Fishing Stuart, Florida

Two days of action offshore and inshore, with Stuart, Florida, home base.

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enerally cooperative weather during a recent fishing-media event in Stuart, Florida, gave me a couple of days to sample the fishing offshore and inshore. These photos offer a look at some of the action. (Sponsoring the event were Boca Bearings, Cuda Tools, Maui Jim, Mustad, Navionics, Okuma, Raymarine, and Yo-Zuri.)  

First Amberjack

Fishing Stuart, Florida
Canada-based freelance writer Jonathan La Pera noticed right off some difference in the fight of a large amberjack versus the walleye he’s more used to catching. He hooked the AJ on a heavy metal speed jig.Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

Bait Stop

Fishing Stuart, Florida
En route to the jetties, we stop to load up on pilchards.Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

Hot spot — our skipper, Paul Michele, with Navionics, points out a cloud of ... something ... sitting just off the bottom, not far offshore. (Note the very clear arch of a large fish down about 30 feet over that mass.)

Fishing Stuart, Florida
Fishing Stuart, FloridaDoug Olander / Sport Fishing

Paul Michele squares off vs. a large amberjack as he demonstrates his fighting technique to Alex Mei, of tackletour.com, who is more experienced with largemouth bass.

Fishing Stuart, Florida
Fishing Stuart, FloridaDoug Olander / Sport Fishing

Mei went on to finish the fight and land a new bucket-lister for him with this amberjack.

Fishing Stuart, Florida
Fishing Stuart, FloridaDoug Olander / Sport Fishing

Congrats to La Pera with his first AJ (seen in the first image in this gallery) in hand, as Michele prepares to lift the fish from the water.

Fishing Stuart, Florida
Fishing Stuart, FloridaDoug Olander / Sport Fishing

Hookup: I test the mettle of Okuma’s new Ricky Red series of rods. When matched up with a small Okuma Andros reel and 20-pound braid, it proved a super light-jigging outfit.

Fishing Stuart, Florida
Fishing Stuart, FloridaDoug Olander / Sport Fishing

Speed demon: Mei, of California, exults in his first king mackerel. Caught on light gear, the fish sprinted around the boat before Michele could gaff it.

Fishing Stuart, Florida
Fishing Stuart, FloridaDoug Olander / Sport Fishing

As I catch the scene on a GoPro, La Pera demonstrates a Canadian war cry in triumph over a fat amberjack.

Fishing Stuart, Florida
Fishing Stuart, FloridaDoug Olander / Sport Fishing

On the inshore day, Capt. George Gozdz, who guides in the Stuart area, prepares to release a jack crevalle caught by Dena Vick with Raymarine.

Fishing Stuart, Florida
Fishing Stuart, FloridaDoug Olander / Sport Fishing

Vick strikes again, to Gozdz’s surprise, this time with a snook that couldn’t resist a small live pogy (menhaden).

Fishing Stuart, Florida
Fishing Stuart, FloridaDoug Olander / Sport Fishing

The prize: Small but fun (and acrobatic), a snook ready for release.

Fishing Stuart, Florida
Fishing Stuart, FloridaDoug Olander / Sport Fishing

A braggin’-size trout is last catch of the day for Noel Vick, with Raymarine, who scored casting a lure.

Fishing Stuart, Florida
Fishing Stuart, FloridaDoug Olander / Sport Fishing

Read About Another Central Florida Coastal Hotspot: Catching Kingfish Off Cape Canaveral, Florida

I’m a die-hard fan of jack crevalle, which resemble and fight like their high-status cousin, the giant trevally. This Indian River bruiser really tested the little Okuma Epixor XT spinning reel with light braid.

Fishing Stuart, Florida
Fishing Stuart, FloridaDoug Olander / Sport Fishing

Change of pace. If you’re thinking, “Hey, that’s not the Intracoastal Waterway!” then a gold star to you for being right on top of it. You caught me: I fished a little canal south and west of Stuart in the ‘Glades, led by guide Corey Nowalski, for snakehead (caught two small ones) and this fair-sized spotted gar.

Fishing Stuart, Florida
Fishing Stuart, FloridaDoug Olander / Sport Fishing