One of the best places to consistently find fish in the Indian River Lagoon and St. Lucie River is the bridges. Bridges are ideal places for concentrations of fish and usually have the largest snook and tarpon hanging around. The water is deeper, there are ambush points around the bridge abutments, water is funneled through small areas, and baitfish are concentrated there.
You need to have current and know the tides. As long as the water’s moving, the action will be better. You need to know the water depth and structures and fish the shadow lines. Bridges are also some of the top night fishing spots, and shadow lines result from the lights over the bridge.
Fishing under bridges is easy because you can fish from the shore, wade or fish from a boat. Every way works. There are different techniques for bridge fishing. I use different lures, the main ones are topwaters, Yo-Zuri crankbaits, CAL jigs with a 4” paddletail, and TerrorEyz.
With the CAL jigs and TerrorEyz, you want to cast to the abutments and let the jig fall near the bottom and jerk it up. I like the 4” Yo-Zuri minnow crankbaits, which you crank down and then use as a jerkbait. I use 6- to 8-lb. white braid with a 2-foot, clear, 20-lb. leader. If you’re fishing for big fish, you might want to bump it up to 20-lb. braid with 40-lb. leader. A great technique for giant snook is using heavy 1- to 2-oz. Redtail Hawk jigs at night. Fishing at night is awesome, and it’s cool in the summer.
St. Lucie River Bridges
The three top St. Lucie River bridges are Roosevelt Bridge, Palm City Bridge, Evans Crary Bridge (Sewall’s Point Bridge or Ten Cent Bridge). The Roosevelt Bridge is known for giant snook and the monsters of the deep—Goliath grouper. Fish the south end of the bridge, which gets very shallow around the concrete abutments the farther south you go. The seawall around the marina is also good, and the seawall that stretches under the railroad bridge is excellent. I’ve caught many snook in that area using topwater lures. Both the Palm City Bridge and the Ten-Cent Bridge can be excellent. I like the south side of the Ten-Cent around the large abutments. That’s one of local legend Jim Harter’s favorite spots.
The north bridge (Jensen Bridge) is awesome and can be waded around as well as fished under from the shore or from a boat. I like fishing under the east section on the north side. Recently, I caught 10 jacks, three mangrove snapper, a mackerel and a snook there in about an hour around 10 a.m. using a 4” Yo-Zuki minnow.
The south Stuart bridge is my favorite. I like wading the sandy shallow area on the north side and fishing under the east span. Recently I caught eight snook there on an evening-night trip.
Richard is staff writer for the Stuart Rod and Reel Club. For information on the club, call 336-414-3440.