January 17, 2008
As another front has come whisking through the Treasure Coast, it's the first week in a long time that I haven't been on the water. Catching up on a few things around the house and anxiously waiting for my Mother and Brother to arrive from West Virginia.....yep, I'm a hillbilly from long ago! Let's take a few minutes and look ahead at what will be happening around the Indian River for February.
Snook season will once again open on the Atlantic Coast and anglers will be out there seeking the slot size fish around the river. It might just be a good time to check the dates on your snook permit. Fishing around the bridges in both Fort Pierce and Stuart will be a good bet on a hookup. The turning basin around the Fort Pierce inlet will also be holding snook along the seawalls. Don't forget to fish some of the deeper docks around the area. Live bait, feather jigs and DOA Terroreyz are good choices to entice a snook to bite.
Redfish have been a bit scattered as the water turns cooler. They will be hanging on the edges of the flats and moving up into the shallows on sunny days to keep warm. Try some darker color jerk baits like the DOA CAL rootbeer 6" on a CAL jighead. Fish around the deeper mangroves for a chance at a slot size redfish in February. Work your lures slow....slow....slow... Try cut bait or live pinfish on the deeper areas of the flats. You can catch a red during the middle of the day on the flats during winter. Patience and persistence sometimes pays off out there.
Trout should be the most prevalent bite in February. Find some good grass flats in 2 - 5 feet of water and use live shrimp on popping corks. Harbor Branch and Queen's Cove are good areas north of Fort Pierce and the Power Plant to the south also can provide some good action. Jerk baits are good artificials along with shallow running MirroLures.
If you plan on fishing the jetties or bridges, look for croakers, sheephead and black drum to be hanging around the catwalks. Bluefish, mackerel and jacks will usually be crashing bait around the jetties. Winter conditions can be challenging some days so plan your day around the weather. It can be gusty most days, but there are many places to fish depending on the direction of the wind.
The SURF will continue to hold whiting and some pompano. The pomp bite has been better this year, Use shrimp or sand fleas along the beach for these fish. Silver spoons or shiny lures can coax a bluefish, mackerel or jack to bite. It can get tough to fish on the easterly blow in winter, so watch the weather before heading out.
Tip of the Week: Water temperature varies throughout the river and can affect the fishing. The warmer the water in winter, the more chance you have at catching fish. Deeper water will be the best bet in early mornings and on sunny days the flats can come alive as those temperatures begin to rise. Watch for bait.... Fish will follow the bait and you will have an even better chance at hooking up. There are a lot of variables out there this time of year. Be aware of conditions and use them to your advantage in winter.
As always, remember, fishing is not just another hobby....it's an ADVENTURE!!
Good Fishing and Be Safe,
Captain Charlie Conner www.fishtalescharter.com