The new year has begun bringing with it some great fishing opportunities with cooler weather for anglers to enjoy on the water. The Indian River can start to produce better results as trout and redfish get pushed down from the cooler water temps. We catch them at the bridges, docks, and mangrove shorelines casting 3-inch D.O.A. C.A.L.’s or Gulp Swimming Mullet on a ¼-ounce jig head, and Giles-Jigs. Keep your retrieval methods slow if water temps are below 72 degrees. The pompano are in town, so always have a pompano jigging-rod ready when cruising the river in case they start “skipping” when spooked by your boat.
The St. Lucie River fishes great in the winter, especially back in the North and South Forks where snook love to hug the mangrove shorelines and seawalls. We also catch the occasional trout or redfish back there as well casting those same jigs, but mostly chartreuse green colors due to the darker “ice tea” colored water. When the water temps are below 70 degrees, definitely look for shallow spots where the sun warms the water. If we experience a cold front, the fish like to sit deeper for those first couple days where the water temp is warmer than the surface.
The Spanish mackerel bite is happening from the St. Lucie Inlet down the coast to Pecks Lake Reef. This is a great opportunity for anglers of all ages to catch lots of good-eating fish. Some good lures to cast or troll are Gulfstream Flash Minnows, sz #2 Clarkspoons, Got-Cha Plugs, and tube jigs. Chumming the mackerel with minnows will keep them close by. Despite what many people say, I think Spanish mackerel are a great eating fish grilled, pan-fried, or broiled, just be sure to cook them fresh off the boat!