Saturday, September 16, 2023


Fishing is slow but should improve when Hurricane Lee rolls by 

“Good morning, Sebastian Inlet fans and fishing fanatics. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! First, I'd like to remind cast netters to please only take the finger mullet you need and  toss the remainder of your catch back into the water alive! This rule is listed on our rules sign board on your way out to the jetty. Bait fish resources are NOT everlasting. Returning your extra catch back to the water helps ensure we have them in the future. It also keeps the jetty clean. Cast netting on the jetty is a privilege and can be revoked at anytime by park management.

Now for the fishing report. Over the weekend I was there Friday through Sunday. For the most part, fishing was slow even though the mullet were running thick. Very early morning high tide and very late evening high tide was producing some snook, but most were oversized and had to go back in the water. I did see a couple of catch-and-release redfish caught, too, along with jack crevalle. Not what you'd expect for the amount of finger mullet around. Also, I did see mangrove snapper caught around the inlet, but not in the numbers as before. My take on the slowdown is that the ocean calmed down; when the mullet are here, the snookies like it roughed up. Also, the water the last few days was showing 87 degrees along the coast — way too warm for this time of the year. Tannic freshwater from the Sebastian river affects the water quality and ultimately, the fishing.

 North jetty — Midweek when it was a bit washed up, there was a pretty good snook bite on the afternoon high tide on live shrimp and finger mullet on the beach side. Also, three to four-inch paddle tail swim baits were getting a few fish on the beach side. There were nice catch-and-release redfish and monster tarpon in the mix. As the ocean calmed back down, so did the fishing. There were hordes of mullet, but nothing attacked them until just before dark when they decided to feed again, but it still was slow. The mangrove snapper bite is still going on with live greenies, but it has slowed down from what it was. One of my friends has been catching his limit everyday around the jetty pilings, with some of them in the 16-inch range. Spanish mackerel were playing nicely, looking for live greenies. I saw plenty of fish in the 16 to 18-inch range caught. Also, nice lookdowns were caught on live greenies and small jigs. All this action was on the high incoming tide. On the outgoing tide at the tip, there were plenty of jack crevalle caught with finger mullet and cut bait. There were a few snook caught, not many that I saw over the weekend, but they were all too big to keep. Live mullet and pigfish were the baits of choice there. A couple of catch-and-release redfish were in the mix. A couple of my friends heard that there were also a couple cubera snappers hooked, but not landed. 

 South jetty: Over here it is a different story. The water is dark, with freshwater flowing out and south along the beach; during tide change, the freshwater returns and never clears. Catfish, stingrays and some puffers are the most being caught. There have been some black margates around along with some jack crevalle and blue runners caught on cut baits.

On the incoming tide, if you can find some clean water, you might find a snook or two wanting to play, and possible a redfish. I saw  one redfish caught Sunday at the tip. The finger mullet are here, but not quite like the north side where they are plentiful. So, yeah, slow over here. 

T-Dock area: Back here, conditions are similar to the south jetty: cloudy, tannin-stained freshwater that has chased everything away. The only baitfish are finger mullet running along the shoreline into the intercoastal. I did see mangrove snappers caught over the weekend, but not in significant numbers. And no keepers, all were small. 

Surf Area, both sides: As I mentioned earlier, the south side is a bust with all the dark freshwater flowing down the beach and not being able to clean up. Catfish and stingrays are the norm. The north side is where all the action is: from the inlet all the way up to Bonsteel park. The reasons: all the mullet and more to come, breezes and waves picking up, and cleaner water. This, my friends, is the area to fish. Snook of all sizes are being caught, along with redfish and big tarpon crashing the mullet schools. You should find some action on live baits, jigs, swim baits and big spoons fished in the surf. The best times to fish: very early mornings when the tide is high, and late evenings when the sun is setting. 

There we have it, folks. Fishing is picking up, as it usually does in the fall when the mullet start showing up. It should improve when the water cools down a bit to where it should be — 78 to 80 degrees — and it should get better. A note for anglers at the jetty and the beach: As the week progresses, winds and waves are going to increase, courtesy of Hurricane Lee as he gets more direct outward from our coast and moves away. The surf is supposed to get to 6 to 8 feet with NNE winds 15 to 20 mph. That all should get the fishing riled up again! Get out, wet a line and see what you can catch for dinner! Be careful out there.” — Snookman


No comments:

Post a Comment