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Old 03-09-2017, 03:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Florida Pier Fishing

Well I finally got around to downloading some pics, didn't have many because the phone was always dead, the rental car charger only worked when the car was running.

Went to Jensen Beach Florida and fished under the causeway. It was interesting to say the least, the best times for fishing the tides was at night so we fished from 9 or 10 at night till about 4 or 5 in the morning.

We manly targeted Snook but you never knew what would take your bait, my first hook up about pulled me over the rail since I didn't know what to expect, luckily I had a good hold on the rod. I didn't know what I had on but most was saying it was probably a 35 to 40 inch snook. I had the drag what I thought was pretty tight but it kept taking drag and I couldn't turn it. I finally had a chance to tighten the drag and SNAP the 60 lb monofilament line broke. The regulars on the pier were having a good laugh at the beginner, after several break offs I changed to 80 lb leader with the main line being 65 lb braid. Then I started catching. They have a small slot limit, you can keep one a day 28 to 32 inches, anything more or less has to be released. You had to retie every time since their jaws are so abrasive it really chafes up the leader since they fight so hard.

Most of the regulars were pretty friendly and more than willing to help, anything from information, to netting your fish to sharing their bait and techniques.

My two biggest that I was able to land was a 34 inch and a 35 inch, I caught a couple of 26 inch snook and several that were in the 22 to 24 inch range, the most I caught in one night was 6 but they said it was a pretty good number and size of fish for a beginner.

I also caught Black Drum the pic with the fish with stripes, sea trout the other pic and cat fish, no pic. I could have caught a lot more different fish if I wasn't targeting the snook. My buddy caught a 36 inch Tarpon that gave him a fight and took a while to land, they are more active on top of the water. The next one was a huge snook that took him for another ride before straightening out a 3=00 hook. I did find out the all the ocean fish fight pretty good, I think that they all have to be tough since there is always something bigger trying to eat them.

It was a fun adventure and interesting time, a lot of people targeting the smaller fish caught sting rays and they worked to land them on light gear.

I mostly fished with live shrimp or live crabs that you netted as they drifted past with the outgoing tide.

Sorry the guy that took the snook pic never used a smart phone before, still has a flip phone, and couldn't tell he was looking into the lights of the causeway.

Just a side note, it was the first time for me to take my side arm with me to another state other than Nevada or Arizona, but I felt real comfortable with it in Florida. On of the first time the main guy that was helping us left us for the night on the pier said "don't worry these other guys are all armed", he had no idea that I had my .40 cal. on me.
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Old 03-10-2017, 09:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Cool! Were you able to harvest any of the other species and get a seafood dinner out of it? Those snook sound like a lot of fun.
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Cool! Were you able to harvest any of the other species and get a seafood dinner out of it? Those snook sound like a lot of fun.
No I threw most back, I did give the Black Drum to a young Oriental couple that was fishing there, she was the one that identified it for me and said "it's a keeper" so I asked her if she wanted it and she was quite happy to take it.

We brought 45lbs of Snook back and a bag of crab claws, I haven't tried the snook yet but they say it is good, probably similar to Mahi Mahi.

I have heard that there are some restaurants that will cook your catch for you but we didn't look any up.

My buddy made a deal with one of the regulars, since it's hard to catch a keeper him and some of his friends caught them and they would vacuum pack and freeze them, my buddy took 50 lbs of cow elk meat out and traded for the snook. You can keep and give away snook but it is illegal to sell or market. You can't find it in stores or restaurants.

The snook are powerful swimmers, it seems that all the ocean fish are, they are real fighters pound for pound. The 2 biggest were probably 15 to 20 lbs each but they fought like they were much bigger.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Sounds like you had a great time. That couple you gave the drum to were probably more than happy to take it. Black Drum is GOOD eats and that looks like a pretty good size one. Was that trout a Speck or a Gray? Looks like a Gray from the picture. I don't remember the regs on them but did you keep it? They're pretty good eating too.

You mentioned crab claws and I assume they're stone crab. Did you catch them or buy them. Either way, I wish I had some and I'm jealous!

I'm heading down to FL to visit my parents next week. Fishing wasn't on the agenda, but I may have to impose my will on everyone and make it part of the plan now!
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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When I brought in the black drum I thought it was a sheepshead because of the stripes but found out that young black drum fish have stripes and lose them when they get older. This one was about 5 or 6 lbs most are 5 to 30 lb with some going into the 90 lb range, the world record is 113+ lbs.

I had a few sheepsheads on but they have rows of human like teeth with powerful jaws that just crush the crab and you come up with part of the shell on your hook. They eat the barnacles off of the pier pilings.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:37 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Sounds like you had a great time. That couple you gave the drum to were probably more than happy to take it. Black Drum is GOOD eats and that looks like a pretty good size one. Was that trout a Speck or a Gray? Looks like a Gray from the picture. I don't remember the regs on them but did you keep it? They're pretty good eating too.

You mentioned crab claws and I assume they're stone crab. Did you catch them or buy them. Either way, I wish I had some and I'm jealous!

I'm heading down to FL to visit my parents next week. Fishing wasn't on the agenda, but I may have to impose my will on everyone and make it part of the plan now!
Had a great time, it is always fun to learn and do something different.

They said that they were good eating but the guy that my buddy made friends with was pretty much a snook guy, wasn't interested in the other fish. Yes the sea trout was a keeper, they just said it was a sea trout and didn't say anything else about it but I didn't have anyway to keep it.

Next trip I will get a better motel room and plan on grilling some on the barbie, there is a little park right there at the causeway.

I think the crab claws are blue crab, not sure, they are cooked and the guy that vacuum packed and froze the fish just gave us a bag to throw in with the fish.

You should plan on fishing, you can get a 3 or 7 day license and just google pier fishing Florida and you can see all the fish you can catch. We bought a heavy weight 4 piece travel pole that fit in the luggage. Or just buy one at walmart and leave it with your family. Most of the people on the pier were friendly and helpful. The snook are there year round and the fishing is better with the tide going out. That's when all the shrimp and crab are pickup up and start going out to sea with the tide. We were acctually fishing in the Indian River but it is sea water where the ocean backs way up the river.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I've got friends that fish for sheepshead, but the only one I ever caught was on accident and about 4 inches long. I was fishing off the sea wall for pinfish with a hand line while we were fishing for Redfish. I caught the sheepshead and thought it was a little drum but then noticed the teeth. There's a nuke plant in Crystal River not far from where we were fishing and my friend was freaked out thinking it was some kind of mutant fish. We later learned what it really was, but that memory of my friend will stay with me forever.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:48 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The black drum was 16 or 17 inches and the slot limit to keep them is 14 to 24 inches

The only sea trout on the chart was a spotted sea trout, the slot limit to keep them is 15 to 20 inches, in the pic the shoe is size 10-1/2 so I'm thinking this fish was 17 or 18 inches.
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Glad you had a good fishing trip......snook are better eating than mahi-mahi. Speckled trout, while revered in Texas and Louisiana somehow they are considered mundane in Florida....they perhaps are better eating than any of the others. Nice snook fishing. Fished one night under a large bridge in Sarasota.....understand the fish that just kept on going.....wakes you up...
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Glad you had a good fishing trip......snook are better eating than mahi-mahi. Speckled trout, while revered in Texas and Louisiana somehow they are considered mundane in Florida....they perhaps are better eating than any of the others. Nice snook fishing. Fished one night under a large bridge in Sarasota.....understand the fish that just kept on going.....wakes you up...
Thanks Doc, and yes they do wake you up, reminds me a little of fishing for Kings on the Kenai, more fishing than catching but when you hook up you got a fight on your hands.

Can't wait to get back to Alaska fishing, this was cheaper but I still love Alaska, I have my "Bowgy going back to Alaska fund" going, but I don't think I will have enough in it for this year, I am hoping to get back up there next summer.

The Snook that were about 20 to 24 inches reminded me of the fight a Sockeye gives me when it is in the current of the Kenai.
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