Fort Pierce Inshore Fishing Report and Forecast: February 2017

Ernie Grant with a keeper snook from last season. Photo credit: Capt. Joe’s River Charters.

On February 1st, everyone will be out for the opening of snook season. And, from all the signs, it should be a good one. A good place to start snook season will be around the Fort Pierce Inlet and the local bridges.

When fishing from the bridges, I would fish a live bait, like a pinfish, pilchard or greenie, on the bottom.  Use a 5\0 live bait hook and three feet of 40-pound fluorocarbon leader and enough weight to hold the bottom. Try one hour before to one hour after the tide changes.

On the inlet, try drifting the same kind of live baits but with a bigger weight.  I would use a 6- to 8-ounce weight.  When the cold fronts drop the water temps, it is time to get out the jigs and fish places like the wall, jetty or the bridges. Color is usually the angler’s preference.  Right now my favorite is a Flair Hawk, made by Fish Whistle Jigs, with a pink head with chartreuse/white body.  Remember to fish the jigs slowly, as they say if you aren’t losing jigs you aren’t fishing them right.

Now, moving on to the other fish, croakers, sheepshead, black drum and sand perch should be all around the bridges and docks along the Intracoastal.  Try a small live shrimp or a piece of fresh dead shrimp and fish it on a #2 long shank hook and use a 1-ounce weight and 2-feet of 20-pound fluorocarbon leader.  Look for plenty of bluefish, Spanish mackerel and big jacks working the schools of bait fish as the come in the Fort Pierce Inlet.  Try fishing a Gotcha Jig, spoon or a flash jig—just about anything shiny.  Remember to use a small piece of wire on the end of your leaders to keep from getting cut off.

FORECAST BY: Capt. Joe Ward
Capt. Joe’s River Charters
(772) 201-5770 or (722) 461-1335

Capt. Joe Ward has been fishing the inshore waters of Fort Pierce for over 50 years. He provides guided fishing charters on the Indian River Lagoon in Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Jensen Beach, Port St. Lucie and Stuart, Florida. In his "spare time", Capt. Joe and his wife Cammie dedicate their time to running Capt. Joe's Bait & Tackle (located on the Fort Pierce Inlet at the Dockside Inn and Resort) and Treasure Coast Casters, a 501(c)(3) that teaches youth about fishing and the importance of marine conservation. To reach Capt. Joe, call (772) 201-5770 or visit his website.