Above Average Water Temps Ahead of Schedule
We are ahead of schedule this year with above average water temps, and I’ve noticed several things happening sooner than normal. It seems like fish of all species have been breeding sooner than they normally do. One thing that really caught my attention is how many stone crabs were already bearing eggs in early March. Normally we don’t start seeing crabs with eggs until mid-late April. We’ll see how this Spring goes with fishing.
The inlet has been very productive for sheepshead fishing, and I’ve been doing awesome just using smaller shrimp on a fish finder rig. I’ve even had fiddler crabs a couple trips, but barely used any because they were chewing shrimp so well. We have caught a bunch of very nice 2-5lb fish and several trips with 5-10 keeper size fish. Luckily, the small bluefish moved out from the inlet. You pretty much couldn’t get through them some days because they were so thick.
There has been some 2-3 lb blues here and there that at least put up a decent fight and a good reason to make some smoked fish dip. There has been some big 15-30lb black drum in the river and at the inlet that will probably start making their way North up the coast. Last year I was fortunate enough to find a big school outside the inlet a couple of times that made for an absolute blast where we could see the fish on the surface at times, and they would eat anything you threw at them.
Redfish seem to be showing up more at the inlet already, with some 30 to 40”+ fish being caught. I’ve mainly been catching them on finger mullet, but they will eat chunk baits and half or even a live blue crab works great too.
Tarpon just started showing up around the inlet recently, and I’ve already marked big schools of fish on the fish finder. We should be getting into some great tarpon fishing coming into spring. I always like targeting them with a free lined mullet, pinfish, or croaker depending on what you can get a hold of. Although I haven’t fished the intracoastal as much recently, when I have, it’s been producing redfish, seatrout, snook, and flounder.
Lots of bait started showing up over the last couple of weeks or more, and I’ve been doing well fishing areas where I’ve been seeing more bait. Fishing mangrove shorelines in Port Orange and Ponce Inlet have been productive. There’s also been a bunch of jacks around docks and mangrove areas all of a sudden, too. There should be lots of excellent fishing in April, so we’ll see how it goes. Tight lines!