Vero Beach Best Fishing Here

Vero Beach Best Fishing Here

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PictureBest Vero Beach Fishing Spots

So you want to know where the best fishing spots in Vero Beach are? It depends on few different things.

It depends on where you want to fish...

It depends on what you want to fish for...

It depends upon what season it is...

It also depends upon if you have a boat, kayak, paddleboard or if you just plan on shore fishing or wade fishing.

I am anINSHORE FISHING GUIDEon the Treasure Coast of Florida and I have been fishing the flats and beaches all over Florida for more than 40 years.

In the article below, I will tell you where the best spots to catch fish are during the different seasons; I will tell you the best baits and tackle to use; I will tell you where to find fish on the grass flats, beaches, inlets, tidal creeks and much more.

Watch the video below to see a fun morning beach fishing the August bait run.
Best Vero Beach Fishing Spots--Off the Beach

The beach is a great place to catch fish all year long. All of the beaches hold fish. Some people swear the some are better than others but I disagree. All you have to do is find life like birds diving on bait schools; birds eating sand fleas in the sand or fish jumping and you are good to go.

We have lots of different fish migrations that come rolling through Vero Beach every year. I like to fish for tarpon, sharks, snook, bluefish, mackerel, pompano and whiting off of the beach. Those are the species that I will focus on.

TARPON, SNOOK, BLACKTIP SHARKS--The best time to catch a tarpon, snook and sharks off of the beach is during the bait migrations that happen from August through November. In August, the red minnow migration usually happens and millions of little minnows get pummeled by every predator within miles.

This is an amazing thing to see. The minnows will hug the shoreline within inches of stranding themselves as the are preyed upon by tarpon, sharks, snook, jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, mangrove snapper, mutton snapper and just about everything else.

You will want to "match the hatch" which means that you will want to use a lure that mimics a minnow. The white DOA CAL with a one ounce red jig head is my go to lure for the minnow run. You don't need to cast more the 20 feet from shore if it is during the high tide.

During the higher parts of the tide the predators can get at the minnows and they will be at your feet. I have literally had small sharks swim between my legs in shin deep water to get at the minnows washed in by the waves. I have also seen 100 pound tarpon in the wave trough within 3 feet of the beach.

When the tide is lower the predators can't get at them so they will be further out usually. A small silver spoon is another great lure for tarpon, snook and sharks during the minnow run because it can cast a lot farther than a DOA CAL.

You will start to get anchovies, thread fin herrings, sardines and other white baits that will move in schools with the minnows as we get closer to the Fall Mullet Run. This is the best time of year to fish the beaches in Florida.

There are usually a few smaller waves of mullet and then the big one with millions of mullet on the beaches and everywhere else that there is salt water.

Once the mullet show up you will have to switch your lures to a more mullet like bait. Think cigar with a few treble hooks hanging off of it. The great thing about the imitation mullet lures is that you can cast them a mile. I like to use an 8 inch pencil popper lure and my 10 foot surf casting rod to target big tarpon and blacktip sharks during the mullet run.Learn more about the best tarpon and blacktip shark lures.

Sometimes the Fall Mullet Run starts in September if we get a hurricane or tropical storms to get the bait moving. If we don't have any storms the mullet might now show up in mass until the end of September or the beginning of October. It is over by November.


In my opinion, the perfect all around rod and reel combo for inshore fishing is a 3500 series reel and a 7 foot medium strength, fast action rod. Fill the spool with 15 pound braided line and use a 20 pound leader.

I have used many different rods and reels over the last 40 years of fishing like Diawa, Shimano and Penn. 

My favorite line of reels that are out now is the Penn Spinfisher series reels. They are smooth, tough; have great drag systems; and best of all a sealed body so sand and water don't get inside the reels.

They are perfect for surf fishing, wade fishing and kayak fishing. (Any fishing technique that makes it likely for water or sand to get in them)

You can expect to pay $150 plus for these reels. BUT they are worth it.

My second favorite non-sealed reels are the Diawa BG reels.

They are the reels that I use on my flats boat because I know that they are unlikely to get dunked in the water or to get beach sand in them.

You can expect to pay $100 plus for these reels. They are a great bargain in my opinion.

PRO TIP---The predators will be under and surrounding the mullet schools looking for weak and injured fish. You will want to cast your lure or bait to the outskirts of the mullet school. It makes it easier for the predatory fish that you are seeking to be able to find your bait.

Watch the video below and catch more snook off of the beach.

POMPANO and WHITING--Once the water temperatures get in the mid 70s you will start to see the pompano and whiting show up in decent numbers on the beaches. You will know when they start running because the die hard surf fishermen will have their rods set up in lines going down the beach for a mile.

The best bait for pompano and whiting is sand fleas a.k.a. mole crabs. Just go to your local tackle store and get 4 or 5 pompano rigs and pyramid sinkers between 1 and 4 ounces. If there are lots of waves or a lot of current you will need to use more lead. If it is nice and calm with very small waves then a one ounce sinker will work. If you can't get any sand fleas, then you will want to use frozen shrimp or clam strips.

You can also catch them with banana jigs. This is a really fun way to catch pompano and whiting in the surf. Just cast your jig out as far as you can and bounce it on the bottom back to you slowly with a few pauses. If there are fish in the area of your lure you will find out pretty quickly.Learn more about fishing with pompano jigs.

If you are not getting any bites, then move down the beach until you find the schools of pompano and whiting. They often feed together. It is better to keep moving until you find something to bite. Don't waste your time fishing in a dead zone. Pompano and whiting stay on the move until the find a food source. Then they will stick around that area for a while.

The pompano usually are mostly gone in Vero Beach by May as the water temperatures get too hot for them. Pompano like the water temperatures to be between about 62 and 75 degrees. It is usually too hot for them by May unless there were some late cold fronts that came through the region. Once the water temperatures get over 75 degrees they will migrate back up north.

Watch the video below and catch more pompano off of the beach.


Best Vero Beach Fishing Spots--Grass Flats

Most of the fishing that I do is from a kayak on or near the grass flats around Vero Beach. I love this environment because it holds so many different fish species. There are snook, tarpon, redfish, spotted sea trout, black drum, mangrove snapper, flounder and much more...

A can't miss way to catch whatever you want on the grass flats is to use live bait. If you don't know how to use a cast net you should learn if you want to maximize your catch. Unless the bite is ferocious a live bait will outperform a lure 8 out of 10 times. If you don't want to catch your own bait just go to your local bait and tackle store and get a couple dozen live shrimp.

Get your live bait and attach a float that allows your bait to be within a foot or two of the bottom. It doesn't matter if you are in a kayak, flats boat, paddle board or whatever. Just send your bait out and drift the grass flats until you find out where the fish are. Don't waste your time fishing in dead zones.Once you find them you can drop your anchor and stay a while.

If you are wade fishing the grass flats you will want to cover as much ground as possible until you find fish. The same set up will work for you too. 

SNOOK, TARPON, REDFISH, SPOTTED SEA TROUT-- These are the big four that you will probably be targeting most often on the grass flats. A great lure to use for all of them is the white DOA CAL with a 1/8 ounce red jig head. A silver or gold spoon is another great lure to use on the grass flats. If it is real early in the morning, late in the day or very cloudy, then a walk the dog type of top water lure will work very well too.Learn more about the best top water lures.

FLOUNDER-- Flounder are a very prevalent fish on the grass flats but you will usually need to use a different technique to catch one. They are very slow and calculating so a slow retrieve will work the best for flounder. When you are out on the flats look for the sandy spots within the grassy areas. Flounder and other predators will be waiting in the sandy spots to ambush prey as the tide washes food to them.Learn how to catch more flounder.

The best lure for flounder is a scented Berkely Gulp bait. I like to use a white 3 inch Berkeley Gulp shrimp or white swimming mullet with a 1/8 ounce red jig head. Natural color combinations are also a good choice if you don't have any white ones. Just send it up current and slowly bounce it back to you through the sandy spot a few times. If you don't get any bites find another sandy spot and repeat the process.

Watch the video below and catch more spotted sea trout on the flats.

Best Vero Beach Fishing Spots--Mangroves

The mangroves are a great place to catch tarpon, sheepshead, mangrove snapper, snook, redfish, black drum and many other mangrove denizens. A live shrimp under a float will work very well for all of these fish as long as the bait is within a foot or two of the mangrove roots. Any further out and you will probably not get a bite.

A live finger mullet or pilchard will catch you redfish and snook if they are around. Use a float with about 3 feet of 30 pound leader just in case there are a few big ones in the mangrove roots. Snook will head straight towards structure once they know that they are hooked. You will probably want to have a 4000 series reel or bigger and a medium/heavy rod to get the big ones out of the mangroves.Learn more about the best tackle here.

The best lures for fishing the mangroves are ones that you can accurately cast within a foot or so from the mangrove roots. I like to use the DOA CALs, Berkeley Gulps and any other soft plastics that you can rig weed less. 

A top water or suspending lure that is cast parallel to the mangroves within a couple feet will produce a lot of strikes. I like to use a Mirrolure Suspending Mullet or a walk-the-dog type of top water lure. They work the best in low light conditions like morning and late afternoon.

Watch the video below and catch more tarpon in the mangroves.

Best Vero Beach Fishing Spots--Docks

Docks are a great place to catch snook, flounder and redfish. These fish love structure to hunt and hide from larger predators like dolphin and sharks. If the fish are not biting on the flats or around the mangroves, then the docks are a great place to look for fish. You will have to beef up your tackle because the larger fish will wrap your lines up around the dock pilings.

SNOOK, REDFISH, FLOUNDER-- Most people around Vero Beach think snook when they think about fishing the docks but there are plenty of redfish and flounder there too. This is a great place to pitch a live bait like a shrimp, finder mullet or pilchard. The best way to present a live bait to docks is from up current.

I like to use a float so that I can quietly present the bait to the dock pilings. Just float the bait right up to the dock using the current. This is a much better presentation than casting the bait right to the spot where you think the fish are.

The best artificial lures for dock fishing are soft plastics like the DOA CALs or Berkeley Gulps. You will want to cast up current to the docks when using artificial lures because the predators will be facing into the current. Predators like to let the bait come to them as they lie in wait hiding around the dock pilings.

A slow retrieve with a few pauses every now and again works the best for me. I like to bounce the jig on the bottom as I retrieve it. Make sure to slow it down even more if you are targeting flounder. They like it reeeeeaaaallllyyyyyy slow.Learn to catch more flounder with Gulp Baits.

BLACK DRUM, MANGROVE SNAPPER, SHEEPSHEAD-- Docks are a great place to target black drum, mangrove snapper and sheepshead using a frozen shrimp with a sinker set up. You will want to cast the bait at or under the dock and let it sit until you get a bite.

The key to catching these fish is to use a smaller hook. I like a 1/0 circle hook to target these species. You don't need to set a circle hook because the fish does it for you when it swims away with your bait. I like to dock fish with my kayak but you can wade fish the docks too. Just remember that you cannot touch the dock or walk higher on the shore than the high tide mark. If you do those two things, then you are trespassing and can get in trouble.

Watch the video below and learn how to sight fish for snook around the docks.

Best Vero Beach Fishing Spots--Bridges

Bridges are a great place to catch fish. There are a lot of snook that hang out around the bridge pilings. You can find snapper, sheepshead and grouper too. The problem with fishing around bridges is the current and the depth adds challenges to presenting your bait properly.

The fish will be near the bottom and you will need more weight to get your bait into the strike zone. Live bait works great around bridge pilings. Just put a slide sinker above your bait on your line and send it down current to where the fish are.

SNOOK and GROUPER---Snook and grouper hang out near the bottom of the bridge pilings waiting for prey items to come their way with the current. A pin fish or a mullet on a sinker is a great bait for snook and grouper. It is best to present the bait from up current because the fish will be looking that way.

A flair hawk styled jig is a great lure to fish around bridge pilings. You will usually need one somewhere between 1 ounce and 2 ounces to get it down to the strike zone. The best technique is to bounce it off of the bottom or swim it within a foot or two of the bottom from up current.

You can make it more appealing by adding some scent to the lure. Pro-Cure is a sticky gelatinous goo that fish just love. Add the mullet flavor to your jig and get more hits. You can also add a piece of shrimp to the jig or a Berkeley Gulp Swimming Mullet to the jig for more bites too.

Watch the video below and catch more snook with jigs.

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Saltwater and freshwater fisherman around Florida can benefit from this educational inshore and offshore fishing website. The main geographical focus of the fishing information revolves around these east coast cities: Singer Island, Juno Beach, Jupiter, Tequesta,  Hobe Sound, Port Salerno, Stuart, Sewell's Point, Jensen Beach, Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Wabasso and Sebastian but we hope it will help all Florida fishermen and fisherwomen. It is our sincerest hope that you enjoy it.Fish your ass off Florida!

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