By Lauren Eissey, Loggerhead Marinelife Center Contributing Writer
Be the subject of fishing envy this September! This month, Juno Beach Pier (JBP) kicks off snook season for anglers to start fervently catching this all-star fish.
Venturing from mangroves, snook can be found in Intracoastal Waterways as temperatures continue to rise. Stake your spot on the JBP in the hopes of reeling in this popular game fish with bait such as pinfish, small mullet, greenbacks, and sardines – or lures. If you find yourself leaving the pier lucky, consider moonlighting as a chef by brushing the clean snook with fresh ingredients of garlic, olive oil and zesty lemon juice with salt and pepper to taste.
Mangrove snappers or gray snappers can also be found near the pier this month. These fish are aptly named since they can be found near mangroves and other structures, including reefs and seagrass. These guys will come biting with live and cut bait such as cigar minnows, pilchards, pin fish, and grunts. Generally, when catching this fish inshore, mangrove snappers average between 10 and 14 inches in length with an average weight of 1 to 2 lbs. However, the state record for the largest gray snapper caught offshore is a whopping 17 lbs.!
Despite snook season, the usual suspects can still be found at the JBP. Anglers can catch the year-round Spanish mackerel by using live bait on lures and jigs. Spanish mackerel tend to spot quick moving bait, however, cut bait like squid, shrimp, and mullets can get the job done. In similar fashion, crevalle jacks and blue runners veer toward live and cut bait with lures. For blue runners, we suggest fish, shrimp, or squid as bait. Lastly, Atlantic croakers are nothing new and prefer crustaceans, mollusks, and small fish. Try using whiting, sand perch, or squid strips also as bait to catch croakers.
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 (ages 8 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 email@example.com 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