Fishing forecast FLORIDA

Fishing forecast FLORIDA
Saltwater: High-water levels have scattered redfish and seatrout along the Indian River and Banana River. Anglers have done well when they have targeted areas with good numbers of baitfish. Grass flats have been ideal early in the morning. Move to deeper water along edges of flats, around docks or other structures after the sunrise raises temperatures. Live pigfish, shrimp and finger mullet have been the most popular overall baits. Top-water plugs have been effective for trout at first light. Snook catches also have been fairly good around structures on the Indian River between Melbourne Beach and Fort Pierce. Late evenings have been especially good to target snook.

Surf anglers have found snook and some bluefish, redfish, tarpon and jack crevalle along beaches when baitfish have been present. Tarpon have been the easiest to spot, when they have rolled along the surface. Many of these fish are too far from shore for surf casters to reach. Snook and jack crevalle likely will roam the slightly deeper near-shore troughs, where baitfish often get trapped and disoriented. Cast live baits such as a finger mullet, pinfish or pigfish on a sliding sinker rig along these troughs. Don’t let bait spin in the current as they tire. Change baitfish often to maintain a lively presentation. Snook generally do not respond well to fatigued baits, but this is not a problem for jacks, redfish, sharks and other fish.

Freshwater: When the spillway has flowed at the Stick Marsh, south of Palm Bay, anglers have found good bass activity during mornings and late afternoons. Anglers have used a variety of lures with good results, including top-water plugs, chuggers and poppers, Rat-L-Traps, crankbaits and all sorts of soft plastic baits. Senko-brand plastic worms have been a favorite, especially the dark blue and purple colors. After the sun heats the water in the morning, switch to live wild shiners to draw interest from bass.

Crappie catches have improved at Lake Washington, west of Melbourne, as well as along the St. Johns River, north and south of the lake. Most anglers at Washington have trolled or drifted with small jigs and live minnows. Chartreuse, white and green-colored crappie jigs have worked well at mid-water depth in open areas. In the river, cast live minnows or small jigs along shoreline vegetation or in areas where water flows.

— Beth Sinclair, for FLORIDA TODAY

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