Fishing St. Lucie Inlet with D.O.A. Lures

Fun fishing and variety on a calm summer morning in and outside central Florida's St. Lucie Inlet

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Snook City

A calm summer morning in, around and well outside of central Florida's St. Lucie Inlet is generally a reliable way to have a ball. A recent D.O.A. Lures media event hosted by D.O.A. owner Mark Nichols offered me a good reminder of this. When assignments were handed out during dinner at River Palm Fish Camp in Jensen Beach on the evening of arrival, mine was to meet up with Capt. Greg Snyder in his 22-foot Action Craft, and outdoor blogger extraordinaire Jeff Dennis, well before first light next morning, ready to fish. (I took this shot from inside the boat using my GoPro on a PVC extension.)
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Magic Hour

And sure enough, the next morning saw us where Snyder wanted to be, working along a jetty in the mouth of St. Lucie Inlet. He wanted to take advantage of that “magic hour” after first light. A couple of other skiffs from the D.O.A. event fished nearby, also.
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One That Didn't Get Away

Working one of his favorite lures, a silver glitter D.O.A. Shrimp, paid off for Snyder who lost a trophy-sized snook early on and then, with the sun just cresting the horizon, got this fish to the boat.
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Smile-Worthy Snook

Happy angler Dennis admires a great fish not part of the catch while fishing his native waters of South Carolina. Another group of anglers drifts and casts along the jetty in the background.
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Enticers

Time to put some enticement into the boat, as Snyder tries to drop his cast net over a school of scaled sardines.
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A Silver Hors D'oeuvre

Various species of sardines and herring (“white bait”) can pack areas within the inlet at times during the summer.
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Busy Baitwells are Happy Baitwells

Time to head offshore!
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Always Good to Stop When You're at Loggerheads

En route to look for sails two to three miles out, we ran across a ginormous leatherback turtle. Unfortunately no retinue, other than a couple small jacks, seemed to be tagging along.aways good to stop
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High Flyers

Snyder tosses out one of several handfuls of sardines to live-chum the area where we’d spotted a sail free-jumping repeatedly.
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Bait Buster Bonito

While the shiny little livies attracted no sails, we found no shortage of little tunny (bonito), and big ones, very interested. This one chased down a D.O.A. Bait Buster.
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Tough Customer

I caught this speedster on a D.O.A. CAL Jerk Bait in about 60 feet of water. Little tunny are tuna all the way, and a 15-pounder always gives a good account of itself.
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Calamari on the Menu

Did our D.O.A. soft baits look like squid? Or do these marauding tunas much care about lures matching a hatch? Whatever the cases. they were stuffed full of calamari!
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Surprise Catch? Understatement!

There’s a story behind this hookup. Note that the Smoke reel I’m using is filled with yellow braid. But wait: when I cast out a lure, I was using dark braid! While retrieving that lure, I found it had hooked someone’s line... someone’s high-vis yellow line. But no one on board was fishing line that color. I started to pull — and told Snyder I could feel something on the line ... moving. So I held it, even allowing it to gently pull some of the braid from between my fingers. I had no idea what it might be nor how bit and like Bilbo tiptoeing around Smaug, I didn’t want to rouse this dragon. Meanwhile, Snyder hurriedly hauled in five or 10 yards of line (from the other end of the line), snipped off my lure and snipped the yellow braid, quickly splicing the two together. He let go, the line came tight — and the fight was on! But with what? (Photo by Jeff Dennis)Jeff Dennis
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Jack's Lucky Day

The fish I caught but never hooked, a 23-pound jack crevalle. Snyder laughs at what for him was also a first. This proved to be the only fish of the day not caught on a D.O.A. lure — sometime recently, the jack had hit a Clarke or similar trolled spoon. After Dennis took a couple of photos, we sent the fish back — free of the spoon and perhaps hundreds of feet of braided line it had been trailing. (Photo by Jeff Dennis)Jeff Dennis
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We ran back to an area in 40 feet near the inlet, hoping one of our bonito, as chum, would attract the packs of big bull sharks that tend to hang out in this hood. Then, we might have a shot at the cobia that often associate with the big animals. Turned out we were hardly the only ones with that idea in mind.
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Speedos Galore

Bull sharks weren’t the only thing attracted by the cut up bonito hanging off our transom. Hordes of bigeye scads (speedos) crowded in looking for scraps.
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Behemoth Bulls

When the bull sharks moved in, I pretty much forgot about cobia. There bulls, swimming just around the boat, looked all of 10 feet and more — truly massive, awesome animals. Just to see them in such close proximity was truly impressive.