Rick Murphy

Welcome to the Fort Pierce Sportfishing Club Site

2013 april Fishing Club Mtg - Whit party 387

Welcome Aboard. . . .

Welcome to the Fort Pierce Sportfishing Club, located in Fort Pierce, the best fishing area in all of Florida. Established in 1980 as a family organization whose members share a common interest in sportfishing, conservation, community service and boating. Our members enjoy both inshore and offshore fishing in local waters that produce spectacular catches in one of the most diverse fisheries anywhere. Come join us the third Wednesday of every month at the Fort Pierce Yacht Club located on the beautiful Indian River starting at 7 pm. Admission is always free and you don’t have to be a member to attend.


Our next meeting is Wednesday, February 17th at 7 pm.


Club News

Guest Speaker for January meeting:  Capt Justin Rieger

Capt Rieger of Just-IN-Time Charters, Jensen Beach, will be talking about fishing tips and Dominick Albanese from Snook Nook Bait and Tackle, Jensen Beach, will talk about rod and reel repair.

Florida Sportsman Expo 2016

The Florida Sportsman Expo 2016 is back again in Fort Pierce on Jan 23-24 at the St. Lucie County Fairgrounds. The Club will be looking for volunteers to man a booth at the Expo. If you’re interested in volunteering, contact the Club officers or Board members listed under the Club Officers & Info tab on the web page. For more information on the Expo, click here.

Fort Pierce Oyster Festival on April 2, 2016

To support this local event and our community, the Club will be running the big beer tent again and hoping to get some volunteers to work in other areas of the Festival.  For more information on the Festival, click here.

4430868_origClub Discount

DeBrooks Fishing Corner, St. Lucie Fishing Center and White’s Tackle offer a 10% discount on items purchased within their stores to members who are currently paid up on their annual membership dues.

discount flyer

Fishing Photos

Most of the available photos of fish caught by Club members have been posted under the Fishing Photo tab on the web page. As a reminder, if you wish to have your photos posted, please email them along with a short narrative either to Leslie or Kalani.

St. Lucie County Artificial Reef Program

Tug Kathleen

Built in 1957, this 70-foot tugboat has been offered to the Reef Program. The owner would like to donate this vessel ASAP. Jim Oppenborn has met with the County to determine if there is a place to moor the tug to be cleaned while the deepwater artificial reef site is being re-permitted. Jim will run a stability analysis on the Kathleen to determine the depths at which she’ll be stable.

In addition to an extensive cleanup, the Reef Program will need to test for PCBs and potentially other pollutants, prepare a U.S. Coast Guard-accepted deployment plan, and get approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Program will accept this vessel only if the County can find a slip for her until cleanup commences. I anticipate cleanup can be accomplished by McCulley Marine Services at Indian River Terminal.

In the future, the Sea-life Habitat Improvement Project (SHIP) may be offered a much larger vessel. If McCulley could demonstrate their ability to prepare vessels at Indian River Terminal, it might help SHIP’s ability to bring a larger vessel to the Treasure Coast.

Please email Jim (oppenbornj@stlucieco.org) if you have recommendations for deploying the Tug Kathleen. Emails should come from as wide a variety of interests (both anglers and divers) as possible.

Tug Kathleen_starboard aft Tug Kathleen_starboard forward

Donated Reef Materials

The Reef Program continues to receive donated materials it plans to deploy next spring or summer. To date, the Program has collected more than 80 tons of materials since August 2015.

121115 Final Pile of Culverts

State Fisheries News

Mutton Snapper Workshops

FWC is hosting a series of public workshops around the state to gather public input and develop a better understanding of the public’s view on management of mutton snapper. Staff will provide a brief presentation about mutton snapper management issues that are currently being worked on and will solicit stakeholder concerns and comments about these issues. Anyone with an interest in management of Florida’s mutton snapper is encouraged to participate. Click here for more information on meeting dates, times and locations.

mutton snapperThe recreational harvest of snook in Atlantic state and federal waters reopens Feb 1, 2016

The recreational harvest season for snook reopens on Feb 1 in 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 May 31.

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.

Click here to view more information.

common snookThe recreational harvest of shallow water grouper species closed in Atlantic state and federal waters, including Monroe County, Jan 1, 2016

The season will remain closed through April 30, 2016. Grouper species that may not be harvested are gag, red, black, yellowfin grouper, yellowmouth grouper, scamp, rock hind, red hind, graysby and coney.

gag grouperFWC approves barracuda conservation measures for south Florida

FWC approved new recreational and commercial bag limits for barracuda for waters off south Florida. The changes will apply in state and federal waters off Collier, Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Martin counties only, and will include a:

  • Recreational and commercial daily bag limit of two fish per person and
  • Recreational and commercial daily vessel limit of six fish per vessel.

These new limits went into effect Nov 1, 2015.

Stakeholders in southeast Florida and the Florida Keys have voiced concerns about declining barracuda numbers observed when fishing and diving. FWC staff gathered public input from concerned stakeholders at workshops conducted earlier this year. The FWC is responding to these concerns by creating bag limits to prevent further declines and conserve barracuda in the region.

The original proposal also included barracuda size limits, however the FWC wants to gather more input from stakeholders before creating additional limits. FWC staff will conduct another series of workshops in south Florida to gather more public input before considering any additional management measures.

Click here for more information.

UPDATE:  Gray triggerfish size limit changes in Atlantic state waters effective Nov 21, 2015

At its Nov 18 meeting in Panama City Beach, FWC approved changes to the gray triggerfish size and bag limits in Atlantic state waters.

The approvals include:

  • In Atlantic state waters – changing the recreational minimum size limit from 14 to 12 inches fork length and creating a 10-fish recreational bag limit
  • Statewide – changing the sale and import size limit from 14 to 12 inches fork length

These changes make Atlantic state water regulations inconsistent with the minimum size requirement (14″) for triggerfish in Atlantic federal waters. These changes will go into effect on Saturday, Nov 21.

Stakeholders expressed that a smaller size limit is more appropriate because gray triggerfish are, on average, smaller in size in state waters off the Atlantic coast of south Florida than they are in other federally managed regions along the Atlantic. FWC realized public input from all areas affected by the size limit change was not received by federal fishery managers.

For more information on the changes, click here.

gray triggerfishNew state permit allows mackerel tournaments to donate catch to benefit charity

With just a no-cost permit, mackerel tournament directors can donate tournament-caught king and Spanish mackerel to a licensed wholesale dealer in exchange for a donation to the charity of the tournament’s choice. While this activity has traditionally occurred at mackerel tournaments in Florida, recent federal regulation changes prohibited the activity unless a state permit was issued.

In addition to helping tournaments raise funds for charity, this permit will help minimize waste of tournament-caught king and Spanish mackerel that otherwise may not have been eaten. FWC approved the creation of this permit at its June 2015 meeting in Sarasota.

Donated fish can be caught in state or federal waters and would have to be handled and iced in accordance with seafood safety standards. Wholesale dealers must be onsite during the weigh-in to obtain the tournament-caught fish. The fish would also have to be identified as tournament catch on commercial trip tickets.

This permit will ensure that tournament-caught fish are not counted toward both the recreational and commercial fishing quotas. Although fish are recreationally caught, they enter the commercial market once donated to a wholesale dealer. Preventing these fish from being double-counted in both the recreational and commercial fishing quotas ensures more accurate landings data and prevents possible negative impacts to the commercial fishery, such as early season closures.

For more information or to apply for a permit, click here.

FWC’s monthly newsletter for February, Fishing in the Know, is available for viewing
The February 2016 issue of the Fishing in the Know newsletter from FWC is available now. To view and/or download a copy of the newsletter, click here.
Discarded monofilament line injures and kills wildlife

Fishing is an important part of the Florida lifestyle as well as its economy. To ensure that this activity doesn’t lead to problems for birds and other wildlife, the FWC wants anglers to know about the potential hazards and sure-fire solutions. FWC warns that monofilament fishing line and fishing hooks can snag and entangle birds, sea turtles and manatees, leading to injury and even death.

For more information on the statewide Monofilament Recovery & Recycling Program, click here.

Nine New Saltwater Grand Slams for Florida

FWC has introduced nine new Saltwater Grand Slams. Grand Slams challenge anglers to catch three specific fish species in a 24-hour period.

The new Grand Slams include:

  • Inshore Grand Slam: red drum, spotted seatrout, flounder
  • Family Slam: any three fish in the same family (example: red drum, black drum and spotted seatrout)
  • Blue Water Slam: dolphin, sailfish, wahoo
  • Florida Grand Slam: permit, tarpon, bonefish
  • Shoreline Slam: sheepshead, whiting, Florida pompano
  • Reefs and Rubble Slam: black sea bass, gag, gray triggerfish
  • Nearshore Slam: cobia, tripletail, king mackerel
  • Bay and Estuary Slam: gray (mangrove) snapper, snook, Spanish mackerel
  • Small Fry Slam (for children 15 and under): pinfish, grunt, catfish

Click here to view more information.

Federal Fisheries News

SAFMC hosting Public Hearings and Scoping Meetings Jan-Feb 2016

SAFMC hosted a series of public hearings and scoping meetings Jan 25-28 to consider proposing management measures for mutton snapper (Amendment 41) and hogfish (Amendment 37).

Amendment 37 proposes a number of management measures for hogfish, including (1) modifying the Fishery Management Unit [based on genetic evidence of 2 distinct stocks]; (2) establishing a rebuilding plan for the Florida Keys/East Florida stock; and (3) recreational measures for each stock. Some of the proposed recreational measures to be modified include an increase in the minimal size limit, reducing the bag limit and establishing a harvest season.

hogfishAmendment 41 proposes a number of management measures for mutton snapper, including modifying the recreational bag limit as well as establishing a recreational harvest season in the South Atlantic Region.

mutton snapperTo find out more about the meetings, meeting schedule, agenda and meeting materials, click here.

NOAA Fisheries announces new regulations for dolphin, wahoo and snapper grouper species effective Jan 27, 2016

The final rule implementing (1) Amendment 7 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Dolphin Wahoo Fishery of the South Atlantic Region and (2) Amendment 33 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 7 and Snapper-Grouper Amendment 33) was published on Dec 28, 2015 (80 FR 80686).

The management measures in Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 7 and Snapper-Grouper Amendment 33 address dolphin, wahoo, and snapper-grouper species lawfully harvested by recreational fishers in the Bahamas and brought into U.S. federal waters.

The final rule will:

  • allow recreational fishermen to bring fillets of dolphin and wahoo from the Bahamas into U.S. federal waters and update regulations that currently allow recreational fishermen to bring snapper-grouper fillets from the Bahamas into U.S. federal waters;
  • specify two fillets are equivalent to one fish for dolphin, wahoo, and snapper-grouper species brought into U.S. federal waters from the Bahamas;
  • require fishers to retain skin on the entire fillet of dolphin, wahoo, and snapper-grouper species;
  • require fishing gear to be stowed while transiting U.S. federal waters from the Bahamas [a vessel carrying fillets of dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper species lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters would not be allowed to stop in U.S. federal waters during the transit];
  • require stamped and dated passports as well as valid current Bahamian cruising and fishing permits to prove that the recreational fishers were in the Bahamas;
  • not allow recreationally caught dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper from the Bahamas to be sold or purchased in the U.S.; and
  • not exempt recreational fishermen from any other Federal fishing regulations such as fishing seasons, recreational bag limits, size limits, and prohibited species.

For more information on the final rule, click here.

New management measures for blueline tilefish, yellowtail snapper and black sea bass approved by SAFMC during the Dec 2015 Meeting
Amendment 25 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan will specify new annual catch limits for blueline tilefish in the South Atlantic, allowing the recreational bag limit to increase from 1 fish per vessel/per day from May – August to a 3 fish per person/day May – August within the 3-fish aggregate grouper bag limit. Recreational harvest is prohibited the remainder of the year.
Amendment 25 will also modify the current fishing year for yellowtail snapper, changing it from a calendar year to an August – July fishing year for both the commercial and recreational fishery. Yellowtail snapper are primarily harvested in South Florida and the Florida Keys. The change was requested by fishermen to allow harvest to continue during the peak tourist season and have any closures that may occur due to meeting the annual catch limit coincide with the spring – summer spawning season.
Amendment 25 also allows for an increase in the current recreational bag limit for black sea bass of 5 fish per person/day to 7 fish per person/day. Once considered overfished, the stock was deemed rebuilt based on the 2013 stock assessment and the annual catch limit more than doubled. While the increase in the bag limit may prove good news to some fishermen, new analyses show that landings of black sea bass are currently limited by the 13″ size limit. On average, less than 1% of anglers are reaching their bag limit and discarding over 12 times more black sea bass than they are landing, with over 95% of those fish estimated to be below the minimum size limit.
For more information on these measures and the Vision Blueprint for the Snapper-Grouper fishery, click here.
SAFMC’s quarterly newsletter, South Atlantic Update, is available for viewing
The fall issue of the South Atlantic Update newsletter from the SAFMC is available now. To view and/or download a copy of the newsletter, click here.
SAFMC quarterly meeting December 11-15 in Atlantic City, NC

During each quarterly Council meeting, committee meetings are held for any fishery that has proposed amendments being developed by the Council. Committees are made up of specific Council members and detailed agendas and documents for each committee meeting are provided to the public prior to the meeting via the Council’s website through a briefing book. To view details of the briefing book and meeting agenda, click here.

The recreational harvest of hogfish in Atlantic federal waters reopened Jan 1, 2016

Anglers may keep a daily bag limit of five hogfish per person; no bag limit elsewhere. Size limit is 12 inches fork length.hogfishThe recreational harvest of golden tilefish in South Atlantic waters reopened Jan 1, 2016

To view more information, click here.

The recreational harvest of shallow water grouper species in Atlantic state and federal waters closed Jan 1, 2016

The season will remain closed through April 30, 2016. Grouper species that cannot be harvested are gag, red, black, yellowfin grouper, yellowmouth grouper, scamp, rock hind, red hind, graysby and coney.

gag grouperThe recreational harvest of snowy grouper in South Atlantic waters closed on September 1, 2015

Recreational harvest in federal waters will reopen on May 1, 2016. To view more information, click here.

The recreational harvest of blueline tilefish in South Atlantic waters closed June 20, 2015.

Recreational harvest in federal waters will reopen on May 1, 2016. To view more information, click here.

Sharing Knowledge

Down Rigger Depth Chart (contributed by Cort Schult)

To download a copy of the chart, click here.

Fishing websites & apps

SAFMC has introduced a mobile app on fishing regulations for the South Atlantic. The apps listed below are free at the App Store on iTunes as well as on Google Play.  Also useful is a flashlight app available on both iTunes and Google Play.

A website useful for local tide information is Tides4fishing.com. If you have other apps or websites that you believe may be useful to the Club members, please email them to the Club at fpsc@live.com.

Also, a number of you recommended getting live bait from Dave Maxwell (Dave’s Live Bait). He can be found most days motoring between the Stan Blum boat ramps and the inlet early in the morning. He’s usually done by 8 am. If he’s on the water, he can be reached at 772-519-2104.

Automated VHF Radio Check Service

We all know that having a functioning VHF radio on board is a necessity. Checking your radio to ensure it is working should be done every time you go out boating. In the past, you used to need to make a radio check request and wait for a response, but no longer.

Now you can do it yourself with Sea Tow’s Automated Radio Check Service. Provided as a FREE public service to boating communities nationwide, Sea Tow’s innovative Automated Radio Check Service reduces the volume of non-urgent communications traffic on VHF channel 16, the international hailing and distress channel, while still allowing you to perform the check to ensure that your radio is functioning properly.

VHF Channel 26 serves Fort Pierce.  Google “Automated Radio Check Service” if you wish to read more info on the service.

Tie Knots Professionally

Tie-KnotsPro-Knot Fishing Salt Water Description:

NEW! Featuring knots for fluorocarbon and Spectra. Includes the new Seaguar (fluorocarbon to mono) Knot introduced by the Japanese reps from the Seaguar factory to West Coast tackle shops in early 2003. Also has the rarely published San Diego Jam Knot which can be tied reliably and easily in monfilament, braided and fluorocarbon lines! Read the rest of this entry