It’s time to re-word the old saying about March. Let’s try, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a wind machine in late April.”
Seriously, Space Coast anglers actually were able to get in some pretty good fishing days in March, but April has been a little cooler — which we’ll take — but windier than anyone likes, impacting trips negatively. For instance, bluewater anglers and surf fishers are both going to be disappointed because this weekend it looks like both fishing sectors are pretty much a blowout.
Anyone wishing to wet a line will be best served to fish inshore in canals, around mangroves, along the eastern side of the lagoons — anything to stay out of the winds which will mostly be from the northeast and east.
Mystery fish:Florida visitor from UK wanted to catch a shark. Instead he caught something amazing
Big blow:East winds will make for rough waters; Redfish & black drum are biting inshore
New cobia regs:Do you like catching cobia? FWC considers clampdown to protect the overfished species
Closures & regulations changes in effect: Anglers are reminded about these fishery harvest closures currently underway and ones about to begin and end.
- Dolphin: New fishing regulations begin May 1 for state waters. Bag limit will change from 10 fish per day to 5 fish per day; Vessel limit will go from 60 fish per day to 30 fish per day. Captain & crew may not be included in limit.
- Lobster: Lobster season closed April 1. Mini-season is July 27-28. Regular season reopens Aug. 6.
- Grouper: Shallow water grouper season will be open May 1 through Dec. 31. That includes gag grouper, red grouper, scamp and six other lesser species.
- Hogfish: No harvest of hogfish is allowed in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida from Nov. 1 through April 30, 2022. Harvest re-opens May 1, 2022.
- Red snapper: No harvest allowed, unless a fishing season is granted in July. An announcement is expected in May.
For complete fishing regulations in Florida go to MyFWC.com.
Fish the eastern shoreline or on the western sides of the islands to find bites from trout, black drum and redfish. A few snook have been caught. Easterly winds may blow more water out of the lagoon, too, so expect spots to be very shallow.
Kingfish, mahi mahi, blackfin tuna, snapper and cobia can be caught offshore, but not until the winds subside. Bluewater anglers running across the Gulf Stream have found dolphin, but tuna seem to be elusive.
Beachcasters should organize their tackle the next few days. When the winds let up, there should be good fishing for whiting and croaker.
Winds will make it nearly impossible to fish the inlet east of the A1A bridge and it will be downright treacherous for boaters so avoid it at all costs. Remain west of the bridge to avoid capsizing, especially during outgoing tides. Once the winds die down, there have been opportunities to sight-cast cobia along the beaches, according to Capt. Glyn Austin of Going Coastal charters in Palm Bay.
Indian River Lagoon
Snook can be caught when it gets windy. Look for fish to be around all kinds of structure including seawalls, rocky shorelines, bridges, docks and around mangroves. Snook will be facing into the current, so if there is wind-driven water moving around a point with an oyster bar on it, expect the snook to be lying behind it. Bring a shrimp or a mullet-patterned lure around the edge and get ready for the strike. Speckled trout will be in 2-4 feet of water, but live bait, dead bait and noise-making lures will be the best choices since the fish probably won’t be sight-feeding.
Anglers fishing at Headwaters Lake are scoring memorable catches. Using wild shiners, anglers have been hauling in 8 and 9-pounders which are fattening up for the spring spawn. Use spinnerbaits and topwater frogs along the edges to get bites from some of the fish which are still on the beds. Speckled perch are taking live minnows in all area waterways.