Fort Pierce Inshore / Near-Shore: Jan. 2019

Fort Pierce Inlet snook
George DiMartino caught and released this 35-inch snook on a shrimp at the Fort Pierce Inlet jetty. Photo credit: Robyn DiMartino.

The Fort Pierce inshore and near shore fishing should be red hot in January if the weather conditions are good.  This is the time of year when the cold fronts start coming south with all the low temps and strong northeast winds causing a lot of headaches for anglers.  But it is time for the bluefish, Spanish mackerel, croakers and black drum to show up in full force.  These fish will be coming in the mouth of the Fort Pierce Inlet and working their way into the turning basin and both north and south in the river.

On the nicer days try some of these tips. Redfish and trout will be in the deeper holes and channels around places like Harbor Branch and Queen’s Cove to the north and to the south try places like Pete Stone Creek or Big Mud Creek.  Try working a live shrimp on an ⅛- or a ¼-ounce jig head and fish it very slow if the water is cold.

For some fun and maybe a fish dinner try fishing in the Fort Pierce Inlet and the area between the bridges for some nice Spanish mackerel and bluefish.  Your best results will probably come from using a Gulf Stream Flash Jig or a small spoon.  Just look for the birds and the fish feeding on top.  Remember, don’t take more than you can eat because these fish don’t freeze well and there should be plenty of them around all winter.

For bottom fish, like black drum, sheepshead and croakers, use a shrimp or a fiddler crab on a #2 hook and a 15-pound fluorocarbon leader with just enough weight to hold the bottom.  Try places like the Drum Hole, Sand Pit or around the bridges.

In the surf, the pompano bite should be good for anglers using sand fleas or clams fished on a pompano rig.  Try one kind of bait on each hook to see which one is working better that day.

Just a reminder, snook season is closed from December 15 until February 1.

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

Mark Hendrickson, visiting from Hull, Mass, caught this nice black drum north of the North Bridge. Photo credit: Al Coffey.
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.