Cannot believe it's December already. The inland waters have really cleaned up nicely with green water west of the ten cent bridge. Water temps remain in the low 70's and with a cold front or two should drop it down into the 60's. Trout season remains closed till the new year and snook closes December 15th - January 31st. Pompano remains 11 inch min to the fork , 6 per person. Finally Spanish Mackerel are 12 inches to the fork and 15 per person. All bait shops carry some form of regulations. It's important knowing what is legal to keep not only to ensure future fish populations but will also avoid stiff fines handed down to you.
Starting north on the Indian River around the power plant, look for trout, redfish, snook, up tight near the shoreline in the early morning. This is a great time to break out those topwater plugs. Both sides of the river will hold fish. When the wind blows, fishing the calm side normally holds more baitfish and more trout. However if you target snook, try fishing the choppy side throwing a half ounce redtail hawk working it fast. After 9:00 am fish the 3-4 foot zone as these fish will drop back to deeper water. DOA and Gulp, live shrimp, gold spoons work great. Also look for other species to appear including ladyfish, pompano, bluefish, flounder, jacks and a host of others. Remember when the temperatures drop, some species become sluggish so slow down your presentation!!!
Area bridges hold snook, black drum, mangrove snapper, sheephead and goliath grouper down deep. Live or frozen shrimp, live pinfish and bullethead jigs work great. Most snook have vacated the inlet by now holding near structure. Great time for flair hawks at night targeting thses linesiders on the Indian River bridges. In the St. Lucie I like to mix it up with DOA rootbeer terrorize or jointed bombers. Pompano fever begins lasting into late March. With the new quarter bridge unfishable, landlocked anglers head to the Jensen Causeway throwing nylure jigs, bannana jigs and sand fleas. Normally the last 3 hours of incoming tide is best with cleaner water around. Both catwalks and the smaller mosquito bridge just east attracts the "pompano brigade" in the winter.
We spend lot's of time in the winter and spring in the Sailfish Flats near the House of Refuge. This area can hold tons of leaping ladyfish along with pompano and bluefish in the open areas. This is a great place to fish when the wind blows. Closer to the spoil islands in the shallow flats, snook, trout and redfish are a possibility. Numerous docks along the east shoreline hold snapper and sheephead. Further south, the St. Lucie Inlet is a great place to fish. Aboard Catch 22, we drift along with the swift current bouncing live shrimp, Gulfsream redfish jigs and Joe's jigging spoons along the bottom. The inlet holds so many species, you never know whats gonna hit. Many pompano fishermen will anchor up with sand flea rigs along Sailfish Point and the crossroads area on incoming tide. These pompano like clean water and incoming is always cleaner.
As you round the bend south of Sewell's Point heading up the St. Lucie river, Hell's Gate and docks also Sewell's Point deserve a look. Pompano, ladyfish and mackerel rule here in the winter. At the ten cent bridge, livebait or casting and trolling bombers will attract snook. Also some large goliath grouper are more than willing to enhale a livebait. Along the bottom with rubber or live shrimp expect black drum, snapper, weakfish, flounder and croakers. A few weeks ago we released a four pound croaker. Most drum are running about 5 pounds.
Finally, outside this is the time to start heading out to Peck's Lake for the annual Spanish Mackerel bite. Troll, anchor, or drift it doesn't matter. Popular rigs are 6-12 pound spinners throwing silver spoons, tube lures, Gulfstream flash minnows and shrimp tipped jigs. I myself prefer Joe's jigging spoons. They slow troll and cast great. The best thing is they hold up nicely to these toothy critters. We use 8 inches of # 3 wire for leader. Many boats anchor up tossing glass minnow chum. Some anglers fly fish. When the macs are running they will pound just about anything. Some days it gets quite crowded in this area so bring your patience and have fun out there!!!