By Lauren Eissey, Loggerhead Marinelife Center Contributing Writer
It’s a month of mixed emotions for anglers on Juno Beach Pier (JBP). It’s almost that time for kids to put down their fishing rods and return to the classroom whereas adult anglers are reclaiming the pier on weekdays. Both can reunite on the weekends for some friendly fishing competition!
This month, we welcome balmy temperatures of 89 degrees and slight reprieve with lows of 77 degrees. Pier goers can anticipate coming across Spanish mackerel, croakers, blue runners, crevalle jack, and catch and release snook.
Anglers can catch the year-round Spanish mackerel by using live bait on lures and jigs. Spanish mackerel favor quick moving bait; however, they are not picky to cut bait, squid, shrimp, and mullet. Lucky anglers can whip up a finger-licking roasted mackerel with simple seasonings like garlic and paprika.
Use live bait fish to reel in crevalle jacks, then use the jacks as bait for greater catches. Fun fact on the jacks – they can produce croaking sounds by grinding their teeth together while releasing gas from its air bladder. Blue runners are slightly smaller than the jacks, and are also frequently caught at the pier. Experts suggest catching blue runners with fish, shrimp, or squid as bait.
Atlantic croakers are commonly surrounding the pier and can be identified by their silvery-gray or bronze, iridescent head. These bottom feeders tend to prefer crustaceans, mollusks, and small fish. Try using whiting, sand perch, or squid strips as bait to catch croakers. Considered a fatty fish, croaker contains high levels of omega-3, which is packed with nutrients to help keep your heart, lungs, blood vessels, and immune system working the way they should.
Until snook season opens on September 1, anglers can catch-and-release snook using cut and live bait. You can identify them by its distinguished black stripe running along the lateral line of the body. Don’t be surprised to find some snook during your next visit!
Throughout sea turtle nesting season in Palm Beach County, the JBP adjusts its angling and spectator hours to accommodate nesting and hatching sea turtles. From March 1 through October 31, the pier opens a half hour before sunrise and closes at sunset each day. Turn to Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for best practices regarding sea turtle safety.
As part of LMC’s Responsible Pier Initiative, the JBP practices sustainable fishing and recycling. Please dispose of used monofilament lines in the designated recycling containers and report any accidentally hooked sea turtles.
LMC offers private fishing lessons for adults and children (eight and older). One-hour lessons are offered daily and scheduled based on availability. Cost: $25 per angler (without gear); $35 per angler with rental gear included. Cost does not include bait. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register. The full-service Pier House features a snack bar as well as a variety of fishing tackle, including rental poles and bait.
Randy Yent, Pier Coordinator
Juno Beach Pier (561) 627-8280 x140 • Facebook.com/junobeachpier • Instagram & Twitter:@junobeachpier