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10/5/04 12:22 PM
Stuart, Florida Inshore Report: 10-05-04 [Post#: 1749 ] Reply to this post

October is here bringing along a few changes, both in weather and fishing possibilities. The St. Lucie River, Indian River Lagoon and coastal waters have taken a beating since early September in water quality due to the Hurricanes. I will be fishing deep as possible to find the salinity in the water. I just launched my boat yesterday and will be docking at Pelican’s Nest Marina on SR 707 in Rio until my home marina ( AA marina) is back and running which may take several months. The first hurricane (Frances) launched a palm tree across the bow of my boat taking out the port side railing. I consider myself lucky because when the tree came down, it landed on a seat support which actually held the tree up from doing more damage.

On to fishing----Starting in the River, mullet will still be around, bringing with them predators of all species. Redfish, trout, snook, jacks and tarpon will be having a field day on huge schools of baitfish. Normally we see an increase this time of year with northeast winds driving the majority of baitfish to the calmer east side of the Indian River. Look for large bait schools and cast just outside of the schools throwing your favorite lure or live bait. Lures should “match the hatch”. Black and silver is the color of choice. DOA baitbusters and swimming mullet, Yozuri crystal minnows, and Gag’s Mini Mambos are a few that deserve mentioning. If fishing with live mullet, try trimming ½” off the tail with a pair of scissors which forces the mullet to swim erratically, thus drawing more attention as a wounded bait rather than just blending in with the school. When wading or fishing open areas the best tackle is a 12-lb. mainline with a 2’ 40-lb. fluoro-carbon leader with live bait and a circle hook. Apply the hook near the top dorsal for topwater or hook them in the tail, which forces them to swim deep and away from the angler. Circle hooks work great as long as you remember not to attempt to set the hook. Simply reel slowly to allow a perfect hook-up.

Area bridges will hold big snook, so beef it up to 20-50 lb. mainline with 80 lb. leader. These fish need to be turned quickly to avoid those guaranteed break-offs when they head for structure. Pompano should be showing up in the grass flats and near bridges. In the flats, Gulfstream shrimp or redfish jigs tipped with a small piece of shrimp work well, bouncing or dragging along the bottom. South of the Stuart Causeway the last three hours of incoming tide is the best. Pompano like clean water and that’s where they will be found. From bridges nothing beats a nylure jig. Just vertical jig it with a slow retrieve bouncing on the bottom. Where there are crowds of anglers bunched up on the southwest side of the Quarter Bridge, it’s a sure bet the pompano are in and biting. The tripletail action slows down on channel markers until spring, but look for an increase in sheephead and flounder.

In the surf, bluefish and Spanish mackerel can be caught casting silver spoons or bottom fishing with cut bait. Whiting and croaker are at your toes in the first trough and respond well to light tackle using shrimp or squid. Break out the 14’ rods, long-casting for pompano. Sandfleas on triple kayle rigs work best. Remember, two rods per person in Martin County is the limit. St. Lucie County north allows a 4-rod max. There will still be mullet cruising along shore, so look for tarpon and snook to be in hot pursuit. When you see the mullet school, cast out diagonally, working the first trough area. The results can be some rod-bending excitement.

Offshore, the sailfish bite should be good with plenty of large residents still around and hitting on live greenies and sardines. Kingfish and cobia should appear in around 40’ with wahoo and dolphin a good possibility chasing trolled ballyhoo. In closer near Peck’s Lake (2 miles south of St. Lucie Inlet), look for Spanish mackerel. Silver spoons, glass minnow lures and tube lures always seem to attract their attention. Of course they won’t turn down a shrimp tipped jig either. If it shines, they’ll hit it. Line weight max should be 12 lb., with a 30 lb. mono leader produces lots of action, but expect to lose a few rigs to those toothy critters. You can also try an 8” thin steel leader which minimizes cutoffs, but the visibility of the leader also minimizes the hookups.

Looking back over the past few years, our water quality has bounced back around this time, but we also weren’t faced with the major fresh water releases that began in early October. Hopefully history will repeat itself and Mother Nature gets a chance to recover. If left alone she always seems to rebound. Our ecosystem each year is stressed to the max with the water releases. I hope everyone faired well during the storms and looking forward to getting things back to normal again.

Capt. Bob Bushholz

(772) 225-6436

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