Conditions are definitely improving along the Treasure Coast. Clean green water can be seen well north of the Jensen Beach Causeway and past Hell's Gate in the St. Lucie which to me is a prayer answered. Water temps the past few weeks have heated to upper 60's to 71 degrees helping these fish thaw out from the previous upper 50's we have delt with early in the year. When the water is that cold, you really need to fish those deep holes where the temps remain the same. Most fish can get pretty sluggish in the cold. Baitfish are coming back in the Indian River which is a very welcome site. For a while in December and mid January, I could not find any bait schools around, but the past few weeks I have seen a change. Just look at the birds chowing down. Really looking forward to fishing again in clean water and let's keep our fingers crossed.
Let's start in the Inlet area and work our way inside. Have not been to Peck's Lake for 3 weeks now. It's funny, when it's 5-10 mph- 1-2 foot seas nobody wants to fish. Let the wind get cranking 15-30 and my phone rings off the hook. What's up with that ??? I did speak with my buddy Kevin a week ago and he stated the Spanish Mackerel were thick. My last trip out there in early January was slow. No netters around. Actually there were only about 6 boats out there mostly trolling. I believe the macs will sometimes head deeper, all the way out over 100 feet deep in search of minnows. Prior to that 1 trip, we have been doing well on the macs mainly casting or jigging Capt. Joe's jigging spoons on 8 " # 3 wire leader which are available at all the local baitshops. The larger macs up to 5 pounds have been all on the bottom. When things slow down, we tip the jigs with a little shrimp which seems to help. Look for jacks, blue runners, snapper and even sheephead to hit them along with the macs.
Just outside the rocks, look for jacks, sheephead, snapper and occasional spanish. Here we jig frozen shrimp on trollrites. When the jacks are thick, go with small pieces of shrimp. This are can be really hot at times but can also be absolutely dead. I like it incoming if possible. The water is so much cleaner now. 2 months ago I would avoid the entire inlet area on outgoing tide. Fish don't swim in Maxwellhouse coffee!!! Inside the inlet to the crossroads, add pompano, croakers and a few flounder to the list. Target the pomps on incoming tide with tippeped jigs or join the crowd near Sailfish Point and anchor up with sand fleas. The pomano we have been catching lately are large. Not lot's but LARGE.
A few weeks ago, we were under a "jack attack" in the Indian River and inlet. One trip we must have released over 60 of them, most under 3 pounds but fun. The bridges in the Indian River are holding croaker, sheephead, mangroves and the snook bite is heating up. Last trip we released 4 snook, two in the slot 29 and 33" . The water has heated up 10 degrees and the snook are letting me know it. Sailfish flats have been slow for the most part. A few pomps each trip but no numbers. Even the ladyfish here have been slow. We fished there yesterday and things did pick up.
Further north, some docks are holding large sheephead and crusing trout. Did land 4 tripletail the past 2 weeks all running 6-10 pounds. Have not decided if I am going to keep score this year. 2 years ago we had 158. Last year was screwed up with the hurricanes and my tempory marina location. Really have not spent much time in the grass flats. It's been so cold lately, I think I'll wait a while. I get daily reports from friends who wade every morning. Think he's catching more "large" pompano than trout.
Finally, we did abort the 28' Pacemaker "Buddy Lee" for deep sea charters. Things just did't work out. However we did add a brand new 41' Luhrs named "Hooligan" for 1/2, 3/4 and full day trips as well as Bahama and swordfishing trips. Still have to change my website and brochures. With all this nice water, all I want to do is fish, fish, fish !!!!
Capt. Bob Bushholz