Capt. Bob Bushholz
January 17, 2013
Stuart - Saltwater Fishing Report
Outside south along the beaches look for Spanish Mackerel with a mixture of blue runners, spots, and even some sheepshead just outside the reef in 14 feet. Closer to the shoreline, pompano and bluefish along with the macs. We have been mixing it up with frozen shrimp on trollrites along with Capt. Joe's flash and dance green mackerel jigs. I suggest removing the shrimps head and threading it up the shank just like a worm. We use 2/0 1/4oz long shank trollrites with 30 lb leader. Starting out with a 2 foot leader works best. As you catch your macs, check the leader just above the hook and retie if needed. This saves both time and tackle. When the macs are really thick, I will switch over to a #3 wire leader no longer than 8 inches. Most macs outside have been running 2-3 pounds. The largest ones so far have been in the St. Lucie River near Hell's Gate. Here schools are running up to 6 1/2 pounds.
Inside the inlet has been a crap-shoot with a few snook on the south side but areas that normally hold some nice sheepshead have been slow. The crossroads have a mix of ladyfish, jacks and blue runners with scattered pompano and bonefish. The most productive area last week for pompano has been the Sailfish Flats. Yesterday we landed 5 all keepers with one just under four pounds. Casting downwind while bouncing Joe's pompano jigs in yellow/white has worked best. Plenty of rod-benders here also with small jacks, blue runners and leaping ladyfish. Till last week it was mostly jacks in the flats but the ladyfish have really picked up.
On the east shoreline look for redfish on shrimp or gold spoons. Trout have been deeper in 3-5 feet and on both shorelines. Have not fished any channel markers lately but may try a recon trip this week. Normally we see an increase in sheepshead in the winter on the markers but with mild temps recently, flounder and tripletail are possible.
Have not fished the ten cent bridge lately but the Stuart Causeway (25 cent) bridge has a mixed bag of mangrove snapper, black drum, scattered pompano and too many ribbonfish. The clean water near high tide the past few weeks has been running close to Four Fish Marina which is great. Back in December, we never really had any clean ocean water north of bird island. So look for the quarter bridge to pick up for pompano near high tide in the near future. Also the Mosquito Bridge (small east bridge closer to Hutchinson Island) on the Jensen Causeway should start picking up for you landlocked jiggers.
Capt. Bob Bushholz
More Fishing Reports: