Snook harvest seasonal closure in Atlantic starts Dec. 15

Capt. Kyle Busby ( had a charter out last Thursday. Daytona Beach Shores' Campbell Buchanan shows off his 28-inch snook from Spruce Creek caught free-lining live jumbo shrimp. Other catches that day included reds, trout and mangrove snapper with some smaller pesky jacks mixed in.

Capt. Kyle Busby ( had a charter out last Thursday. Daytona Beach Shores’ Campbell Buchanan shows off his 28-inch snook from Spruce Creek caught free-lining live jumbo shrimp. Other catches that day included reds, trout and mangrove snapper with some smaller pesky jacks mixed in.

The recreational harvest season for snook closes Dec. 15 in Atlantic state and federal waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, and will remain closed through Jan. 31, 2017, reopening to harvest Feb. 1. Anglers may continue to catch and release snook during the closed season.

Gulf state and federal waters, including Monroe County and Everglades National Park, closed Dec. 1 and will reopen to harvest March 1, 2017.

This and other regular season closures are designed to help protect the species during vulnerable times such as cold weather.

For more information on snook, visit and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Snook.”

Snook reopens in Atlantic state waters


The recreational harvest season for snook reopens on Sep. 1 in Florida’s Atlantic coastal and inland waters (from the Miami-Dade/Monroe county line north), including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River. The season will remain open through Dec 14th.

In the Atlantic, anglers may keep one snook per day that is not less than 28 or more than 32 inches total length, which is measured from the most forward point of the head with the mouth closed to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed while the fish is lying on its side. A snook permit is required to keep snook, along with a saltwater fishing license, unless the angler is exempt from the license requirements. Only hook-and-line gear is allowed when targeting or harvesting snook.

It is illegal to buy or sell snook.

Snook are one of the many reasons Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World. As a result, the FWC encourages anglers to use moderation when determining whether or not to take a snook home, even during the open season.

Researchers ask anglers who harvest the fish to save their filleted carcasses and provide them to the FWC by dropping them off at a participating bait and tackle store. This program allows anglers to participate in the collection of data such as the size, age, maturity and sex of Florida’s premier inshore game fish, snook. For a county-by-county list, go to and click on “Saltwater,” “Snook,” and “Snook Anglers Asked to Help with Research.”

The harvest of snook in all of Florida’s Gulf of Mexico state waters, including Everglades National Park and all of Monroe County, remains closed until March 1. Snook harvested from the open waters of the Atlantic may not be transported through closed water or landed in the closed area.Anglers may catch and release snook during the closed season, but the FWC encourages anglers to handle and release these fish carefully to help ensure their survival upon release. Proper handling methods can help ensure the species’ abundance for anglers today and generations to come. To learn more about fish handling, visit and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Fish Handling.”

For more information, visit and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Snook.”

Check out this week’s local fishing report!


Fish, fish everywhere you throw a line

Capt. Kyle Busby shows off a 13.6-pound, 34-inch snook caught on live shrimp in the Port Orange area. NOBIGREEL.COM/CAPT. KYLE BUSBY

Published: Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at 11:31 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at 4:06 p.m.

Before Tropical Storm Colin blew in and out of Florida, fishing was pretty good in the area. Anglers can expect a good week of fishing now that the weather has cleared.

SURF, PIERS: Tom Farnham at Your Rod & Reel in Daytona Beach Shores said those casting into the surf are catching bull whiting. “And believe it or not, we still have pompano around,” he said. “The sand fleas are showing up on the beach for the first time in three years and we think that is what is keeping the pompano around.” Farnham said several of his regulars are catching redfish, black drum, sheepshead and bluefish. “Everybody is catching something,” he added. The piers are led this week by Sunglow Pier which reported catches of mangrove snapper, redfish, flounder, jacks and black drum. The Flagler Beach Pier has been in a slump in recent days with the primary catch being catfish and puppy sharks. The Daytona Beach Pier has been “kind of slow,” according to Gene Lytwyn, who owns The Fishin’ Hole in the downtown area. He said anglers are catching some flounder and a few whiting.

OFFSHORE: Lytwyn said one of his customers caught a 60-pound wahoo and a 20-pound king on a recent ocean troll, before Colin showed up. “We’re still seeing a good number of dolphin, too,” he added. On the bottom-fishing side of the offshore equation fishermen are packing their coolers with gag grouper, triggerfish, sea bass and mangrove snapper, according to Jeff Burkhead at Fishin’ Cove Bait & Tackle in New Smyrna Beach. “We had one guy come in with photos of three Goliath groupers he caught all over 200 pounds,” Burkhead said. “He jumped in the water to take photos of them before releasing them.” Goliaths are off limits to keep. “Bottom fishing has been really good lately,” Lytwyn added.

PONCE INLET, HALIFAX RIVER: Capt. Kyle Busby of has been working the area between the inlet and Dunlawton Causeway in recent days. “Around Port Orange, the larger snook are getting ready to spawn on the next full moon, so they are fat,” Busby said in an email report. “Recent trips have produced more quality snook than the smaller schoolies.” Busby said he has been free-lining live shrimp in creeks during tide changes and catching trout, reds, flounder, jacks and mangrove snapper.” Lytwyn said there are black drum in the Granada Bridge area, plus a few flounder hanging around. “Up in Spruce Creek, they are catching and releasing snook and landing redfish,” Lytwyn said. In the inlet flounder are taking live mullet, mud minnows and soft plastic artificials while black drum are gobbling up live shrimp or blue crab. On the south side of the inlet, Burkhead said his regulars are catching quite a few flounder, plus oversize redfish. “Those big reds are always in there,” Burkhead said.

TOMOKA BASIN, RIVER: Lytwyn said anglers are catching redfish in the basin and black drum up the river near the U.S. 1 span. “And we are seeing snook being caught in Thompson’s Creek,” he said. “But of course, they are out of season right now.”

MOSQ. LAGOON, INDIAN RIVER: Al Huffman at Lagoon Bait & Tackle in Edgewater says there are plenty of fish around, if you can find them. “Seeing a bunch of redfish and trout,” he said. “We’re seeing most of them coming out of Tiger Shoals and Slippery Creek.” Haulover Canal is holding some big black drum. Around New Smyrna Beach, Burkhead said river anglers are catching trout and mangrove snapper. Burkhead said blue crab trappers are having a field day right now. “Crabbing has been really good,” he said.

MATANZAS INLET, RIVER: Devil’s Elbow Fish Camp, which is located north of the inlet, reports a flounder run in the inlet and river, while other anglers are hauling in redfish and black drum in the river flats using mud minnows for bait.

ST. JOHNS RIVER: Capt. Rick Rawlins can’t explain it but anglers are enjoying a run of speckled perch, which usually show up in the fall and winter months. “People are catching up to 20 of them at a time, up to 2-pounds big, by vertical jigging in the run,” Rawlins said. Bluegill are plentiful and caught by tossing crickets along the bank. Bass have slowed down, but those being caught are taking wild shiners early in the morning.

Check out this week’s local fishing report

Matanzas and offshore waters are filled with fish

By Godwin Kelly
Published: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 5:42 p.m.


Patricia Fournier, Charleston S.C., with her first snook ever caught. 31″, 10 lbs. (photo by Capt. Kyle Busby)

To find the best fishing in the area, you must go north, to the Matanzas River and Matanzas Inlet area, where anglers are catching a little bit of everything. Offshore fishing has picked up, too.

MATANZAS INLET, RIVER: Capt. Chris Herrera of said he has been targeting the influx of flounder. “We are catching them on the incoming tide right up to high tide,” he said. “We’re throwing bait in creek holes and fishing the shallow flats on the high tide. All places with bait around are holding flounder.” Herrera said he’s been averaging 20 to 25 flounder each day up to 19 inches long. Up around the inlet, the trout bite has been solid on the incoming tide fishing in 6- to 8-feet of water. And if you end up on the water during low tide, Herrera said you have a better chance of catching a redfish using cut bait such as ladyfish, crab or mullet. “Yeah, fishing has been pretty good,” he said.

OFFSHORE: Those with the means to get out to the big blue are having a field day in the ocean. Gene Lytwyn, who was the weighmaster at the recent King of the Inlet Tournament, said 45 boats weighed fish including numerous dolphinfish, wahoo and king mackerel. “There were two or three boats with sailfish,” said Lytwyn, who owns The Fishin’ Hole. Some of Lytwyn’s bottom-fishing customers have been catching triggerfish and cobia. Jeff Burkhead at Fishin’ Cove Bait & Tackle in New Smyrna Beach said the charter boat Southwind went out over the weekend and came back with “19 gaffers” — all dolphin, plus a wahoo. “All those dolphin were 20- to 30-pounds big,” Burkhead said. “Another boat that docks here bottom fished some nice cobia and grouper.”

SURF, PIERS: Until the area sees the big mullet run, the catch will be spotty along the beach, according to Scott Morrison at Your Rod & Reel in Daytona Beach Shores. “We had a customer catch a dozen whiting and took four home,” he said. “We had another guy catch four pompano, and had one keeper. There’s no run of one fish but a myriad of everything.” Burkhead said surf casters in New Smyrna Beach are catching mostly whiting. “But there’s been a few stragglers like trout, sheepshead and pompano,” he said. Amy Jarvis at the Sunglow Pier said her anglers are catching whiting, redfish and flounder. “We’ve seen a few sharks, and one gentleman caught a barracuda,” she said. “And we’re seeing a lot of ladyfish.” The Flagler Beach Pier has seen some interesting catches over the last week. The catch board had flounder, whiting, sheepshead and ladyfish. But in recent days, one angler pulled up a whopper, 9-pound flounder that measured 26 inches and another young fisherman caught a 25-inch cobia when he spotted a ray and tossed a bait under it. Lytwyn said the Daytona Beach Pier is holding flounder, whiting and some redfish.

PONCE INLET, HALIFAX RIVER: Capt. Kyle Busby of has been hammering the river waters around Port Orange. “It’s been really good on the fishing scene,” he said. “The creeks around Port Orange are producing lots of mangrove snapper. Once you weed through those, there are catches of snook, redfish, flounder, black drum and jacks.” Busby said he has free-lined shrimp to get the best results. “The snook bite is the highlight and will only continue to get better though the summer,” he said. Lytwyn reports a high volume of black drum being caught around the Granada Pier and around the Seabreeze Bridge. “They are catching oversized snook way, way up Spruce Creek,” he said.

TOMOKA BASIN, RIVER: Capt. Justin Long of fished Tomoka five times in the last week and caught gobs of snook. “In total, caught over 20 snook around mouth of Strickland Creek on suspending twitch bait,” Long said. “The tarpon bite has been really hot this past week; early morning and late evening is the best bite.” Long said he caught some keeper-sized mangrove snapper in Strickland free-lining shrimp. Lytwyn said some of his regulars have been snagging black drum in the basin and some trout around the island areas.

MOSQ. LAGOON, INDIAN RIVER: Al Huffman at Lagoon Bait & Tackle in Edgewater said everybody is catching fish, if they know the secret. “The water is clouded so you look for birds, who are attracted by bait,” he said. “The fish follow the bait, too.” Huffman said anglers are pulling up redfish, trout and flounder. “The fish came in a few weeks ago and we (are) skinny,” he said. “They are getting fatter now. They’ve been eating really good, so there’s more meat on them.” Burkhead said flounder are scattered throughout the river in the New Smyrna Beach area. “Mangrove snapper is a good catch,” he said. “They’re getting bigger every week. And we’ve seen some nice snook around the bridge areas.”

ST. JOHNS RIVER: Capt. Bryn Rawlins at Highland Park Fish Camp in DeLand emailed a report from West Volusia. “We are seeing shellcracker come in,” she said. “Also, other pan fish like warmouth and bluegill are doing well, too, by using crickets or minnows and pitching up against the bank and tree tops of the Norris Dead River.” Rawlins said bass fishing is solid on the main St. Johns River using both live bait and artificial. “Surprisingly, we are seeing some decent speckled perch catches coming in and they are of a pretty good size.”

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