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Which Inlet

Hey folks, hope all are having a great and safe holiday season.  I am located in Palm Harbor just north of Clearwater on the West coast and going to try to come over fish east coast for Mahi, sails etc..all the stuff you need to go crazy far out in the gulf to catch.  I am new to this type of fishing as I just moved down from Maine in July.  I have done a fair amount of research and watched videos of the inlets.  I know conditions are a major factor but what inlet is the most consistent as far as safe conditions to go out of.  I have a few years boating experience but would rather save the pucker factor for a little later on until I get a grip on them.  Last summer I took a drift boat out of boynton beach where I had family living and to say it opened my eyes as far as getting out from the intercoastal is an understatement.  Any help would be great.  Looking for anything from Fort Pierce to Boca Raton. Running a 21' Sea Hunt Ultra w a 150..I know boat doesnt necessarily matter but just a little info.  Thanks and tight lines


  • FrydaddyFrydaddy Posts: 659 Officer
    palm beach inlet is your best bet
  • FrydaddyFrydaddy Posts: 659 Officer
    I normally go out of Boynton but it can get hairy sometimes
  • GarysmoGarysmo Posts: 1,607 Captain
    Ft Pierce inlet is deep and wide so it is usually pretty friendly.  Definitely stay away from sebastian inlet.  I've gone out of St Lucie a couple  of times.   Its much shallower and narrower than Ft Pierce.
  • joekat46joekat46 Posts: 2,847 Captain
    edited December 2019 #5
    I come over from Sarasota about every 6 weeks.  We prefer to go out of Jupiter but we always closely watch the tides and wind direction.  Jupiter is notorious for opposing winds and tides.  Palm Beach (Lake Worth Inlet) or Ft Pierce our two backups.  Good luck.
  • RyanRyan Posts: 61 Deckhand
    Saint Lucie is very user friendly.  Fort Pierce can get very rough at the mouth.  I have personally never had the pucker factor you speak of, however Saint Lucie in my opinion is the most forgiving.  Tough part is dealing with the boat ramp sometimes.  Sandsprit can be annoying on some weekends.  Get on the water before daylight and you are good to go.  Good luck and be safe whichever inlet you choose.
  • Diggity6186Diggity6186 Posts: 150 Deckhand
    St. Lucie is definitely most forgiving between ft. Pierce and jupiter. As long as you understand general navigation of the buoys, you can get right to the mouth before you decide to head out. Others are committed once you get to the mouth. 
  • jlloyd97jlloyd97 Posts: 2 Greenhorn
    edited December 2019 #8
    Palm beach and Ft Pierce safe, and palm beach you are in deep water quickly.  Mid week fishing less hectic than weekends.

    In a 21 you need to watch the weather no matter which you choose.  Also watch for boat wakes in inlet,  again, less an issue on week days. 

    Check out inlet video feeds online.  

    You've seen Boynton, if you have any doubts avoid those inlets. 

  • KnotikoKnotiko Posts: 71 Deckhand
    I fish out of the Fort Pierce Inlet and have never had a problem.  On rough days you can see the ocean before you get to the mouth and can turn around if need be.  I have heard horror stories of other inlets.  That being said every now and then someone has a tough time in the Ft. Pierce inlet, but those days are clearly days you shouldn't be out in the ocean.  This time of year you need to pay attention to the weather forecasts and pull the NOAA buoy readings to see what the waves are actually doing.  Ft. Pierce would be a longer run to reach the palegics you are searching for.
  • brianbbrianb Posts: 2,509 Captain
    Palm Beach is the only actual answer here. Also much closer to the fish you are looking for than Ft. Pierce and that is a goal of your question. 
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski Posts: 16,703 AG
    There are people who video Jupiter inlet just to see disasters, that place is dangerous on a good day.  Palm Beach inlet is pretty big, deep, should be your best bet like others have said.   Boca inlet is narrow and the current is always ripping, but i have seen on these boards people post up reports from a 13 whaler that have gone out and fished and made it back safely.   That and there is no good place to launch to get to Boca that i know of.  But PBI has a few decent spots.   Best bet is to go to a good marina where you truck/trailer are safe. 
    You can't pet a dead dog back to life 
  • joekat46joekat46 Posts: 2,847 Captain
    edited December 2019 #12
    The Phil Foster ramp should be fine if going out of PBI.  If you are worried about your truck/trailer park at the end next to the LEO substation by all the police vehicles.  We used the nearby Jim Barry ramp - once - got an uneasy feeling from some of the ramp "spectators".   Good luck.
  • Aquaholic IVAquaholic IV Posts: 1,069 Officer
    In my opinion and I am biased because I love the Treasure Coast, St. Lucie inlet is a very safe and navigable inlet.  It does get chopping on an outgoing tide with winds out of the East.  I have been through it in a 17 foot boat and now a 22 footer without any concern whatsoever as I have been through treacherous inlets like Haulover in Miami and Hillsboro in Pompano Beach.  Those are dangerous inlets among others, never did Boynton or Boca but heard they can be tricky without "local knowledge".  Further, our boat ramps are safe to park, bathrooms and free parking.  They are all within ten minutes of the inlet.  Sandsprit is the closest, followed by Ocean Blvd./AIA bridge boat ramp and then Indian River Drive Ramp.  Stuart is known as "The Sailfish Capital" and frequently Sailfish are as shallow as 60 feet.  There are Cobia among all the bottom fish imaginable and inshore fishing is amazing, also known as the Snook Capital.  Good Luck and catchem up!
  • joekat46joekat46 Posts: 2,847 Captain
    Good post.  We have used Sandspirit when going for the Peck's macks.  Nice ramp with zero trash receptacles.  We were told that is intentional.  If it ever calms down will run over again in the near future.  Good luck. 
  • brianbbrianb Posts: 2,509 Captain
    It's amazing to me that when OP asks "what inlet is the most consistent as far as safe conditions to go out of" from Ft. Pierce to Boca why some of you are making other suggestions then Palm Beach. It's inarguable and objectively the best inlet by far. It's like your giving a fisherman with a 21' boat bad advice just because of your geographic bias. 
  • 2amigo2amigo Posts: 8,923 Admiral
    What Brianb said. I go out of Boynton but would never recommend  it to somebody traveling here who is requesting “ which inlet”.  I have been out of every inlet from ft. Pierce to government cut. From what the OP is saying and where he wants to go, Palm Beach (formally Lake Worth) inlet is the only choice here. 
  • RyanRyan Posts: 61 Deckhand
    edited December 2019 #17
    So I am giving him bad advice?  Very interesting I was just sharing my local knowledge and my experiences.  Unlike some when advice is asked no one responds or they give them a BS answer.  Sounds like you know best!  Keep up the good work!
  • KnotikoKnotiko Posts: 71 Deckhand
    Ive never been out of palm beach inlet.  My two cents are what they are.  OP use the recommendations on here to make your own decision.  For what its worth i have not seen any bad advise on this thread, just recommendation.

    "If you cant say anything nice, dont say anything at all" -- Said someone.
  • MaineOffShoreMaineOffShore Posts: 157 Deckhand
    I appreciate all of the advice!! From my point of view I take them all into consideration just like reviews on gear.  It is all good info, when I combine that with the research I have done online it gives me a good feel for which one to use.  I also like the info on safe parking and some of the fishing.  I expect there to be biased opinions BUT that is also coming from people who most likely us that inlet alot and have probably been out in all types of conditions so they have a good feel of what it is like on blue bird days and days not so nice.  Again I appreciate all the help.  I am sure I will be pocking your brains some more about stuff too in the near future
  • Kevinwwings2Kevinwwings2 Posts: 1,279 Officer
    My first choice would be Palm Beach, with St Lucie as second, Ft Pierce third. Palm Beach is the safest, and closest to deep water, for your desired species. The ramps and parking are all $$, and St Lucie there is no charge, the inlet is safe, provid3 you pay attention to the weather, and the depth zone you likely want is 6-7 miles out, and live bait can be fairly easy to find. Ft Pierce should actually be second, except that the 120’ range is more like 15 miles out if I recall right. 
      I would suggest doing a little messaging with some of the people here, and other places like Facebook and you may find a local that will take ya fishing and show ya the ropes. Getting a little first hand experience around here or anywhere can certainly up your odds on future visits. 
  • DrCokeDrCoke Posts: 193 Deckhand
    Your coming in July, launch out of lake worth inlet. Water is deep enough for cruise ships and very easy navigation. Reef fishing in 120ft is about maybe 3 miles if that. Great for everything on bottom including mutton. Drift a bait on top while bottom fishing will get you king/Bonita/sailfish/wahoo/cobia/dolphin. Can venture out 250ft and drift for mostly sailfish and dolphin. With our summer months in palm beach, watch the weather! I would be extremely careful of storms from the west. Also west winds don’t catch much fish. SE
    is preferred 
  • Ron38SpecialRon38Special Posts: 121 Deckhand
    edited March 2020 #22
    Palm Beach, 39' deep! Just keep away from the North side coming in. The shoal is building there and the break can come into the inlet.

    PM me if you ever want to know the status, I monitor it on a daily basis for our ship traffic.
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