Outdoors notebook

South Florida fishing report



Best bet

Mark Escobar of BJ’s Bait and Tackle in Plantation reported dropping water levels in the Everglades Conservation Areas has moved a lot of largemouth bass into the canals. Catches of more than 100 largemouth bass has not been uncommon recently. Good areas to try are Sawgrass Recreation Park, Alligator Alley and the Holy Land. Floating Rapalas and soft plastics are getting a lot of action.


Captain Mo Estevez of New Dawn Charters reported the sea trout bite has really turned on along the western shorelines of South Bay. Casting jigs tipped with soft plastics and fishing with live shrimp under a floating cork in areas that have three to six feet of water is resulting in sea trout more than 18 inches. Captain Paul Roydhouse of FishHeadquarters.com out of Fort Lauderdale reported having action from sailfish and large bull dolphins along the blue-water edge in 300 feet of water offshore of Port Everglades. The dolphins and sailfish have been eating live goggle eye jacks and mullet. Paul Ripa of Rippy’s Bait & Tackle in North Miami Beach reported pier fishermen from the Newport Fishing Pier reported having steady action from Spanish mackerel. Most of the mackerel were caught on jigs and live shrimp.


Captain Chris Johnson on the charter boat SeaSquared out of Marathon reported having plenty of action from mangrove snappers, bluefish and Spanish mackerel. Most of the action is taking place on the Gulf side of the Keys. During the 50th Annual Islamorada Sailfish Tournament, the 4 Aces team set a record and took first place by catching and releasing 34 of the 330 sailfish caught during the three-day event. Captain John Dudas of Miami guided anglers Peter and Christian Adrian of Miami to the win. Jeffery Liederman of Key Biscayne and Robbie Ramirez of Miami were crewmates. Captain Nick Stanczyk of Bud N Mary’s Marina reported besides the great offshore sailfish bite taking place offshore of Islamorada, there are plenty of blackfin tuna available on the surface. Plenty of yellowtail and a few mutton and mangrove snapper plus some nice groupers are being caught on the reef. Deep dropping has been good for queen snapper and swordfish.

Treasure coast

Captain Charlie Conner of FishTales Charters out of Port St. Lucie reported sea trout fishing has slowed a bit over the grass flats but plenty of sheepshead and black drum were biting around the bridges, docks and structure in the St Lucie River. Redfish are being caught next to the dock pilings. Pompano and whiting are being caught in the surf and the inlets seem to be full of jacks, ladyfish and some decent-sized flounder. Snook season on the Atlantic coast closes Dec.15.

Florida Bay

Captain Nestor Alvisa of Hooked on Flamingo Charters reported finding plenty of spooky redfish on the most shallow of the grass flats in Florida Bay. These redfish would eat white soft plastic jerk baits. There has been a few snook, redfish, sheepshead, black drum and snappers in the Florida Bay channels as well as up close to many of the outside Island shorelines. Sea trout are available in the channels and grass flats around Conchie Channel.

Southwest Coast

Captain Terry Pitz fishing Southwest Florida Charters out of Pine Island Sound reported the snook fishing has been excellent for catch and release in his area. Fishing the back bays and flats with white bait and cut ladyfish on a good tide has resulted in some large snook catches. Redfish have been tailing along the oyster reefs and sand bars and when the tide is moving, these reds will eat live shiners, shrimp and jigs. Sea trout have been easy to catch and a few cobia, tripletail, Spanish mackerel and pompano have made it into the back bays as well.


Captain Michael Shellen of Shellen Guide Service out of Buck Head Ridge on Lake Okeechobee reported flipping and pitching weighted baits into the thick cover of Lake Okeechobee is how Illinois angler Chad Morganthaler caught 64 pounds of largemouth bass during the three-day Last Chance event that gave him the “Golden Ticket” to a spot in the upcoming Bass Master Classic. Speckled perch fishing has turned on in the mouth of the Kissimmee River at night and in the grass areas around the islands during the day. Live minnows and jigs is what the specks are eating.

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  • Fishing report

    Captain Glyn Austin of Going Coastal Fishing Charters out of Sebastian reported that catch-and-release fishing for snook with live baits and artificial lures day and night has been outstanding in and around the Sebastian Inlet all the way north to the Patrick Air Force Base. Redfish and a few permits are biting in the Sebastian Inlet and are being caught on small blue crabs. Along the beaches, tarpon, bonito, jacks and sharks can be targeted all the way to Port Canaveral. These fish have been feeding along the big baitfish schools. Offshore reef fishing has been good for cobias and mangrove snappers up to 12 pounds.

A large Goliath grouper nestled into the Bonaire shipwreck off Jupiter.


    Outdoors feature: Goliath groupers make recovery but harvest remains on hold

    Dropping into the roiled, murky waters 60 feet deep off Jupiter Inlet on Monday, I heard the annual spawning aggregation of Goliath groupers before I actually saw it. Below me, I could barely make out the wreck of the MG 111 or the mottled, gentle giants that show up each year between late July and mid-October to keep their species going. But the Goliaths already had seen our group of divers and weren’t too happy about our visit. They emitted loud, bass booming noises that sound a little like gun reports – probably to alert each other and to warn us not to get too cozy.

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Under the sea:</span> The ferro cement sailboat Usikusiku sits 75 feet deep on the ocean floor after being deployed Tuesday as an artificial reef off Hollywood. It already is attracting marine life.


    Sailboat finds new life in final resting place

    The 43-foot ferro cement sailboat doesn’t look very impressive sitting on the ocean floor about 75 feet deep off Hollywood. It’s plain and bare with no design flourishes.

Miami Herald

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