Ponce Inlet Offshore Fishing Report


September brings the end to an incredible summer of fishing experienced offshore. The fun mangrove snapper fishing was complimented by the 3 day mini red snapper season at the end of last month. Now that the water is transitioning into fall, anglers can experience great fishing from the beach to the Gulf Stream.

Large numbers of tarpon and sharks should still be found off the beach to 70’ of water north or south of the inlet following the schools of bait. Slow trolling live bait in front of the inlet on the outgoing tide or sight casting on the bait pods is a good place to start. Do not ignore any shrimp boats as the fish could be close behind the working boats. Set up a drift using a safe distance behind a shrimp boat (preferably one that is culling the catch) and fish with free lined live and dead baits. Also try to pick up some of the fresh chum discarded from the shrimper and inject air using a hypodermic needle in every few baits to allow it to float on the surface for a dramatic tarpon bite.

Grouper, sea bass, red eyes and other snapper will be caught by angler’s bottom fishing near shore, intermediate artificial reefs and natural live bottom. Cut herring and squid on double rigs will capture most of the stringer fish but don’t be alarmed if a big grouper or snapper inhales the smallest of baits. Larger fish can be specifically fished using a long leader single rig with a fresh live bait or big chunk bait. Be sure to have a venting tool and de-hooker at the ready to release the numerous red snapper that will be caught now that the summer ritual of cold water on the bottom fades out.

Further offshore, amberjacks, porgies, triggerfish, snapper and grouper can be found from the 26-28 fathom ledges out to the steeples. Blue water trolling action will be improving each day after Labor Day weekend as sailfish, wahoo and dolphin will be caught by anglers practicing for the upcoming 15th annual New Smyrna Beach Billfish Invitational. Please visit www.nsbbi.com and www.nsbbt.com to see the events fun activities. Current edges, temperature breaks and rips will be the best place to troll a spread of naked swimming ballyhoo with a bigger wahoo bait in the mix. Keep an on the bottom machine that will mark the pods of bait that hold sailfish and other striking fish in the blue water. It will look like Mexico or south Florida when the bait pods come up to the surface and numerous sailfish will be balling the bait.

Capt. Jon Zeller
New Smyrna Beach Billfish Invitational Sport Fishing Charters (386) 290-4181 www.nsbbi.com