holiday weekend was a good one.  Here is your report: For the most part toe fishing at the inlet as a whole was, and still is, pretty slow. Hurricane Idalia put a damper on fishing all last week and through the weekend. Constant NNE and ENE winds at 15 to 25 mph, and five to seven-foot swells turned the inlet into a washing machine.

Opening day of snook season last Friday and through the weekend was dismal. I saw only four snook caught at that time and two were oversized; the other two were too small to keep. Remember, they must be in the slot of 28 overall minimum and 32 overall maximum, and only one to keep per person per day. I did hear of two keepers on the south side, but  they were just at 28 inches. So pretty quiet on the snook.

On opening day for whatever reason, the redfish were on fire everywhere in the inlet! Fish of all sizes were caught on any live bait tossed out on both sides. High tide was the best. It was really cool to see all the rods bent over on the jetty and a lot of happy people catching fish. Also remember redfish are catch-and-release only. Can't keep any! The only fish I saw being caught regularly were mangrove snappers. People caught them in good numbers on both sides of the inlet — incoming tide was best. Live greenies and tiny live mojarra were the baits of choice. On another note, the fall mullet run has begun. All weekend, massive schools come down the beach and into the inlet. Fish were busting them up in the north surf as they moved down the beach. Tarpon, big snook and jack crevalle were seen blasting them. I'm hoping that when the seas calm down more by Wednesday, the water clears up, and the bite will be on. It's that time of the year again for it to start. Once the snook get out of their spawning mode and begin eating, it will be game on. Here is the breakdown of what and where.

North jetty: Here, with the wind and huge waves pounding the jetty, it was a pretty wet weekend. Friday morning, the opening day of snook season, was a bust: nothing except a couple of oversized caught in a boat, and one short on the jetty.  However,  the redfish went nuts that morning for two to three hours of the middle incoming tide. Many fish  of all sizes were caught on any live bait tossed out. Once the tide dropped, they were gone and never returned. A few were still caught over the weekend, but not in any numbers like Friday morning. Even the boats were catching them.

Big jack crevalle were around too keeping it interesting. I also saw anglers catching mangrove snappers on live greenies being fished around the tip and inside the pilings. The incoming tide was the tide for them. Also, along the rock seawall they were catching quite a few as well. There were a lot of small ones, but I did see some in the 12 to 13-inch range being kept. Several anglers caught their limits. The only other fish I saw caught were catfish and a four-foot-long nurse shark in the surf. 

South jetty: Here, the water was not quite as rough as the north side, but it was much dirtier than the north side. Many catfish and puffers being caught on dead shrimp and cut bait, sometimes two at a time, on both tides. The mangrove snapper over here were hit-or-miss. If you find the right spot and some cleaner water, you just might get a few. One of my buds caught his limit of five while fishing along the seawall on the incoming tide with live greenies and tiny mojarra. The snook bite was pretty dismal like the north side.  I only saw one but heard about two being caught on swim baits on the incoming.  All were right at the 28-inch minimum. Jack crevalle and some blue runners round out the cast of characters biting. So yeah, pretty slow. 

 T-Dock area: Back here, much the same. The dirty water plays a key role in how the bite is going to be. The cleaner the better. Lots of baitfish back here, greenies and small mojarra around the rocks and the dock. Small snapper of various species are being caught. The mangroves I saw were mostly on the small size, 10 to 10.5 inches, but a few nice 11 to 12-inch  fish were caught over the weekend. My friend who likes fishing for them back here said he caught about 15 to 20 each day Saturday and Sunday, but they were only 10 to 10.5 inches, and he doesn't keep them that small. I did also see an angler catch a small yellowtail snapper back here on Saturday. It was only about 6 inches long, but it was a yellow tail! I've never seen one up this far north from the keys. The snook bite back here is also kind of slow like the rest of the inlet, but they are catching some nice fish at night jig fishing the outgoing tide. Also, on the incoming tide, nice redfish were caught over the weekend. That's it for back here. 

Surf area, both sides: Still a blown-out mess with the brisk NNE winds and six-foot waves: too rough to fish. When the waves calm down by the latter part of the week, and with the mullet coming down the beach now, the action should increase in the surf for snook, reds, tarpon and a host of other predators chasing them.  It's still early in the run, but expect it to pick up, it always does. 

That's all I have for now, my friends. Grab your gear, cast net and some bait and get out there and fish. This is the time of the year when fishing improves. Have a great week and stay safe!”

—     Snookman.