Snook harvest seasonal closure in Atlantic starts Dec. 15

Capt. Kyle Busby (Nobigreel.com) 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 (Nobigreel.com) 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 MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Snook.”

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Check out this week’s local fishing report

Matanzas and offshore waters are filled with fish

By Godwin Kelly
godwin.kelly@news-jrnl.com
Published: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 5:42 p.m.

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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 palmcoastfishing.com 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 nobigreel.com 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 goodtimezfc.com 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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There’s a new boat ramp in town!

Well, it’s that time of year again.  Local residents and visitors of Volusia county will be flocking to their favorite spots on the waterways of the intracoastal for fun in the sun.  Whether you’re out for a day with the kids or tracking down the big one in your favorite fishing hole, everyone has to launch their boat or jet ski somewhere.

There’s a new boat ramp in the area and it’s a nice one!  Located on Boat Ramp Rd. in New Smyrna (approximately 1/2 mile north of the airport), the Swoope Park Boat Ramp is a welcomed site to the community.  Dedicated March 2014, the park will hopefully take some of the heavy traffic away from the ramps along the south causeway.  If you’ve been on the water in recent weekends down there, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

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Swoope Park features 28 oversized trailer slots, regular parking spots, 2 floating aluminum ramps with handicap access, 2 oversized stalls, his and hers bath rooms, 2 rinse off showers, and an area to launch smaller craft like paddle boards, kayaks, or canoes.

The ramp is convenient if you’re heading to Disappearing Island, Spruce Creek, New, Smyrna Creek, or heading offshore.  It’s located in the idle speed zone, so make sure you’re aware of your speed.  That area is patrolled a lot by law enforcement.

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The only thing I would caution boaters on is that the ramp is fairly steep.  Anyone hauling a boat with a heavier load will want to take it slow as they drop their rig.  I’ve seen guys completely launch $100,000 boats onto the concrete at Dunlawton before, so it’s certainly possible here.

I hope to see you on the water…signing off…Capt KB