STUART FLORIDA FISHING CHARTERS
INSHORE FISHING | DEEP SEA FISHING | SIGHT SEEING TOURS
Fish the Indian and St. Lucie Rivers for Snook, Trout, Snapper, and many other species.

  • Fishing Report 2012
  • Fishing Report 2011
  • Fishing Report 2010
  • Fishing Report 2009

Stuart Fishing Report: 7-17-12 Stuart Fishing Report: 7-17-12 - We are well into our summer mode which means you need to get out there early for shallow water action. This time of year on the Indian River I like to target spoil islands just east of the green markers and channels running east to west such as Indian Riverside Park, Four Fish Marina, and Sundance Marine. Soft rubber baits like DOA and Gulp shrimp will attract plenty of trout along with bluefish, flounder and even a few pompano still hanging around. On the east side from Joe's Point south to the Stuart Causeway there are plenty of docks to fish for snook and trout.

North of the Jensen Causeway we have been fishing channel markers for lane, mangrove and mutton snappers, sheephead but really looking for flounder and tripletail. Most of the flounder have been running a few pounds but have seen a few up to six pounds. Tripletail will be around all summer and can reach over 20 lbs. Live, frozen and rubber baits on trollrites seems to work best. Plenty of trout on the west side of the Indian River on dropoffs in 2-4 feet.

Have not fished the Jensen Bridge much lately but the Stuart Cuaseway has been holding a few snook and black drum. Glad to report I have not seen any ribbon fish the last few months which seem to push out the snapper and drum.

The St. Lucie Inlet is a great place to livebait this time of year for jacks, tarpon and snook. Best to use circle hooks for easy release. Catching livebaits outside at the bullshark reef has been hit or miss. 

CHARTERS - Fishing Reports

May 2012 - Stuart Fishing Report - Fishing has really picked up north of the Jensen Beach Causeway the past few weeks. The main reason is large amounts of baitfish spread out both along both shorelines and off the channel edges. I have seen finger mullet up near the powerlines along with a mixture of greenies and bunker spread throughout. Plenty of trout north of county line eating both live and gulp shrimp. The pompano action has slowed down inside but have heard decent reports off Hobe Sound Beach. Clam strips on triple pompano rigs seem to be the ticket. Getting back up north on the Indian River, we have been fishing markers and crab floats picking up 7 tripletail to 6 pounds,6 black drum to 9 lbs and a mix of flounder, jacks, trout and lane snappers. Have not seen any tarpon but we are getting close.

The inlet is starting to hold some snook along the shorelines. We have a few more weeks till snook closes so get busy!! The dredgers have left town so things should start picking up. I remember last dredge about 4 years ago the fishing remained strong but this year in April, I would give the inlet a half hour and get out of there. The past few weeks I have seen a huge increase in baitfish just about everywhere which is normal. At the crossroads a few bonefish in 8 feet just off the sandbar. The bridges are a good bet for drum, croaker, sheephead and flounder on the bottom or livebaiting for snook. Have not been outside in a while but would like to play at the sandpile soon. Getting in that summer mode so get out there early for you shallow water fans and plenty of sunblock!!!
Stuart Inshore Report: March 2021 - It's been up and down the majority of the month in some areas. The most productive spot has been in the Sailfish Flats with ladyfish in thick along with pompano, flounder, bonnet head sharks and a few bonefish. Earlier in the month for a few days the winds were cranking 25-35 but one big advantage to this is you cover a lot of ground quickly. Casting downwind or jigging into the wind both produce on windy days. Lucky we did not snag a few windsurfers flying by !!

March 2012 Fishing Report StuartThe slowest area lately has been the St. Lucie inlet due to 2 factors. One being the dredging in progress along with a lack of baitfish.I use Bird Island and dolphin as a gauge. For 10 days not many birds around and no dolphin to be seen. When bait is scarce, they go to where the food is. Yes we are still catching fish but not the numbers I like to see. The blues never came in force this year but have seen a few up to 6 pounds along with pompano, sheephead, jacks, mangrove, mutton and lane snappers. More bluerunners and ladyfish in the crossroads than pompano. Should start seeing a few more snook in the inlet areas.

Up the St. Lucie River Hell's Gate is always a great place to hide when strong winds are out of the east. On the docks along Sewells Point a mix of lane snappers, flounder, snook and jacks. We have seen lots of clean water north of the dime bridge which is a great sign for you north and south fork fans. At the bridge itself a mix of black drum, croaker, mangrove snapper,goliath grouper, pompano and spotted seatrout.

Have not been outside for over a month but would like to catch the end of the mackerel bite and start playing at the sandpile if the seas agree. It's time to start fishing north more for trout in the flats. Can you also say TRIPLETAIL.
Stuart Inshore Report: 02-12-12 - We have been fishing south in the inlet area and up the St. Lucie River in the Hell's Gate area the past few weeks tagreting pompano, sheephead, black drum and snapper. The pompano have been spread out in the Sailfish Flats, Stuart Causeway and Hell's Gate with nice pomps up to 3 pounds hitting Capt. Joe's jigs with pink being the hottest color lately. No big numbers but catching a few each trip. The ladyfish action in the flats have seemed to turn off but the ones we have seen are good size.

Black drum to 5 lbs and a few snook have been hanging around both the 25 and 10 cent bridges hitting shrimp on trollrites and small redtail hawks. Seems the ribbonfish have vacated the quarter bridge for the time being. Also mixed in are gag groupers to 20" and a few small goliaths to 10lbs. I look for the flounder action to start picking up soon.

Have not made it outside at all for the mackerel due to weather conditions but they should still be here for another month or two. We did see a few bluefish in the crossroads a while back but the last few weeks have been on the mild side keeping the blues in the surf. When water temps drop below 65, you can expect to see more bluefish come inside.

I did manage my recon trip a few weeks ago looking for signs of tripletail and flounder north of the Jensen Causeway but the markers and crabtraps we fished were holding nothing but bait stealing pinfish. The trout bite remains good in 3-5 feet of water along Indian River Drive.

On a somber note, while fishing with David Anderson, Ed Delany, Steve Malingowski and Jeff Baker on Wednesday, my Yamaha F100 engine finally passed away. Have been running this bad boy since Sept of 99. 124 oil changes and 12,400 hours later it's time to repower. I hope to have my new 115 up and running in a few days.

Stuart Fishing Report: 01-17-12 - Fishing has been good both in the Indian River and the St. Lucie Inlet areas. Starting around the Stuart Causeway look for the pompano bite to start increasing with the cleaner and cooler water we have seen the past few weeks.Best time is last hour of incoming to the second of outgoing tides when the cleaner water reaches the bridge. We are also seeing some black drum, mangrove snapper, flounder, sheephead, small goliaths to 10 and a few snook. We are bouncing Capt. Joe's pomp jigs in solid pink along with yellow/white and rainbow. For the other species my homemade trollrites with shrimp as normal.

In the Sailfish flats, a few redfish along the docks off McArthur Blvd along with ladyfish, a few flounder and very few pompano in the flats. Like I said before, expect the pompano bite to increase in February and March. In the inlet we have seen a big increase in sheephead best off the north side off Sailfish Point on outgoing tide. Last trip we bagged 17 up to 3 pounds along with some mangrove snapper and our first 5 bluefish of the year to four pounds. The water temps have dropped a few degree's the past week which is more favorable for the blues. I remember 2 years ago in early January we had cold fronts pushing through dropping the water in the upper 50's and the blues were all over the place. One trip we landed 117 of them!!!

Just outside and south of the inlet, the mackerel will be here till late March or early April. Green is the color in both jigging spoons and tubelures. The mackerel started out small in December but the ones caught lately have avereged 2-4 pounds and let me tell you, fishing with 10 lb mono they will get your attention. I tell everyone, when the bite is sometimes slow prior to 10:00 am, try jigging shrimp and trollrites on the bottom. Can't tell you how many times out there I'm watching everyone casting and retrieving doing squat while the jigs and shrimp on the bottom are kicking butt!!! Also when the bite is close to shore, also look for pompano.

Have been staying away from the 10 cent bridge area in the St. Lucie River for the past few months but did drop by a few days ago on a charter catching a few drum. With the water really clearing up, this area should pick up soon. Don't forget the past few months were on the wet side sending runoff into the river which dropped the salinity to 20%. When water is this fresh, I stay away. We did well on one trip in the flats off Willoughby Creek catching a mix of pompano and ladyfish and expect more of the same in Feb thru April.

Just decided I gotta fish tomorrow, so I'm gonna run north of the Jensen Causeway and do some recon. Plan on trouting early with flounder, sheephead and tripletail later. Will post pics on my site if I do actually go !!!


Stuart Fishing Report

First I would like to wish everyone out there a Happy New Year. I guess I'll start along the beach where last week we were able to run south to Peck's Lake for the Spanish Mackerel bite. With seas 2 foot or less, we managed 2 trips outside with the first trip of 26 mackerel to 3 pounds along with some really nice lane snappers and a few pompano to 3 pounds. The mackerel were hitting green colored Capt. Joes jigging spoons with the lanes and pompano eating shrimp on trollrites on the bottom. This trip we found the fish close to shore (less than 200 feet)in about 14 feet less than a mile south of the St. Lucie Inlet. On our second trip we found larger mackerel up to 4 pounds but the bite was outside the reef in 23 feet. Again Joe's jigging spoons for the mackerel along with several nice sheephead to 3 pounds along the bottom. Fishing with shrimp on the bottom will get the mackerel's attention when the bite slows down but also gives you a shot at snappers, sheephead, pompano, bluerunners and even some small sharks.

Inside the pompano bite has been in the Sailfish Flats and within 100 feet of the Stuart Causeway Bridge. Best time for pomps have been last 2 hours of incoming to second hour of outgoing tides. Joe's pompano jigs in yellow/white and pink have been best lately. With this cold front upon us I expect the pompano bite to increase and the bluefish to start moving into the inlet. Nomally when the water reaches 65 or below, the bluefish bite in certain areas can be incredable. Also the Stuart Causeway Bridge are holding some nice black drum to 6 pounds when the ribbonfish are not around. With the wind dying down tomorrow I just might have to check out a few of my flounder spots to see if they are chewing.

Capt. Bob Bushholz

Stuart Florida Fishing Report: 12-16-11 - The inshore fishing has remained pretty good along the Treasure Coast. The weather has been crazy the past three weeks with high winds out of the NE UP TO 25 but there's always a place to hide inshore. The larger boats have been able to make it outside but with seas running over 6 feet, many recreational fishermen have been waiting it out. This morning (Friday) is the calmest I've seen it in weeks so the seas should get back down. The Spanish Mackerel are sure to be at Peck's Lake now and I plan on starting some mackerel trips shortly.

Otherwise, inside the inlet we have seen a few snook along with tons of jacks and ladyfish mixed in. Pompano and sheephead have been on the slow side but I expect them to pick up in the near future. The pompano I have seen have been in the sailfish flats and Hell's Gate area and really none at the Stuart Causeway. However, the causeway has been holding a nice mix of black drum to 6 lbs, croaker, sheepshead, mangrove snapper and a few snook. Also the last month we have been catching ribbonfish like it was the 1970's.

Trout fishing remains good along with a few flounder north of the Jensen Causeway in 3-4 feet on both sides of the river. Trout opens again January 1st and snook is closed now till February 1st. With the seas calming down and better visability I look for the pompano bite to start increasing in the next few days.

Happy Holidays
Capt. Bob


Stuart Fishing Report: 11-24-11 - We are coming up on one of my favorite times of the year. We are just starting to see some pompano coming into the inlet area and in the Sailfish Flats. Late incoming and the first couple of hours on outgoing tides when the cleanest water is around is key to increase your odds on these tasty pomps. I like throwing Capt. Joe's "The Jig" sometimes tipping the teaser hook with a small piece of shrimp. Another option is using triple pompano rigs with sandfleas on the bottom. We have caught several pomps up to three pounds on the last few times out. Also some monster ladyfish up to four pounds in the crossroads area. If fishing or just cruising in the crossroads, keep an eye out for crab traps which seem to be everywhere. When the current is ripping, these floats can submerge making it difficult to spot.

One big surprise this year is the return of ribbonfish. Back in the 70's till the mid 80's you could not fish the Indian River without coming across these toothy critters. Then all of a sudden they just seemed to vanish. Last 2 times out we have caught 6 ribbons mainly in the inlet.

Around the bridges look for black drum up to 8 pounds along with some mangrove snapper, sheephead, croaker and snook up tight near the structure. I have been giving the dime bridge a break for a while with the water being so dark in the St. Lucie River but have been hitting some deep holes and docks in the Hell's Gate area with live mullet.
Have not spent much time north of the Jensen Causeway lately but the trout seem to be eating along with some reds close to shore. Trout season opens again Jan 1st.

Once the seas calm down I plan to fish Peck's Lake to check up on some Spanish Mackerel. Joe's jigging spoons, green tube lures and Gulfstream minnow jigs have all worked well in the past.

Even though the wind has picked up the past few weeks the fishing remains pretty good. One good thing about inshore fishing is there's always a place to hide out of the wind !!!
Stuart Florida Fishing Report: 10-18-2011 - We are coming near the end of our fall mullet run. Normally it starts around the second week in September running till the end of October. During this time millions of finger mullet flood our rivers making fishing around them quite an adventure. Starting in the Indian River, the channels heading into the Dolphin Grill and Four Fish Marina can be awesome as long as the baitfish are present. Look for snook, jacks and tarpon filling their bellys. Livebaiting with mullet or throwing anything that looks like a mullet will work. Just south at the Stuart Causeway we have seen a mix of flounder, black drum and mangrove snappers with fishing being best on outgoing tide. In the inlet quite a variety including snook, redfish, black drum, flounder, snapper, jacks, sheephead, bluerunners and leaping ladyfish.

I like targeting baitschools casting just outside of them with jigs and spoons. North of the Jensen Causeway look for trout, snook, jacks and ladyfish feasting on mullet. In years past we encountered bluefish around this time but have not seen any yet. Once the water cools down a bit they will be in. The pompano and spanish mackerel are also right around the corner.
August 2011 - Fishing Stuart Florida the past few weeks we have seen an increase in baitfish and water temperature. The inshore temps are running 91 degrees with cooler water closer to the inlets. With the added baitfish around, the fishing has been quite good for the most part. The only exception would be the tripletail bite north up the Indian River. The last 2 attempts we have seen snapper, flounder, trout and "others" but tripletail have been scarce. With the rainy season increasing, we should see a drop in water temps. Just might run a recon trip tomorrow for them.
Snook are still in the inlets and bridges banging livebaits and jigs. The snook season opens September 1st with 28-32 inch slot and one fish per person.

Otherwise, plenty of black drum at the bridges and smaller ones up to 3 pounds in the inlet.

Stuart Florida Fishing Report

June and early July's fishing had been hot in most areas. The St. Lucie Inlet has produced a mixed bag of flounder, snapper, black drum , permit , sheephead , with catch and release snook along the south side and around the detached jetty. The tarpon have been rolling in the crossroads area of the inlet on both tides. Outside at the sandpile an increase of lane and mangrove snapper can be found along the bottom using squid or shrimp. Also livebaiting this area will produce rodbenders such as bonita, barracuda sharks and kingfish. Earlier in late April and May the sandpile was the place to be for the cobia bite. Summertime seas calm down making the sandpile a favorable option aboard Catch 22.

A recent trip with the Allen family up from West Palm Beach caught a mixed bag of 7 black drum to 5 lbs, a 5 lb permit, a 3 lb flounder, trout, croaker, mangrove and lane snappers, seabass, grouper, ladyfish, jacks, sheephead and snook. The drum bite was really going of under the Stuart Causeway (25 cent) Bridge. Millions of glass minnows were hanging around the structure for about 3 days drawing in lots of black drum to 7 pounds. On one trip we caught a dozen in less than an hour.

Further north on the Indian River the trout bite is still on in 3-5 feet of water after 8am. Soft rubber baits and live shrimp top the list. Up close to the shoreline topwater action should be good early morning till just after sunrise. We have been getting a few tripletail on the channel markers here and there but has been on the slow side for the most part. Along with tripletail expect to see flounder, trout and mangrove and lane snappers. For a few weeks in late June many of the markers were loaded with pinfish making it difficult to keep a bait on the bottom for more than a minute. Seems the pins have thinned out making it a lot more fishable recently. Need to get my butt in gear if I'm going to hit 100 for the year!!!
Stuart Florida Fishing Report: 5-22-11

Fishing along the Treasure Coast in recent weeks has been quite productive in most areas. The Chabis family cruised down from the Orlando area and fished a 3/4 day trip. James Chabis mentioned on his last trip aboard Catch 22 they caught several tripletail among other species and expressed interest in doing the same so we fished north of the Jensen Causeway targeting crab trap floats and channel markers. We ended up with a nice mixture of 2 tripletail to 5 lbs, 2 flounder to 3 lbs, 9 sheephead to 3 lbs, assorted jacks, snapper,and trout. A nice fish list to say the least but the catch of the day was a 20 pound black drum who enhaled a live shrimp. This fish hit and took off like a rocket peeling out a good 75 yards of line on the first run. After 3 or 4 similar runs the fish finally tired out and after a good 20 minute battle on ten pound test line we landed this huge drum. Jasmine did a great job on her first black drum and is now a member of Catch 22's two to one club catching a fish twice the weight of the fishing line used. Jasmine's wrists were a little sore after the 20 minute fight but handled it like a pro!!!
A few days ago I fished with Mike Monahan and family down from Pompton Lakes, N.J. This was an afternoon trip and Mike mentioned they were interested in catch and release action so we started out in the Sailfish Flats casting shrimp along with Capt.Joe's pompano jigs. Some decent ladyfish action along with a 18 inch bonefish. Many anglers are suprised to hear of bonefish this far north but we have been catching them here for years. We start seeing these bones around April catching around 50 a year until the water temps start cooling off in November. I've found the best places to encounter these scrappy fighters are in the Sailfish Flats and in the crossroads area of the St. Lucie Inlet. Most bonefish here run 16 to 22 inches. After playing in the flats we headed up the St. Lucie River to the ten cent bridge. Fishing along the bridge structure we encountered several mangrove snapper but no black drum or croaker which we have been tearing up the past month. All of a sudden Mike hooks into something big along the bridge pilings. The fish manages to wrap itself in the bridge structure so I have Mike give the fish some slack and we simply waited it out for about 5 minutes. Finally the mystery fish unwinds itself from the bridge and starts running towards the channel. We still have not seen the fish yet so I'm guessing a large black drum or goliath grouper. After a couple nice runs this huge snook comes flying out of the water. We are all excited but I'm more concerned about the leader and main line which was rubbing against the razor sharp barnicles and oyster shells. We are fishing with 10 pound test mono and a 30 pound leader. After a good fifteen minutes and 6 or 7 runs we finally get this beautiful snook to the boat for a few quick pictures and release. This snook was 40 inches and fat!!! Estimated weight around 25 pounds. Mike did a great job catching his first ever snook and is another new member of Catch 22's 2 to 1 club.

Yesterday I had the pleasure to fish with Bob Gillen and his party. While drifting the inlet, Bob hooks into a four pound permit which we released along with some sea bass, mangrove and lane snappers and a few porkfish. One of the porkfish was close to 2 pounds and 4 ounces shy of a world record. Heading over to the dime bridge we boated several mangrove snapper along with a 3 pound flounder and two black drum close to 5 pounds each. Decent action along with a nice seafood dinner to go with it. Check out my website for some cool fish pictures posted on my reports page.

STUART FLORIDA FISHING REPORT: 05-01-11

Fishing remains strong in the St. Lucie Inlet area. Catch and release snook along with black drum, flounder, jacks, pompano and assorted snapper top the list. We have also seen an increase in small permit to 5 pounds in the crossroads area. It's been windy the past few days but mainly out of the southeast making incoming tide the best time to fish this area. The sailfish flats is a great choice when the wind picks up. Plenty of leaping ladys along with two pound pompano mixed in. Capt. Joes pompano jigs bounced along the bottom are working well here. The dime bridge continues to hold some 3-7lb black drum and smaller croaker up near the structure. As a rule, this bridge is normally better fishing on the outgoing tide but lately both incoming and outgoing tides have been productive.

We did manage to catch the first tripletail of the season last week. Vail O'Conner down visiting the area caught a nice 13 pounder eating a live shrimp on a trollrite on a Sewell's Point dock. The fish took about ten minutes to land on ten pound test. Great fish and awesome dinner!!!


April 2011 - The St. Lucie Inlet has been productive the past few weeks with a wide variety of fish being caught. Earlier in March it seemed to be sheephead city with several trips yeilding over 25 fish per trip. Recently we have seen an increase in snook and black drum along the south side. Most snook are running under the slot with the black drum around three pounds. We did manage to catch our first permit and bonefish of the year. The permit was around five pounds banging a Capt. Joes pompano jig and the bonefish enhaled a live shrimp on a trollrite in the crossroads area.

Last Friday I took out the film crew from the new television show "Foul Hookd".These guys were in town all week in Jensen Beach staying at nearby Caribbean Shores. We fished south to the St. Lucie Inlet catching snook, mangrove snapper, jacks along with a rare three foot long ribbonfish. I remember back in the 70's, you could not fish the Indian River without hooking into ribbonfish. Over the last few decades their population in this area has vanished. We also fished up the St. Lucie River to the dime bridge for a decent bite of black drum running 5-6 pounds. We ended up in the Sailfish Flats releasing a bunch of ladyfish. Foul Hookd aires on Saturday night at 10:30pm on the Sportsman Channel.

I did finally get to target some tripletail last week along the Sewells Point docks in the St. Lucie along with crab trap floats and channel markers north of the Jensen Causeway on the Indian River. No tripletail around but we did manage six flounder to three pound along with a eight pound black drum and assorted snappers. The trout bite remains decent around the power plant on the west side in 3-4 feet.
March 2011 - Spending a lot of time in the St. Lucie Inlet lately. The past few weeks on our Stuart, Florida Fishing Charters have produced plenty of sheephead up to four pounds along the north side of the inlet. Doesn't matter if it's incomimg or outgoing. One half day trip produced 37,mainly jigging trollrites and frozen shrimp. Along with sheephead in this area are small mangrove snapper, jacks and a few flounder. On the south bank, some nice snook action banging on live shrimp and soft rubber baits. Most snook are under the slot but still lot's of fun.

In the crossroads a mix of ladyfish, jacks, bluefish, pompano and more sheephead. we have been spending most of our time pompano fishing around the quarter bridge and in the sailfish flats. No big numbers but a few pompano here and there while bouncing Capt. Joe's pompano jigs.

The ten cent bridge has been on the slow side the past few weeks so I'm not hitting that area too hard. Outside the spanish mackerel are still biting and should be here till mid April or so. Might try my first tripletail charter of the year next week. Gonna shoot for 100 again !!!



Stuart Florida Fishing Report 2-20-2011
- The water clarity has improved along the Treasure Coast. Last week on our Stuart Florida Fishing Charter we had strong north winds for a few days stirring up the ocean and limiting visability. With this cleaner water coming in the pompano action has picked up in several areas.

Around the Stuart Causeway has been the hottest on late incoming and the first couple of hours of outgoing tides. Along with the pompano have been ladyfish, bluerunners and a few spanish mackerel. Near Hell's Gate in the St. Lucie River some jacks, mackerel and pompano but the catch has been on the slow side. Up a little further at the dime bridge we are still catching a few black drum running 3-6 lbs close to the structure.

Sheephead and mangrove snapper are biting along Sailfish Point in the inlet. Trollrites and shrimp along the bottom have worked best. Across on the south side of the inlet, a few snook close to shore with a some undersized gag grouper and mangrove snapper mixed in. The ladyfish seem to be here one day and gone the next. Looking forward to running south to Peck's Lake in the next month or so for the spanish mackerel bite.

Stuart Florida Fishing Report: February 2011- Yesterday I fished with locals Les Applegate and Ed Palino. We started in the St. Lucie Inlet around 8:30 am drifting and jigging live shrimp and trollrites. A mixed bag of sea bass, gag grouper, jacks, ladyfish, snook and mangrove snapper. I really wanted to head outside for the spanish mackerel but appeared to be bumpy with 2-4's. The crossroads area was loaded with big ladyfish and a few bluefish mixed in. 

Next we headed up the St. Lucie fishing around Hell's Gate for a while hoping to run into a few pompano and mackerel but no takers. More jacks and ladyfish. After a few drifts we fished the dime bridge for a half hour. Ed landed a nice four lb black drum along with several undersized mangrove snappers. By this time we had a few more hours of incoming tide left so we motored over to the Stuart Causeway to check out the pompano action. Boats were spread out around the bridge and even more boats in the Sailfish Flats. Drifting south to north under the bridge we hooked up on several pompano to 14 inches and lots of leaping ladys. We were casting yellow and white Capt. Joe's pompano jigs. Nearing high tide around 11:30 with the current slacking we called it a day.  

Stuart Florida Fishing Report: 01-26-11 - Fishing has been picking up in the St. Lucie Inlet lately. We are seeing an increase of pompano and sheephead on the incoming tide. The water temps have heated up a bit which seems to push the bluefish out. Back in December with several cold fronts hitting our area the water temps were upper 50's to mid 60's which is ideal for the bluefish. The only problem is when the water is this cold, sometimes all you see is bluefish, bluefish and more bluefish. Now with 70 degree water the pompano are moving in. Early incoming I like to start just inside the jetty rocks and drift about even with the hole in the wall. As the clean, warmer water reaches the crossroads and heads north up the Indian River, thats where you want to be. By the 3rd hour of incoming, the south end of the sailfish flats cleans up and with the cleaner water come the pompano. Late incoming (4th hour to high tide) the Stuart Causeway is a good bet bouncing pompano jigs.

Outside along the beach the mackerel bite is still on. Just look for the boats south of the inlet and you are in the zone. Many days the bite starts after 10am. The usual flashy lures like minnow jigs, Joe's jigging spoons, clark spoons and tube lures work. When the bite is slow try trollrites tipped with shrimp. You will increase bycatch with bluerunners and snappers along with some mackerel.

Up the St. Lucie, Hell's Gate area has been hot and cold with some large mackerel over 3 pounds and a few pompano mixed in. The dime bridge is still holding some black drum to 6 pounds and a few croaker. I have noticed an increase of pinfish around the bridge which I have not seen in the past.

North of the Jensen Causeway in the Indian River, trout, ladyfish, pompano can be found in 3-4 feet on the west side along with some flounder on the channel edge. I have heard reports of redfish north of the powerlines on the east side but have not fished there myself.
STUART FLORIDA FISHING CHARTERS

January 2011 -
The past few weeks along the Treasure Coast we have been dealing with some wacky weather to say the least. Several cold fronts have pushed through the area dropping the water temps into the mid 50's around the Indian and St. Lucie Rivers. Some species don't really mind including trout, bluefish and others but it does tend to slow the bite down for others including snook and pompano. In the inlet area on incoming tide the surface temps have been as high as 75 degrees but the water below is still cold.

Outside there are plenty of spanish mackerel south at Peck's Lake. It looks like the weather next week is warming up and we are back into the 70's which should increase the pompano bite inside. I've heard reports of good pompano fishing in the surf but have not seen much to talk about inside.

Lately aboard Catch 22, we have seen plenty of bluefish scattered in the inlet, in the Hell's Gate area of the St. Lucie and in the grassflats of the Indian River. The blues are running 2 to 3 pounds and lot's of rod bending fun on 10 lb test. Also in the inlet have been a few spanish mackerel up to 3 lbs, some sheephead, jacks, ladyfish, mangrove snapper, and black drum.

Both incoming and outgoing tides have been producing but we have seen more bluefish on outgoing where the water is colder.

Around the bridges, black drum to 5 pounds along with mangrove snapper, croaker and a few small goliath grouper under 6 pounds. The Jensen bridge has been holding some large whiteing.

Happy New Year!!!!


December 2010
- As we head into December, our winter species of Spanish Mackerel, pompano and bluefish increase in numbers. I covered spanish mackerel on my last report so let's talk about pompano and bluefish.

The bluefish bite normally starts in the surf during the mullet run in late September and October and ends in mid April where we normally see the largest blues being caught. You will see a number of species targeting mullet schools as they head south along the beach. As far as surf fishing goes, cutbaits like mackerel, mullet and squid all work great for the bluefish. Stay close to shore in the first trough no more than 30 feet from shore. Surf conditions will dictate how much weight to use. On calm days, two ounces will do. Another option is casting silver spoons at them which is always fun. Inshore bluefish begins to pick up by mid November as temps start cooling down. Casting spoons and shrimp tipped jigs will produce well.


Pompano fishing starts around the same time. Most common surf tactic is casting triple pompano rigs with sand fleas as far out as possible trying to stay away from the bluefish close to shore. Inshore on the bridges, bullethead nylure jigs, bannana jigs and Capt.Joes pompano lures work well. Pompano regulations are 6 per person, 11" to the fork with one over 20 inches.

On a recent charter, I fished with locals Debra Olsczeski, Cheri Mongomery and Ed Palino. We spent most of the trip fishing the St. Lucie Inlet and up the St. Lucie River to the ten cent bridge on an incoming tide. In the inlet a mixed bag of mangrove snapper to 13", sheephead to 15", two slot sized redfish of 24 and 27 inches, mackerel to 3 pounds and assorted rod benders like jacks,bluefish, ladyfish and bluerunners. We hooked several snook in the inlet earlier in the week but no takers on this trip. We were drifting a combination of live shrimp on trollrites, Joe's jigging spoons and brown DOA shrimp. We stayed in the inlet for a while catching the second and third hours of incoming.

When the fishing started to taper off I ran up the St. Lucie River fishing some of my favorite spots. Several decent sized jacks along with a few black drum to four pounds sure made Ed's day!!! A great trip with lots of bend rods.



November 2010
- STUART FLORIDA FISHING REPORT - November is a special month for anglers along the Treasure Coast bringing several changes in our area. The water temps slowly begin to drop into the mid 70's. Also the mullet run which began in September comes to an end. This time of year we begin to see an increase in our winter and spring species of spanish mackerel, pompano and bluefish.

Spanish Mackerel are always a blast on light tackle. Last season, we had severel mackerel trips resulting in over 100 fish caught.I fish 10 lb test but you can go as light as 2lb.Normally I use a 30 lb mono leader starting about 3 feet in length. After each fish, check your leader as mackerel will fray them. Cut off an inch or two and retie. This long leader will allow you to hook more fish before replacing it. When the macs are really thick, I will switch over to about 8" # 3 wire. There are several areas inshore that seem to hold more fish, but without a doubt the main concentration will be found outside along the beaches out to about 30 feet of water. Normally the motherload will be found around Peck's Lake which is located about 2 miles south of the St. Lucie Inlet. Some days this area will hold fish as close as 10 feet from shore. There is a shallow reef that runs north to south about 200 yards out from the beach in about 6-8 feet of water. Be aware of this area. Even on calm days this reef can create swells that are capable of flipping boats over. Seems every year a few boats will fall victim. If you are fishing on or just inside (west) of the reef, avoid sitting sideways (north-south). I normally will stay away either fishing outside (east) of the reef in 18 to 25 feet or close to shore. Mackerel will hit a variety of baits. Anything shinny will work. Silver spoons, flashy minnow jigs, Capt. Joe's Jigging Spoons along with tube lures and shrimp tipped jigs. If you decide to anchor up, bring along a box of silver sides or glass minnow chum. Toss small amounts every couple of minutes to get their attention and cast and retrive through the area. When trolling, I suggest staying outside the reef in 20 - 30 feet where there is less boat traffic. Spanish Mackerel regulations are 15 per person with a 12 inch min.They normally run between 1 to 3lbs but some can go as heavy as 5 to 7 lbs. Mackerel are great fresh or smoked. If you decide to smoke them, simply fillet and leave the skin on. They are a soft fish and the skin holds the fillets intact while smoking. We have a local smokehouse in Rio who does a great job if you decide to have your catch smoked. Try Mrs. Peters Smokehouse at (772) 334-2184. For fresh mackerel, I like to skin them and cut the bloodlines out. Mackerel do not freeze very well so I suggest clean what you will eat in a day or two and smoke the rest.

Pompano and bluefish can be found both along the surf and inside the Indian and St. Lucie Rivers. My next report will cover these species in depth.

July 2010 - I recently had the pleasure to take the Parrish Family out fishing for a 3/4 day trip inshore trip. We started off heading south to the St. Lucie Inlet fishing the outgoing tide. After an assortment of snapper, ladyfish, black margates ect, Ryne Parish caught and safely released a nice 37" snook. Moving over to the ten cent bridge, Lezli landed a nice black drum along with her mom Sandra's snook. Also at the dime bridge were some small mangrove snapper and croakers. We did hook into a large jack crevelle which broke us off on the structure. 

Moving up north on the Indian River, Ryne caught his first ever tripletail, a nice ten pounder while fishing channel markers and crabtrap floats. All fish today were caught on ten pound test line while fishing a mixture of live and frozen shrimp along with live pinfish.

Fishing Reports

June 2010 - Stuart, Florida Fishing Report. No doubt we are into the summer mode. Water temps in the Indian River are up to 86 degrees. For all you shallow water fans, you need to start early before the sun rises. 4 AM is a great departure time for fishing the shallow grassflats. Look for spotted sea trout, snook, redfish, jacks, ladyfish and still a few stray pompano. Top water plugs, soft rubber and live shrimp all work great. Also take advantage of shadow lines around area bridges and lighted docks.


Summertime also allows small boats to head outside with normally flat sea conditions. I like to run along the shoreline looking for monster jacks, tarpon and cobia. We have seen a big increase the past few weeks in baitfish along the Treasure Coast which in turn will draw in the larger fish. Also I like to run outside to the sandpile livebaiting for barracuda, bonita, kingfish, cobia and snapper.

Stuart, Florida Fishing Repor

On my most recent trip I had the pleasure to fish with locals Ed Delani and friends. With an outgoing tide and a stiff east wind, I elected to run north on the Indian River towards the power plant. I try to avoid wind against current as much as possible. This condition will slow your drift down to almost zero and makes it difficult to get your baits down to the bottom. This trip we had a mixture of ladyfish, spanish mackerel, flounder, jack crevelles, sheephead and tripletail.

A bit earlier I again had the pleasure to fish with the Hess Family. While drifting the St. Lucie Inlet we managed a mixed bag of black margates, 4 pompano, jacks, snook, bluefish, spanish mackerel, and snapper.That morning I noticed about 20 boats off Rocky Point in the St. Lucie Inlet jigging for live baits (greenies). This normally happens each year lasting about a week or so but is always a welcome sight.



May 2010 -
The inshore fishing in our area has been pretty decent lately despite increased water releases from Lake Okeechobee. We are still hooking some stray pompano, blues and Spanish Mackerel. In the St. Lucie River from the 10 cent bridge to the inlet, focus on incoming tide where water will be much cleaner compared to outgoing. There is an increase of baitfish in the Indian River north of the Jensen Beach Causeway which is always a welcome sight. The west side of the river starting around Walton Road north to Fort Pierce is a great place to fish early in 2-3 feet for a mixture of ladyfish, jacks, snook and trout. Topwater near the docks along Indian River Drive till about 9:00am then drop off to 3-4 feet after that. The water temps are on the rise running around 83 degrees.

With the increase of baitfish around, it's also a great time to run along the beach with large jacks, sharks,permit and tarpon cruising the area. I believe this is the first year I did not fish Peck's Lake for the annual Mack Attack. It seemed this season either the wind was cranking 25mph or the water was too cold pushing the mackerel south towards Jupiter. 

Last week I had locals Les Applegate and Don Cook aboard fishing the St. Lucie around Hell's Gate to the 10 cent bridge with a mix of pompano to 3 lbs, croaker, ladyfish, jacks, mangrove snapper and a nice 7 lb trippletail. Fish were caught on shrimp and trollrites along with Capt. Joes "The Jig".

A few days later Henry Abbott and family from Silver Lake, Wis. teamed up for a mix of mangrove snapper, jacks, ladyfish, trout and a very nice 16.3 lb trippletail. Fishing 10 lb test line this fish made several runs to 100 yards before tiring out. Awesome job from Henry who by the way caught 2 tripletail on his last trip aboard Catch 22.

Yesterday, I took my wife and friend Charlie Fabiano out for a little inshore action. We departed around 9:30 am fishing both the St. Lucie and Indian Rivers. Our goal was to catch dinner. My wife is the ultimate "meat monger". If it's not edible, she's upset so we targeted tripletail again. Fishing structures and crab trap floats we ended the day with a 3 pound pompano, 2 trout, jacks and mangrove snapper, a 3 foot black tip shark but what really made the meat monger's day was this



Cheryl Bushholz

18.5 tripletail caught on a live shrimp and trollrite jig. Fishing 10 lb test this fight lasted the better part of 20 minutes. Great catch, great dinner and a happy meat monger !!!!!


March 2010 - The past few months have been the coldest weather for the longest period of time that I can remember. Early in the year we had morning temps around freezing for several days which dropped the water in the Indian River to a frigid 48 degrees resulting in a major fishkill in our area. Snook seemed to get hit the hardest who require 57 degrees or more just to survive. This event forced the snook season to be postponed which would normally open February 1st and set it back to September 1st. The water temps are beginning to creep back up to normal which is a welcome sight for myself and most anglers. When the water drops below 60, it not only makes fish sluggish but we seem to get invaded with a motherload of bluefish who really don't care how cold it gets. This year I had several charters with bluefish totals over 100 for half day trips. I like the non-stop action but I also like to see variety. When the blues dominate, they seem to drive away the pompano both in the river and along the beach. With things warming up, look for an increase in the pompano action.


Another species that will pick up is the Spanish Mackerel. Normally I run several trips this time of year along the beach southward towards Peck's Lake for the annual "MAC ATTACK". This year the hi-seas have prevented us from heading out on the ocean. Another factor is the cold water. Mackerel will head south towards the Jupiter Inlet searching for warmer water. The weather now is starting to level. Yesterday it reached 80 and I'm really looking forward to the remainder of the pompano and mackerel run that normally tapers off in late April. This is also the time of year I begin my assault on on of my favorites "TRIPLETAIL".

I would like to congratulate 9 year old Hayden Fiske from Port St. Lucie with his very first sheepshead while his sister Kaitlyn watches on in horror!!!


I recently chartered locals Ed Delany and friends. These guys fish with me several times a year and always have a fun time with these guys. The weather was cold and windy but we managed some decent action with bluefish, sheepshead, black drum, and plenty of leaping ladyfish. Here is Ed Delany with one of several bluefish caught that day.

The blues were scattered in the St. Lucie Inlet and up the river towards Hell's Gate. Most Blues were running 2-3 lbs.

Here is Jeff Baker with a 4lb Black Drum caught up in the St. Lucie River. No, we are not fishing in Alaska, this is sunny Florida!!!

Here is Ed with a 5lb Black Drum caught under the 10 cent bridge. Normally we see more croaker and snook mixed in but cold water has a sluggish effect on many species.

Back to the floating dock at Four Fish Marina (HOME OF CATCH 22 FISHING CHARTERS). Left to right, Jeff Baker, Ed Delany, David Anderson and Stev


December 2009 - The winter bite is on with more pompano, bluefish and Spanish Mackerel scattered in both the Indian and St. Lucie Rivers. Pompano up to 3 pounds are being caught bouncing skimmer jigs tipped with shrimp along the bottom near the Stuart Causeway and in the crossroads area of the St. Lucie Inlet. No big numbers yet but some nice size pompano. Also some pompano off the mosquito bridge on the Jensen Beach Causeway mainly on outgoing tide. The bluefish and mackerel have been hanging out in the inlet eating shrimp on trollrites. Outside at Pecks Lake the mackerel will be there till the end of March or early April. An occasional cold front can drive the mackerel south towards the Jupiter Inlet where the water is a degree or two warmer but return shortly after.

As always I look forward to running as many mackerel trips as I can down to Peck's Lake in 2010. It's normally nonstop action and fishing 10 lb test it's a blast!! The only issue would be sea conditions.

 


Ed Palino from Port St. Lucie, FL with a few black drum to 6 pounds caught on a recent trip aboard Catch 22

The bridges have been offering a combination of snook (catch and release) till February 1st along with snapper, sheepshead, black drum, croaker and flounder. There have been more sheepshead around the Stuart Causeway while the 10 cent bridge had been holding more croaker and black drum.

North of the Jensen Beach Causeway, in the grassflats the trout bite remains strong (catch and release till the new year) with jacks, ladyfish and a few snook bending the rods. Scattered tripletail , flounder and sheepshead near structure on the bottom.

September 1st 2009 - Sunday morning I was greeted by the Hess family living locally here on the Treasure Coast along with their son and grandson visiting from up north. We headed south to the St. Lucie Inlet to catch the second hour of outgoing tide. The water was quite dark from recent rains and water releases but was moving at a good clip. Drifting the south side jigging live shrimp on trollrites we began catching an assortment of fish including jacks, ladyfish, mangrove and mutton snappers, sheepshead and pompano. Guess the pompano have become annual residents this year. I heard reports last week of large numbers of pompano being caught on the Jensen Beach Causeway. Normally they fizzle out around June when the water starts to heat up but I'm not complaining one bit. Onboard was the family's five year old grandson named C.J.and his dad down from Providence, Rhode Island visiting his grandparents before starting kindergarden next week.

The first snook was Grandpa's, a nice 37 incher that took about fifteen minutes to land. Next, young C.J.'S reel started to scream (so did C.J.) as he hooked into a big one.



Fishing Report
Pumping and reeling like and old pro, the fish broke water and saw it was a big snook. Ten minutes later, C.J. was posing for pictures with the biggest fish of his life, a beautiful 32 inch snook. All fish that day were caught on ten pound test line which is an accomplishment in itself but my hat goes off to C.J. who at the age of five is the youngest angler to land a snook over 30 inches in my fifteen year running Catch 22. Later we ran north up the Indian River fishing around the Stuart Causeway playing with some jacks and ladyfish. A great day on the water and I just might have fished with the next Bill Dance. c.J., you ARE the man !!!

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