Port Canaveral & Banana River – September 2023

Snook often stack up along drop offs in the Banana River this month. Live baits are usually the best to use when kids are on the boat.


PORT CANAVERAL: Anglers are looking forward to the awesome fishing action that will come about during the month of September. This is when the waters outside of the Port’s entrance come “alive” with millions of fingerling to full-sized mullet as they begin their southward journey known as the “Fall Mullet Run.”  Hot on their tails will be just about every known predator that swims in our near-coastal waters. Witnessing tarpon and king mackerel “sky rocket” through these mullet schools will get your heart thumping with anticipation of a strike on that next cast. Schools of jack, bluefish and Spanish mackerel make the waters boil from their relentless attacks on these mullet pods. Watching the carnage will make you understand quickly that you don’t want to be reincarnated as a mullet. If you have never seen this phenomenon in full effect, then you really don’t understand how much power and aggression these predatory fish have when they go on the attack. My charter fishing customers that know will re-book with me time and time again. The fall mullet run along the Space Coast is a spectacle that you can only believe once you’ve seen it in person.

The key to this type of fishing is to find the “action zone.” This is where the baitfish are fleeing for their lives. Showering mullet and explosions that look like cannonballs hitting the water are tell-tail signs that you’re in the right spot. Once you have found this type of action, half the battle is over with. The next is whether you decide to use live baits or artificial lures. Personally, I think it depends on what you want to catch. If redfish, flounder, tarpon, king mackerel or snook are your primary targets, stick with a live fingerling mullet on a ½ to ¾ ounce jig head. If you just want some action, try casting Krocodile, crippled herring, or cast champ spoons, Rapala’s X-Rap lipped diving plug, or a large topwater plug through the mullet and you should have a great time catching plenty of fish.

BANANA RIVER LAGOON: If the water quality stays good this month, anglers can expect a mixed bag of species. Juvenile tarpon are a good possibility for anglers fishing in the residential canals of Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach and Satellite Beach this month. Look for areas that have good glass minnow concentrations to find the best numbers. Small flies and jigs work very well on these fish. If you don’t have any luck with artificial lures try a live pilchard or fingerling mullet rigged on a small circle hook. Larger tarpon may still be found near the dredge holes near the Pineda Causeway Bridge. These fish will usually eat a chunk of cut ladyfish fished on the bottom, or a live mullet or pogie rigged under a float. Mangrove snapper are generally a good bet, too, near causeway bridge pilings for anglers using live shrimp.

Speckled trout and redfish catches on the flats tend to happen in the early mornings at this time of the year due to the heat, but as we get farther into the month you may find the afternoon and evening periods becoming best if we have rain each day that will help to cool the water a bit. Usually, the rain will bring the temperature down from the lower 90’s to the middle 80-degree range. Crank baits like the Rapala Scatter Rap or Shallow Shad Rap can be extremely effective on fish holding in the 3- to 5-foot depths on the edges of the flat if the weeds and grass don’t interfere with the open hooks on these types of lures..

Until next time…Catch a memory!

Capt. Jim Ross
Fineline Fishing Charters
(321) 636-3728

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