South Florida Weekly Fishing Report - Jan. 22, 2022

·8 min read
Johnathan Steele of Boynton Beach caught this 14 pound dolphin drifting a sardine near the surface in 180 feet on Sunday.
Johnathan Steele of Boynton Beach caught this 14 pound dolphin drifting a sardine near the surface in 180 feet on Sunday.

Offshore

In 140 feet of water, northeast of the St. Lucie Inlet, anglers are getting some catch and release sailfish action. Trolling ballyhoo has been working to get them fired up.

There could be an uptick in the sailfish bite in the coming week as several anglers say there are larger concentrations of them to the north off of Vero Beach and they are working their way down the coast.

Also off of the Jensen Beach area, in 140 to 160 feet, there have been a few dolphin caught.

On the bottom, around Push Button Hill, there has been a solid vermilion snapper bite. There are a few big ones as well, with some in the 20- to 24-inch range.

Around the six- and eight-mile reefs and off of the Loran Tower, anglers are getting lane and mangrove snapper right now.

Despite the recent cool fronts, the fishing has been a bit slow off of Jupiter the last week.

There have been a few sailfish, dolphin and king mackerel caught, but in no great numbers or sizes.

At least the bottom bite has been solid enough off Jupiter to give anglers targeting snapper something to bring home.

Though there are fish being caught, the action off of Boynton has been a bit slow the past few days.

There have been a few dolphin taken with a few even up in the 30-pound range. That said, finding them and catching them has required covering lots of ground. Working depths from 120 out to 750 feet and targeting the circling frigate birds, color changes and current edges has been key. For bait, skirted bonito strips and tuna darts have been working well.

From South Palm Beach down to Delray Beach, the wahoo action has remained solid. Fish up to 35 pounds are being reported in 120 to 600 feet. Slow trolling Sea Witches and bonito strips on planers has been very effective.

The sailfish action has slowed down off of Boynton Beach, but there are some hook-ups happening. Anglers working the color changes are reporting some success fishing live baits from kites and trolling naked ballyhoo.

The local wrecks and reefs off of the Boynton area have also been slow. There have been a lot of undersize snapper caught and released. In addition, the sharks have been overwhelming in numbers in those areas and stealing plenty of sardines meant for other fish.

Whether it's a monster or a minnow, if you've got a good fishing photo, send it to us at eritz@pbpost.com

Inshore

Around the Stuart and Jensen Causeways, and most structure in the area, there is still a solid sheepshead bite. They are hitting shrimp and fiddler crabs.

Black drum are being caught at the Roosevelt Bridge and tripletail and croaker are being caught along the channel markers using shrimp on a jig head.

If you're looking for snook, they are being found deeper in to the St. Lucie River right now and even up into the north fork.

The surf fishing along the Martin and St. Lucie County beaches has been hit or miss the past week. Though it's actually been a little more on the miss side, anglers are reporting catching the occassional pompano and some nice-sized whiting.

There are also Spanish mackerel still being caught around Peck's Lake.

Along the beaches in Jupiter, anglers are getting some pompano, Spanish mackerel and a few bluefish.

If you're going to walk the beach, throwing a spoon will work well.

Up into the Loxahatchee River, anglers are getting a mixed bag including some hard-fighting jack crevalle, ladyfish and a few pompano.

Like last week, the fishing at the Boynton Inlet has been extremely slow.

Action in the Intracoastal Waterway, inside the inlet has been relatively quiet as well. Capt. Bruce did report seeing small aggregations of manatees moving south.

For past reports and other fishing related information click here

Lake Okeechobee

The bass bite has been pretty hit or miss the past week. One day it's on fire, the next day it's slow. That said, they are mostly being caught on live shiners. After that, throwing a Senko or flippin' and pitchin' creature-style baits has been working. Working the holes in the hydrilla patches has been good, especially around the Tin House Cove area.

Before this last cool snap, the speck bite had been fantastic. Using jigs or minnows, and fishing the early morning and late evenings, guys were getting their limits. It's still decent and as things warm back up it should improve. Working the edge of the grass patches has been effective, with the pier along with Indian Prairie and King's Bar being hot spots.

More freshwater

Fishing in the conservation area in the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, the bass fishing was fantastic Tuesday morning.

Capt. Bruce caught and released 35 bass, with some up to six pounds, using a mix of Chug Bugs, black/blue football jigs and Whack'n Worms in pumpkin.

The fish were concentrated where the flats drain into the canal and around the rocks associated with the flood gates.

West Palm Beach Fishing Club Silver Sailfish Derby

On January 6 and 7, the Silver Sailfish Derby celebrated its 85th year with a sold out 50 boat fleet and some fantastic catch and release action.

The first release in 2022 Derby came just three minutes after the 8 a.m. start of the tournament. Team Gator One, a 39’ Yellowfin led by Capt. Ryan McBride, released the sailfish with angler John Moore of Lighthouse Point on the rod. Gator One would continue onto a Third Place Overall finish with a total of seven releases. That very first sailfish was a sign of good things to come for John Moore, as he would earn the title of Top Angler Overall in the 2022 Derby. Moore caught five of his team's seven total. That was the most releases of any individual angler and earned him the Mrs. Henry R. Rea trophy, a magnificent silver sailfish sculpture that dates back to the event’s origin in 1935.

A total of 142 Atlantic sailfish were released over the duration of the two-day tournament and 22 of them were tagged.

Capt. Luke Davis and the 42’ Freeman, Off Course, posted an impressive seven releases on Day 1 to win Top Daily Boat. Similar to their competitive colleagues on Gator One, the Off Course posted just one more fish on Day 2. They would finish Second Place Overall with eight total releases.

The second and final day of the Derby would produce 24 less fish than the previous day, as the fleet recorded 59 sails.

The Goombay Smash/Remix, a quad outboard 42’ Invincible, pushed to the edge of the northern boundary after checking out of Palm Beach Inlet each morning. They picked their spot and stuck to it both days. Capt. Nick Carullo bested the fleet on Day 2 with five releases to claim Top Daily Boat. The crew’s tournament accolades would not stop there. With a total of ten releases, the crew (consisting of Capt. Nick Carullo, Nicholas Vidal, JC Cleare, Jorge Corzo, Alex De Izaguirre, Matt Martinez, Paul Bruno, and Jason Spiewak) claimed their spot in the sailfishing history books as the winners of the 85th annual Silver Sailfish Derby.

The crew of the Goombay Smash/Remix celebrate their victory in the 85th annual Silver Sailfish Derby.
The crew of the Goombay Smash/Remix celebrate their victory in the 85th annual Silver Sailfish Derby.

Capt. John Gambino and the Floridita took Top Small Boat honors with two releases aboard their 33.6’ Grady White center console.

The Top Lady Angler trophy is sponsored by the Hampp Family of New Jersey in memory of Rose Hampp, who won the honor in the 1957 Derby along with many other awards throughout her accomplished angling career. Rebecca Patterson of Malvern, PA was awarded the trophy releasing four sailfish aboard the 68’ Michael Rybovich the Lady Rebecca.

Not to be outdone by Patterson, another lady angler made waves in the 2022 Derby. Thirteen-year-old, Myla Alligood, was named Top Junior Angler. She released two sailfish aboard the 76’ Viking, Just Chillin.

The Silver Sailfish Derby, is produced by the West Palm Beach Fishing Club and continues to be the organization’s marquee event. For more information about the tournament or club, visit https://westpalmbeachfishingclub.org/

2nd Annual Indian Riverkeeper Sandspike Shootout

This two-day fishing tournament will be held Feb. 26 and 27, and will test surf anglers to see who can bring the biggest pompano and whiting. Though they are free to fish anywhere along the southeast coast, all anglers must return to Dollman Beach (9200 S. Ocean Drive, Jensen Beach) for the 4:30 p.m. weigh-in deadline on both days. Registration is $40 to $60 for the tournament with the top five anglers in the pompano and whiting categories winning prizes.

The event will benefit the nonprofit group Indian Riverkeeper, which works to protect and restore the Indian River Lagoon.

For information or to register, visit https://www.theindianriverkeeper.org/sand-spike-shootout/#!event-register/2022/2/26/2nd-annual-sand-spike-shootout

All fishing report information courtesy of Alec at the Snook Nook in Jensen Beach, Fishing Headquarters in Jupiter, Capt. Bruce Cyr and Garrard's Bait & Tackle in Okeechobee.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: South Florida Weekly Fishing Report - Jan. 22, 2022

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