Martin County, Florida, is popular with fish. Lots of fish. More than 800 different species within a ten-mile radius of the St. Lucie Inlet, to be exact, according to Dr. Grant Gilmore, a renowned marine scientist.
On the Atlantic coast, Martin County is just 85 miles north of Fort Lauderdale, in the overlap of two climate zones. This environment, along with a healthy reef system and the warm Gulf Stream current, bring lots of fish to these waters.
Which makes for excellent fishing here, regardless of what type of angler you are and what type of fish you like to catch.
Stuart, the county seat, has been called “Sailfish Capital of the World” since the 1950s, and with good reason. A 1949 Palm Beach Times article tells the tale of a fishing captain who ran out of bait and had to turn back after boating 19 ‘sails in a single outing. Sailfish are the fastest marine predators, and in winter months, it’s not uncommon to hook multiple sailfish at one time.
One recent angler tells the story of reeling in a mahi when a marlin came up and ate it. An hour and a half later, the fisherman landed the marlin on a line meant for a mahi. Other salt-water species that lead to mighty fish tales include Wahoo, pompano, grouper, snapper, cobia, sea bass and kingfish.
Martin County is renowned for its fresh-water fishing, too. The county stretches from the Atlantic Ocean on the east to the fresh waters of Lake Okeechobee on the west, with a rich system of rivers and canals in between. It’s possible to fish from Stuart all the way to Fort Myers and the Gulf of Mexico via the Okeechobee Waterway. Snook, tarpon, bass, redfish and seatrout are just a few of the fish that are plentiful and fun to catch inshore.
They call this area Florida’s Treasure Coast. Fishing enthusiasts who visit know why. It’s enough to make you say Wahoo!