Rick Murphy

Welcome to the Fort Pierce Sportfishing Club

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, January 18th, at 7 pm.

Club News

Monthly Meeting – Wednesday, January 18th

Guest Speaker this month is Capt Justin Rieger of Just in Time Charters.  Tonight’s topic will focus on fishing for cobia.

2017 Schedule of Fishing Tournaments and Local Events
January 10-14 (Tuesday-Saturday)
January 13-15 (Friday-Sunday)
January 14 (Saturday)
January 28 (Saturday)
Discount offered for FPSC members interested in joining Tow BoatUS
FPSC is recognized by BoatUS as a COOPERATING GROUP. BoatUS, Boat Owner’s Association of the United States, the nations’ largest Association of recreational boat owners, promotes the Cooperating Group program which allows a BoatUS Membership at a reduced price and additional benefits to members of the group at no cost! If you are a member of the Club, contact Capt Stan before you join BoatUS and you’ll save $15 on a membership fee. Just another benefit derived from you Club membership.

St. Lucie County Artificial Reef Program

(all updates submitted by Jim Oppenborn)

Artificial Reef Materials

To date, the Artificial Reef Program has collected 10,000 pounds of concrete light poles from PowerSecure. All light poles were donated, delivered, and offloaded by PowerSecure (see photo). The Program now has enough light poles to construct maximum profiles on the upcoming deployments with which to attract pelagic baitfish.

The Program also has 322 tons of concrete railroad ties from Rocla Ties. All materials were donated, transported and stockpiled by Rocla (see photo). The Program has enough materials for the upcoming shallow water barge/1,000-ton concrete deployment on the Lee E. Harris site.

The Program is meeting in February 2017 to discuss various topics, including the deployment of the 195’ McCulley Marine Services barge and enhance it with additional materials. Options include (1) deploying the barge in deep water [z=180′-200’] or (2) deploying the barge in relatively shallow water [z=120’]. Either deployment will include adding 1,500 tons of concrete and limestone special modules to enhance the complexity of the reef. One of the advantages of the limestone modules is that they also make interesting attractions for divers. This advantage would be lost to all, but a few divers, as depth approaches 200’.

Disposition of the Tug Kathleen after Hurricane Matthew

The tug was not damaged or moved by Hurricane Matthew. St. Lucie County’s Media Department has edited and posted the videos of both McCulley Marine Services’ deployment and SeaRover Services’ post-deployment dive at www.stlucieco.gov/reefs. Enclosed is a link to an article in the TCPalm on the Tug Kathleen, including the video clips.

Update on the Tug Kathleen

Weather has finally allowed for post-deployment dives on the Tug Kathleen (see photo). Inspection revealed:

  • She has not moved
  • She has not broken apart
  • There is a 5′ scour hole at the bow (sleeping habitat for a loggerhead turtle)
  • Depth of the reef ranges from 140′ (seafloor) to 114′ (apex of reef)
  • The tug has attracted schooling baitfish
  • Red snapper have colonized the reef
  • Reef coordinates are:  27* 23.810′, 80* 01.497′

For more information on the barge and the County’s Artificial Reef Program, email Jim Oppenborn at  oppenbornj@stlucieco.org.






State Fisheries News

FWC’s monthly newsletter for January, Fishing in the Know, is available for viewing
The January 2017 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.
FWC Saltwater Fishing Regulations for 2017

Know or keep a copy of the current regulations with you. Saltwater Regulations publications are issued in January and July. Pick up a copy today at most tackle supply stores or print them online at MyFWC.com/Fishing.

FWC’s Gone Coastal column is back in action and available on YouTube

After a long hiatus, Gone Coastal, FWC’s Marine Fisheries Management column is back in action with some changes. This month’s article is on bluefish. In addition to informative articles, FWC posts videos on a variety of subjects on its YouTube channel, FWC Saltwater Fishing. You can also view these videos by going to MyFWC.com/SaltwaterFishing. Check out new updates weekly on various subjects from how-to videos to artificial reef deployments.

Gone Coastal is one of many ways that FWC is helping recreational anglers understand complex saltwater regulations and learn more about saltwater fishing opportunities and issues in Florida. FWC is also available to answer questions by phone or email anytime, and welcomes the opportunity to share information through in-person presentations with recreational or commercial fishing organizations. To contact the FWC’s Regulatory Outreach subsection, call 850-487-0554 or email Saltwater@MyFWC.com.

For more information on this quarterly column, click here.

An Angler’s Guide to Florida’s Marine Resources, the new edition of Fishing Lines is now available

This guide was developed by FWC’s Division of Marine Fisheries Management Outreach and Education Program as an educational tool to provide the public with information about Florida’s marine resources.

This publication includes articles about marine angling, important habitats, saltwater fishes and state efforts to enhance marine resources. Information is also included about fisheries management in Florida, the importance of catch and release, where money comes from and where it goes and that’s just the first half of the guide.

The second half of Fishing Lines has a field guide to help anglers and the public identify some of the many fish species that live in Florida’s marine and estuarine waters. Illustrations and descriptions for 145 species are included in the Identification Section.

Note:  The guide is an excellent source of fishing-related information and is recommended reading for anyone interested in Florida’s marine resources.

To download a copy of the guide, click here.

Mutton snapper management changes effective January 1, 2017

Management changes were approved at FWC’s September 2016 meeting in St. Augustine. Public input from several workshops in February and August 2016 was considered by FWC when making these changes. Starting January 1, 2017, the following changes will be in effect:

  • Recreational, commercial, importation and sale minimum size limits will be 18 inches in all state waters.
  • Recreational bag limit will be five fish per person within the 10-fish snapper aggregate bag limit in all state waters.

Though mutton snapper is not overfished or undergoing overfishing, the 2015 stock assessment indicated that the population is smaller than previously estimated. Atlantic federal fishery managers recently approved measures that would make Atlantic federal regulations similar to the recent state changes. These changes are intended to prevent harvest from exceeding the planned federal quotas, or number of fish that can be harvested. For more information on these management changes, click here.

The recreational harvest of several grouper species in state and federal waters of the South Atlantic, including Monroe County, closes January 1, 2017

This seasonal closure includes gag, black, red, yellowmouth and yellowfin groupers as well as scamp, red hind, rock hind, coney, and graysby. State waters in the Atlantic are from the shoreline out to 3 nautical miles. The harvest of these species of grouper in Atlantic state waters will remain closed through April 30, reopening May 1. The harvest closure was established to ensure the long-term sustainability of Atlantic grouper species. For more information on this species, click here.

The recreational harvest for snook in state and federal waters of the South Atlantic closed December 15, 2016

The recreational harvest for snook will be closed December 15 through January 31, 2017, in state and federal waters of the Atlantic, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River. Anglers may continue to catch and release snook during the closed season. The recreational harvest season for snook will reopen February 1, 2017.

State and federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including Monroe County and Everglades National Park, closed December 1, 2016, and will reopen to harvest March 1, 2017. This seasonal closure is designed to help protect the species during vulnerable times, such as cold weather.

For more information on snook and snook regulations, click here.

New law for lobster harvest aims to deter poachers

An amendment to the Florida Statute pertaining to lobster harvest went into effect on October 1, 2016, giving authorities more latitude in prosecutions for those who harvest undersized spiny lobster. The amendment specifies that each undersized spiny lobster found in a violator’s possession may be charged as a separate offense. FWC hopes this change will encourage lobster harvesters to really pay attention and measure any lobster they harvest from Florida waters.

Measuring devices are required and lobsters harvested while diving must be measured while they are in the water. If its carapace length is not longer than 3 inches, the lobster must be left in the water. Size and bag limits exist to conserve the resource and ensure that lobsters are around for the next generation to enjoy.

The recreational harvest season for spiny lobster in Florida is from August 6 to March 31. For more information, click here.

Hogfish conservation measures and boundaries established

FWC approved several conservation measures that are consistent with federal rules and set a new state management boundary for hogfish at the November meeting in St. Petersburg.

Hogfish is overfished and undergoing overfishing in the Florida Keys and east Florida. Federal law requires the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to end overfishing immediately and implement a 10-year rebuilding plan. Because most hogfish off the Keys and east Florida are taken in Florida state waters, consistency with similar regulations pending approval in Atlantic federal waters is necessary to rebuild the stock. The effective date for the state waters changes has not been determined, but once confirmed, a date will be posted on MyFWC.com and will be sent out via an additional press release.

The new state management boundary between the Keys/east Florida stock and Gulf of Mexico stock will be a line due west of Cape Sable, which is on the Gulf side of Florida. Some of the approved conservation changes include:

  • lowering the Atlantic recreational daily bag limit from five to one fish per harvester;
  • setting an Atlantic recreational harvest season of May 1 through October 31; and
  • increasing the Atlantic recreational minimum size limit from 12 to 16 inches fork length.

The size limit increase and recreational season will allow Atlantic hogfish more opportunities to spawn before entering the fishery and, along with a bag limit change, will help rebuild the Keys/east Florida hogfish population to sustainable levels.

For more information on these changes and the new management boundary, click here.

FWC sets new barracuda size limits for south Florida

At the Commission meeting earlier this month in St. Petersburg, FWC approved creating a slot limit of 15 to 36 inches allowing for one fish greater than 36 inches per person or per vessel, whichever is less in some south Florida counties. These changes will go into effect January 1, 2017.

These changes will apply in state and federal waters off Collier, Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Martin counties only and do not include St. Lucie and Indian River counties.

  • Creating a recreational and commercial slot limit of 15 to 36 inches fork length.
  • Allowing the harvest of one fish larger than 36 inches per person or vessel per day, whichever is less.

Possession limits off Collier, Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin counties became effective November 1, 2015, to prevent further declines and conserve barracuda in the region.

FWC will continue to monitor barracuda through data collected during FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute underwater surveys, and ongoing recreational and commercial catch data collection. Recreational anglers can report their catches using data-reporting programs like the Snook and Gamefish Foundation’s iAngler app and Angler Action website.

For more information on barracuda and these changes, click here.

FWC’s Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs

The Saltwater Grand Slams Program and two new Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs – the Saltwater Fish Life List and the Saltwater Reel Big Fish – encourage anglers to target a diversity of species, thereby decreasing fishing pressure on any given species as well as expanding fishing experiences for seasoned anglers, cultivating an interest in saltwater fishing and strengthening marine fisheries conservation ethics.

Saltwater Fish Life List

Can you catch them all? Similar to a birding life list, this program allows anglers to track their progress at catching 71 different species of saltwater fish. Anglers who catch at least 10 different Life List species can join the Saltwater Fish Life List Club and receive a certificate of accomplishment, a colorful shirt and be eligible for additional prizes. There are four prize tiers total (10, 30, 50 and 71 fish clubs). Print your Saltwater Fish Life List or request to receive one by mail today at CatchaFloridaMemory.com.

Saltwater Reel Big Fish

Don’t let that whopper of a fish turn into just a whopper of a story. Celebrate your memorable-sized catches by participating in the Saltwater Reel Big Fish program. This program includes 30 different species in both adult and youth (under 16 years old) categories. Successful participants will receive a certificate of accomplishment and a colorful shirt in recognition of their achievement. Anglers who catch 5, 10, 15 or all 30 Saltwater Reel Big Fish species can also gain recognition and the chance to win prizes by joining the Saltwater Reel Big Fish Club.

Saltwater Grand Slams

The FWC has nine different Saltwater Grand Slams that award anglers for catching three different specified fish species within a 24-hour period, and the categories may surprise and challenge you. From the Inshore Grand Slam consisting of red drum, spotted seatrout and flounder, to the Florida Grand Slam of permit, tarpon and bonefish, these challenges will make you work to increase your fishing skills. The program even includes a Small Fry Grand Slam for anglers 15 and under who catch a pinfish, catfish and grunt. Successful anglers will receive a certificate of accomplishment and a colorful shirt showing the fish from their Grand Slam. There are also three prize tiers that award anglers who catch three, six or all eligible Grand Slams.

For more information on the Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs, 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.

Federal Fisheries News

SAFMC’s Fall newsletter, South Atlantic Update, is available for viewing
The 2016 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 to host a series of public hearings and scoping meetings in January

SAFMC will hold a series of public hearing/scoping meetings and webinars throughout Florida this month to collect public input on proposed management measures for yellowtail snapper, red snapper options and more. For more information on these sessions, click here.

NOAA Fisheries announces red snapper will remain closed to recreational fishing in South Atlantic federal waters in 2016.

For more information on this subject, click here.

Recreational harvest of lesser amberjack, almaco jack and banded rudderfish in federal waters of the South Atlantic reopened December 2, 2016

NOAA Fisheries closed the recreational harvest of lesser amberjack, almaco jack and banded rudderfish on August 9, 2016, as it was projected the catch limit (267,799 pounds whole weight) would be reached by that date. However, a landings update indicates the catch limit for these jacks has not yet been met, thus, the recreational harvest reopened December 2, 2016. Note that this announcement does not include greater amberjack.

The recreational harvest of these jacks will not close again in 2016 unless the catch limit is reached or projected to be reached. The 2017 fishing season for these species reopens on January 1, 2017.

Recreational harvest of hogfish in federal waters of the South Atlantic closed November 30, 2016

The recreational harvest of hogfish has reached the recreational catch limit of 85,355 pounds whole weight for 2016. As a result, the recreational harvest of hogfish in federal waters of the South Atlantic will be closed for the remainder of 2016. This closure is necessary to protect the hogfish stock by limiting the amount of landings that exceed the recreational catch limit. Federal waters will reopen to the recreational harvest of hogfish on January 1, 2017.

During the closure, the recreational harvest or possession of hogfish is prohibited in or from federal waters in the South Atlantic. For more information on this announcement, click here.
Recreational harvest of greater amberjack in federal waters of the South Atlantic closed November 30, 2016

The recreational harvest of greater amberjack has reached the recreational catch limit of 1,167,837 pounds whole weight for 2016. As a result, the recreational harvest of greater amberjack in federal waters of the South Atlantic will close from November 30, 2016, through February 28, 2017. This closure is necessary to protect the greater amberjack resource by limiting the amount of landings that exceed the recreational catch limit. Federal waters will reopen to the recreational harvest of greater amberjack on March 1, 2017.

During the closure, the recreational harvest or possession of greater amberjack is prohibited in or from federal waters in the South Atlantic. This regulation does not affect the recreational harvest of greater amberjack in state waters of the South Atlantic. For more information on this announcement, click here.
NOAA Fisheries seeks public comment on hogfish (Amendment 37 to the Fishery Management Plan) for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region

NOAA Fisheries is proposing to manage hogfish in the South Atlantic as two populations: (1) Georgia through North Carolina and (2) Florida Keys/East Florida. A population assessment determined that the Florida Keys/East Florida population is undergoing overfishing (rate of removal is too high) and is overfished (population abundance is too low) and, therefore, in need of a rebuilding plan. The overfishing and overfished status of the Georgia/North Carolina population is unknown.

The comment period on Amendment 37 ends on January 17, 2017.

For more information, click here.

NOAA Fisheries announces new Text Message Alert Program

NOAA Fisheries announces the introduction of the Text Message Alert Program. The program allows anyone to sign up to receive important fishery related alerts via text message. Text alerts you may receive include immediate fishery openings and closures as well as any significant changes to fishing regulations that happen quickly.

How to opt-in: Sign up for related alerts for one or more of the following groups. Standard message & data rates may apply. You may opt-out at any time.
  • South Atlantic Recreational Fisheries: Text SATLRECFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Commercial Fisheries: Text SATLCOMMFISH to 888777
  • Caribbean Fisheries: Text CARIBFISH to 888777
  • Gulf of Mexico Recreational Fisheries: Text GULFRECFISH to 888777
  • Gulf of Mexico Commercial Fisheries: Text GULFCOMMFISH to 888777

Sharing Knowledge

Club 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

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