Ok, so that title is a little weird but after you’ve been writing these for a while it’s hard to come up with good ideas all the time.
Over the last few weeks the fishing has been good all over the spectrum. My wife and I returned from an anniversary trip on May 15th and I went right to work that afternoon. Had some good trips over the next 4 days or so that included snook, reds, trout, jacks, and flounder all caught on artificials. The week after that was mostly offshore with many, many red snapper, mangrove snapper, gag grouper, some really nice triggerfish, and one mahi that I failed to get a good pic of. Then it was back inshore for 2 trips to catch a late season slot snook along with a few jumbo reds and jacks before going back offshore for a repeat of the previous week. After being shut down for 3 days because of rain and wind, I am about to start up a really busy rest of June. By the way, the one brown is flounder…..the 2 red are American Red Snapper and Redfish…..and the 3 grey are Gag “grey” grouper, Grey Trigger fish, and Mangrove “grey” snapper.
This time of year is great for fishing because of mostly moderate temperatures and calm seas. I spend the majority of June and July out of the sight of land and hope to keep up that pattern this year. If’ you’re interested in going offshore it is hard to beat the next 2 months here on the Treasure Coast.
I’m really sorry if you’ve called or emailed me about trips recently….I’ve just been so busy that I don’t have the days available that I usually have. Please keep calling and we’ll get out there sooner or later! Until then, Tight Lines!
The last 2 weeks have been a mixture of offshore and inshore for the Triton.
Offshore we had good catches of BIG American Redsnapper, several species of grouper, stud mangrove snapper, mahi mahi, and trigger fish. Inshore the redfishing and snook fishing has been consistent and, at times, spectacular. On the rare occasions when it’s a little slower we’ve been filling the time with bluefish, pompano, and jacks. We’ve also gotten several juvenile goliath grouper. Inshore fishing will stay consistent over the next several weeks and the offshore will only get better.
Now, that the fishing report is out of the way I want to talk about a phone call I had the other day. Yesterday(Saturday, April 16th)
Me: Hello, Final Point Charters.
Customer: Hi, I’m interested in an offshore charter for this coming Monday. Do you have any availability?
Me: Well, yes, I have the day. But the forcast is for 20+knt winds and 7-10′ seas.
Customer: Oh……..is that bad? (yes, he said that)
Me: Well, it means that we’d most likely not make it back to shore alive.(only half joking)
Customer: So…….(wait for it) ………(wait for it)…….does that mean we can’t go out?(Yes, he actually said that)
Me: (scratching my head) Yes, that means we can’t go out.
Customer: Oh……..ok……can you recommend anybody else?
At this point I was thinking of giving him the number of some of my buddies just to hear their reactions, but I was afraid they’d come after me once they figured out I referred them. Anyway, this story made my wife laugh so I figured I’d share it. Enjoy the pics as well, and until next time, Tight Lines!!
The title says it all. The target for us most of the last 2 weeks has been the abundant overslot redfish in the Sebastian Inlet. My favorite way of targeting these bruisers is on the drift using minimal terminal tackle….just a piece of fluorocarbon, a 4/0 circle hook, and enough weight to get the bait under the bluefish. Using tackle like this makes the strike, and the subsequent fight, all that much more fun!! There is something about the way a 20+lb redfish hits a live bait that is completely unmistakable.
There are days when my clients arms just can’t take the fight from those giant reds so we’ve been doing other types of fishing as well. One of my favorites is light tackle pompano fishing with artificials. Not only is it fun, but most of what you catch is great table fare. The majority of fishermen here on the east coast of Florida target pompano from the surf using up to 12′ rods and heavy weight. These same fishermen are surprised to find out how hard a pompano fights when it is caught using little 2500 series reel with 10lb braid. And, if they’ve never eaten one before, they quickly find out why these fish are so highly prized on the table.
No matter what kind of fishing we’ve been doing this month the results have been the same. Sore arms, full bellies, and smiling faces!! Until next time, Tight Lines!
This is routinely one of my favorite times of year. After the cold and windy February(the closest thing we get to a winter in Sebastian), March tends to bring forth warmer water, warmer temperatures, and all around better fishing conditions. Gone are the days of having to hide inshore from the wind and waves and it’s off to the beach and the deep blue sea for some salt therapy.
Over the last 3 weeks we’ve had some great days on the water with big redfish being the norm in the inlet, the beaches are covered up in nice sized spinner and black tip sharks in the 80-150lb range, and the offshore bottom bite is only eclipsed by how good the kingfishing has been. Doing several different kinds of fishing in the same 3/4 or full day trip is one of the main reasons I look forward to March all of February. This level of fishing should stay strong for the next month…..but after that we have a mahi run to look forward to, the return of the snook to the inlet, and that fantastic mutton snapper fishery we get here. Here are a few pics to show how the fishing has been over the last 20 days or so and a little appetite wetter for what we can expect for the next 30. Tight lines!!
This February has been all kinds of weird. One day we have howling North winds with 45 degree water and then the next day the wind is coming out of the south at 15 and the thermometer tops the 70 mark. And then, 2 days later, it’s flat calm and 60…the day after that it’s Northwest winds at 25knts and 100% chance of rain. This makes finding a fishing pattern next to impossible. But, even with the very challenging weather we’ve had for the first part of this month, we’ve still put some seriously quality fish in the Triton. We caught black drum on the flats, cobia and snapper on the offshore reefs, snook outside the inlet towards the beach, redfish back in the inlet, and sheepshead around inshore structure.
One of my favorite catches of the month was Kobe and Luke catching some truly huge redfish on a very windy, rainy night in the inlet. Luke had caught some big redfish before, but tonight was his first time topping the 40″ mark inside the state. But, not to be outdone, Kobe was the winner of the night going 3 for 4 with a big fish(and his personal best as well) at almost 44″!! Kobe’s dad Steve was there too….and even got in on the action with a 41″ redfish of his own. Even though the weather was a little less than perfect, we were able to overcome the elements to put some great fish in the boat. Another of my favorite catches was when Peter and Nan Quinn from Ireland landed their first and biggest snook. What made it really cool was that Peter had fished all around the world but had never crossed snook off of his bucket list. And, last but not least, Jeff had always wanted to catch a cobia and he did just that….and he did it on the first bait in the water!!! And on his birthday none the less. Catching people their first, biggest, and/or coolest fish ever is one of the main reasons that I am a full time guide!!
I hope you enjoy the pics and take them for what they are…..proof of the diversity and the spectacular fishing that we have here in the Sebastian Inlet area!! I’m leaving tomorrow for 10 days to spend a few days in the Dominican Republic, so, until next time, tight lines!!
This was, by far, the warmest December that I can remember. We haven’t turned our AC off once and I haven’t even needed a jacket in the mornings for my trips. I’ll tell you….there is something really cool about wearing shorts and flops here in the Florida sun while I hear my clients talk about snow and ice from whatever frozen north state they are here visiting from. (Don’t take offense to that last statement….I love looking at the snow….from my living room…on TV!)
But the weather isn’t the only thing that is hotter than normal. The redfish and snook fishing has been absolutely on fire this entire month. Whether it’s fishing with live baits or jigs, anchored or drifting, daytime or nighttime, we have been putting some seriously quality fish in the boat. Up until the 15th, we were able to invite a snook home with us(assuming they were of legal size of course), but since then this fishery has become entirely catch and release. As soon as the water cools down it will push the snook up into the river and south down towards the Stewart area. But when the water warms up around April(and snook come back into season) I will be looking forward to getting back on these hard fighting, great tasting game fish!!
I could talk about this fishery for ever but in this case I will let the pictures do the talking!
I had the pleasure of fishing the last 2 days with locals Derrick(and his out of town friend) and Tony. I’ll start this post with Tony’s trip.
Tony had work things to do until 4 so we made plans to meet at the ramp at 4:30pm. Usually my trips start out with catching bait but because of our late start I launched a little early and already had the live well full of a mixture of pinfish, pigfish, and croakers. I scooped up Tony and off to the inlet we went. I had planned to anchor up and fish the tip of the jetty but there were already 5 boats there when I showed up so I went to plan B. We set up inside the inlet and began to drift some live baits. It didn’t take long before we had a fish on….and it’s pulling some drag. I knew by the fight that it wasn’t what we were looking for and I was proven right when the 8lb jack came boat side. The next 3 baits resulted in the same thing and then a screamer hits. This fish makes a long, blistering run into the current that had me chasing him down. It took us 3-4 minutes to even see the fish and when we did it was the full grown version of jacks we’d been catching. And I mean full grown!! This thing was well over 20lbs and had some serious shoulders. I’ve always said that pound for pound these things are the toughest things swimming and this one was proving it!!
After a short break to let the arms cool down(and to let the sun set a little) it was back to the drift. Usually, as soon as that sun sets, the jacks just kind of shut down….and tonight was no exception. Once it got dark the fishing really got hot. On our first drift we lost a nice overslot snook boatside that had no idea it was hooked until it looked up and saw Tony staring back at him onboard the Triton. I guess Mr. Snook didn’t like what he saw so under the boat he went, got the leader wrapped in his gill plates, and we were minus one hook along with the snook it was attached to. Oh well. I retie and we are back at it. After that I don’t think we did a drift without hooking into something. Next up is another overslot snook that makes his way into the boat for a photo-0p before being sent on his way. His twin brother, big brother, and slightly smaller brother follow suit before his “just right” brother makes it onto the measuring board. I look down, readjust the fish, and see that he is ON the 32″ mark. Yep, snook for dinner tonight!! Next drift results in a 40+” red and then a few more overslot snook hit the deck. The bait of choice was large, hand sized pinfish. They chose those over everything else we threw at them. All in all we had a great night on the water with a bag full of filets heading home with Tony. He said he wants to bring his son next time and I can’t wait to put him on some big fish too!
After fishing pretty late I had an early morning meet time with Derrick and Eric. Fortunately I still had about 25 baits left over from the night before so we head out to the inlet to try our luck. We anchor up off the jetty in a good location and it’s looking fishy. I grab a rod, bait it up with a frisky croaker, and fire it out. I just get a chance to hand the rod off to Eric before that croaker gets hammered! Eric does a great job fighting his first ever saltwater fish and a nice slot snook comes on board and into the cooler. Not a bad start to the day and it’s only the first 3 minutes! We repeat this process for the next hour with no bait lasting more than 4 or 5 minutes in the water. We missed several fish while my clients were getting the hang of fishing with circle hooks, but we still invited 2 other slot snook to join his buddy for dinner. We also had several of their big brothers on board the Triton for a family reunion before being sent back after having their picture taken. Our small fish was just under 30″ and our big fish was right at 37″. By this time my leftover bait was all used up so we decided try something different. I headed through the inlet and back to the river in search of some fish lurking in the mangroves. But, after no hits in 20 minutes, that super fast paced action at the inlet started appealing to us again!
Fortunately, I had a good bait spot not too far away and we put a nice mixed bag of pins, pigs, and croakers in the livewell. We had about 40 baits and I figured that was more than enough….but I was wrong about that. By the time we returned to the inlet the tide had switched and we were searching for fish. We found them in a little different area, and our first drift over them produced a triple hook up! We lost one fish due to a tangled line but 2 well over slot redfish eventually made their way into the net. After they were released we set back up in the same area with the same results….2 overslot reds. This became a theme for the next 90 minutes or so with our biggest fish being just over 40″. Next up came a snook, then another red, then 2 snook, then 3 or 4 reds. By this time we weren’t even netting the fish….I was just using the dehooker on them boatside. You know the fishing is hot when you don’t even stop to take a pic of the 35″ reds you’re catching!! Interestingly enough, the bait of choice from last night wasn’t getting touched today. It just goes to show the importance of having several types of bait available. We ended the day when we the livewell was empty and headed in.
On the way we stopped by the sandbar so Eric could take a dip and cool off(I guess it’s not 85 degrees in November back in Oklahoma). As we are pulling in to the shallows we are greeted by the very cool sight of a large manatee lumbering along in the shallow water! Eric got an up close and personal view of this docile and graceful creature, got cooled off in the nearly 80 degree water, and we were back to the ramp by noon. It was Sebastian Inlet fishing at it’s finest and is one of the main reasons why this area is considered a truly world class fishing destination!!
I had the pleasure of having the crew of Native Bait and Tackle out on my boat the other day for “continuing education”. We met at the Yacht Club Boat Ramp(which is directly across the street from their bait shop) at 7am. It had been windy for over a week at this point but the weather man was predicting better conditions for today. But, as we all know, that guy lies. A lot. We were met with whitecaps and 20knt+ winds and overcast skies. Oh well. The Triton is a big, heavy boat and handles conditions like that with ease. That being said, we were still going to have to hide from the wind all day. Spirts were high as we pulled away from the dock.
The first thing we did was head east across the river to the Sebastian Inlet. Our day started off casting jigs to the large bait pods that were moving through on the incoming tide. My guests and I had been getting good numbers of large Spanish Mackerel over the last week and I was hoping for a repeat performance. It didn’t take long for us to get into the fish….but they were a mixture of jacks, bluefish, and ladyfish. This wasn’t what we were hoping to target, but bent rods, screaming drags, and smiling faces were had by all!! After 2 hours of non-stop action we decided to try doing something else. We pulled the cast net out and made short work of putting about 50 finger mullet in the livewell and off we went.
First stop after this was a small spoil island with hard bottom and a swift drop off. We missed a fish, landed a decent undersized snook, landed a sail cat, lost 2 more fish, and put a nice trout in the boat followed by another snook before a rain storm made us run for cover. We decided to use this time to switch up fisherman with 2 guys staying on shore to run the shop and Jim, who had stayed behind to work that morning, taking their place with boss lady Angela. The rain let up after 20 minutes or so and back out we went! We returned to the same general area that we were fishing but the bite had turned off. With only 1 mid 20’s trout to show for our efforts we were ready to make a move.
By this time the wind is really cranking and it was a good time to go find some sheltered areas. Because of the high water due to the full moon I was able to run some backwaters I couldn’t usually get into. We started hitting some windy points and it wasn’t long before we found some feeding fish. The first bait in resulted in a nice sized jack. The next 2 or 3 baits resulted in the same thing and then a nice upper slot trout joined his friend in the cooler. After that it was jack city, a few missed fish, a nice mango, and then Angela gets something a little different. Her mullet gets hit almost immediately and it’s acting all kinds of weird. It pulls a little drag, but for the most part is just super heavy. It comes all the way in and never shows itself, and, thanks to the filthy water, we didn’t get a glimpse of it until it surfaced boatside. I was no less surprised than anyone else when this giant flounder comes up doing head shakes like a large mouth bass!! I yell at Angela to keep it in the water and do my best Usain Bolt impression as I sprint to the locker where I keep my net. My heart was pounding as scoop him up, and as he hit the deck and all I could think of was “this is the biggest flounder to ever come on board my boat….and he came off a mangrove shoreline in 18″ of water!!!”. My next thought was how stinking good he was going to taste lightly breaded and fried! Man, my mouth just filled with saliva as a wrote that.
We hit a few more spots after that and used up the rest of our bait without much to show for it. Back at the dock we all marveled at Angela’s big catch and talked about how much fun we all had. The crew at Native Tackle are top notch fishermen and are great people to do business with!! And I am eternally grateful that Angela gave me enough of that flounder to feed me and my wife….for 2 meals!! Yep, it was a good day….
This is one of my favorite types of fishing to do here on the treasure coast. The best part of this kind of fishing is that you can fill a cooler with some great eating fish! Add to that you are only using really light gear….2500 series reels spooled with 10lb invisibraid attached to 20lb floro leader …and you are in for a real treat. For this type of fishing our day usually starts with deploying a chum block over some nice natural bottom. After that I like to use small hooks and relatively small baits and present them as naturally as possibly. And there is nothing like having your line drifting slowly back in the chum slick and then having it just start ripping out through the water. You close your bail, raise your rod tip, and wait to see what is on the other end. Sometimes it is a mid sized mangrove snapper that will strip a little drag but are great fights for beginners and experts alike. Then on the next cast you hook into a fish that peels 30′ of drag instantly and you’re wondering what you could have on the other end. A few minutes later you can see color down under the boat and then a beautiful mutton snapper glides into the net and then into the cooler. Over the next few hours you can catch other species of snapper along with margate, sharks, various reef fish, palmetos, and undersized AJs. It’s fun, fast paced fishing that the whole family can enjoy!
I met William and Jerry at my usual ramp located near the intersection of US1 and Hwy512 at 6:15am. I had frozen bait and chum in the cooler, and our first stop of the day was going to be for some live bait. We break the inlet to some beautiful conditions and make quick work of filling the livewell with an assortment of pinfish, pigfish, grunts, and bluerunners. After that we made our way offshore to some good structure in 90′ of water. The fishing was kind of slow at the first few spots with only a large throwback Red Snapper and some beeliners to show for it. Then at spot #4 things change a little. I hadn’t planned on stopping at that spot but we ran over it on the way to another location and it looked fishey so we gave it a try. The first 5 minutes or so were like the other place and then it changed in a hurry. My big rod gets hammered and it’s a nice fish. At the same time Jerry, while using lighter tackle and a chicken rig, gets tight on a nice one as well. My fish turns into a nice cobia that came off the bottom in 90′ while Jerry’s turns into one of my favorite fish to eat….a grey trigger!! After that we deployed the chum bag and it was on for the next 2hrs.
Jerry continued to catch some fish on his chicken rig, but on one drop the line went slack half way down. He comes tight, sets the hook, and soon sees that he caught a remora on the way to the bottom. But, when Jerry reels that remora in, he didn’t come alone….he brought half a dozen cobia up with him! I already had a jig tied on a medium/heavy action spinner so William chucks it out there and is rewarded with an instant hook up!! After landing that fish and a few other triggers things were slowing down a little. I was marking what I thought could be mangrove snapper under the boat so I floated a squid back on light tackle to see what they were. It didn’t take me long to hook up and when I did it was another cobia!! Only problem was that I was using a 2500 series Battle II with 10lb braid and 15lb floro for leader so it took me way longer to land that fish than I wanted. But, land it we did and into the cooler it went.
After this is when things got really interesting. We look over the side and see not 1 but 3 giant bull sharks all in the 400+lb club circling just under the boat. That’s the bad news. The good news was that they were covered up in cobia!! Over the next hour we had multiple hookups with undersized or just legal cobia…all on artificials. Every fish turned into a pressure filled fight to try and keep them away from the hungry Bulls. We succeeded for the most part but still lost 2 cobia to the tax man. One of the highlights was when I floated a squid back in the chum slick and hooked a good sized bonita. Now I know most of us think that bonita is terrible eating, but I can tell you that those sharks don’t agree! All 3 of them were chasing that fish all around the boat in their best interpretation of a fat guy during last call at the buffet. One of the Bulls actually broached in his zeal and got my pretty wet when his tail slapped the water. But, alas, it was not to be. That bonita must of had some secret squirrel training because even with 1200lbs of bullshark chasing him he still managed to escape and evade. I figured that he would want to cool off after that run and he went into the cooler too to be used for bait on my next trip.
The fishing was so hot that Jerry even caught a nice little 8lb king on a naked bucktail ment for a cobia. That was a first for me. We ended the day with a 3 man limit of cobia, 5 good sized triggers, that kingfish, and some beeliners. We left the cobia biting so that we could make it in before the storms hit. It was a great day with some great people!!