Sebastian Area Inshore Fishing Report and Forecast: July 2017

Big redfish can swarm Sebastian Inlet in July. Photo credit: Capt. Gus Brugger.

The mid-summer season in the Sebastian area is one of stable weather and predictable fishing.

Sebastian River

The top of the list in the Sebastian River in mid-summer is tarpon.  As migratory tarpon arrive in the Sebastian area, they find their way into the north fork of the Sebastian River. Live mullet early and late in the day are the best bet, but jerkbaits, diving plugs, D.O.A. shrimp and topwater can be successful when the fish turn on. Approaching afternoon thunderstorms can spark the tarpon into feeding, but if you can stand the heat, soaking a bait at mid-day has been productive as well. Some big snook continue to reside in the Sebastian River throughout the summer. Fish docks and cover by day and lighted docks and oyster bars in the dark.

Indian River Lagoon

Early morning provides the best chance at trout and reds on the many flats of the central lagoon. Topwater plugs, jerkbaits and live pigfish are good choices. Small pigfish are available in the bait shops this time of year. Fished below a float or free-lined, these inshore members of the grunt family have been favorite summer trout bait for generations. If you are looking for a bigger tug on your string, try floating a live ladyfish on stout gear with wire leader for the bull sharks in the deeper, open areas of the lagoon. Keep an eye open for rolling tarpon, some that can push into the triple digits in these same areas. MirrOlures, flies, jerkbaits and live mullet are good choices to throw at rolling tarpon.  Snook of all sizes will be laid up tight to cover getting out of the sun during the day. Twenty-pound power pro and a D.O.A. shrimp will do the trick.

Sebastian Inlet

This is the time to take advantage of the inlet. The tips of the jetties have always been the best spots this time of year, the north jetty on the outgoing tide, and the south on the incoming. Live bait is the best way to go during the day. Croakers, pigfish, and shrimp are your best choices. There have been so many snook around lately that getting a jig, D.O.A. shrimp or a swimbait down to them has been effective even during the day. Shore bound anglers can also enjoy this great fishery, and possibly be at an advantage, especially at night when live bait is optional and big bucktail jigs and diving plugs are commonly used.

Near Shore Atlantic

The summer time near shore fishery of the Sebastian area is our best chance of the year to catch fish weighing out in the double, and sometime triple digits. Large migrating tarpon, smoker kings, bonito, cobia, dolphin, and even sailfish are possible within small boat range of the inlet. The tarpon are generally within a mile of the beach and they will generally hit a free-lined mullet or greenie tossed in front of them. Keep a light spinner or fly rod with you as well while you are searching for tarpon, chances are you will find as many or more schools of Spanish macks and little tunny busting bait than tarpon.  Slow trolling is easy and productive. I run two lines off my flats boat, a surface line and a downrigger. Stinger rigs made of #4 or #5 wire do fine and baits from a 4-inch greenie to a 14-inch mullet are usable. A seven-foot medium action conventional rod with a TLD15 or 25 is my preference.

FORECAST BY: Capt. Gus Brugger
Pattern Setter Charters
(772) 589-0008

Capt. Gus came to the Sebastian area in the mid 1980s and has been a full-time guide since 1992. You can reach Capt. Gus at (772) 589-0008 or by email. To learn more visit the Pattern Setter website.