little snook

Topwater Tony with one of his many little snook from this trip. Tony’s only complaint was they wouldn’t eat his Skitterwalk… Thankfully, they happily smacked his Diezel Minnowz!

We are in full winter inshore fishing patterns here in Fort Pierce, as is exemplified by very low water levels and huge swings in water temps. Timing our opportunities as cold fronts approach and then pass will up our odds of catching fish rather than just fishing.

I love fishing ahead of winter cold fronts, providing the water temps are not already too cold. Tony joined me on New Year’s Day for a backwater trip. The tide had just started in as we launched the Banshee. The water temperature was a steady seventy degrees until mid-morning and gained only another degree during our outing.

Lots of juvenile snook were caught by Tony on Z-Man Diezel Minnowz as he skipped them under mangrove branches. A decent trout and a few small jacks were also boated. I’m mostly impressed by the number of short bites and missed hook-sets Tony experienced. Hindsight being what it is I think a three inch Z-Man Minnowz might have caught more fish than the four inch lure he used.

Smaller is often better in the cold water seasons and it’s also the time of year I’m happy to buy live shrimp. Sure, shrimp are good bait all year, but truly excel once the small mullet, pinfish, greenies, etc., all but disappear. In fact, from now until summer I’ll keep at least one rod rigged with a Z-Man Shrimpz rigged on a jighead or Finesse Jighead at all times.

The inlet is producing decent catches of smallish snook in the open water as well as along the rocks, seawall and south jetty. A few flounder have also been caught recently as well as fair numbers of lookdown. The mutton snapper bite was slow the past two weeks but the margates, black drum and sheepshead have more than made up for their absence.

Finally, the jetty anglers are taking a few Spanish mackerel and bluefish on spoons and Gotcha lures. So far the big schools that often use the inlet and beaches as feeding grounds haven’t shown themselves, but the spinner sharks are leaping around the mouth of the inlet which tells me there are enough of them present to draw the sharks.