February is the start to our snook season for 2023 and Sebastian Inlet is where most anglers will be. Live pilchards, greenies, croakers and pigfish will be the baits of choice depending on water temps and whats around the inlet at the time. Shrimp is also a great bait for wintertime snook in the inlet. The redfish bite will be best on live pigfish and croakers. There should still be some black drum around as they came in late December with the cold fronts and hung around in January. However, if the temps aren’t too cold, the snook bite in the lagoon and the Sebastian River will be decent as well. Live bait is usually best, but D.O.A. C.A.L. paddletails and jerk baits work very well on 1/8 or 1/4 ounce jigheads. If there’s a lot of bait around, Rapala Skitterwalks are always a key topwater bait.
Pompano, bluefish, jacks and mackerel should be in the inlet, along the beaches and scattered thoughout the lagoon. Doc’s Goofy jigs will normally work well for pompano in the inlet and along the beaches and the flats of the lagoon from Sebastian to Melbourne; bycatch will be jacks, bluefish, trout and Spanish mackerel as well as a few big gafftopsail cats. We have also caught a few pompano on the Rapala Twitchin’ Minnow fishing the bait pods we can find for trout and snook. If you are fishing Sebastian Inlet and the pompano action is slow, you can try jigging the shallow parts of the inlet for flounder using a 1/2 ounce jighead with a D.O.A. Paddletail scented with Pro-Cure.
If you can get out on the beach, you can jig for pompano, mackerel, jacks and bluefish. Following those species at the end of February and March are blacktip sharks. You can have some great action fishing live bait or even Rapala poppers for blacktips that are mixed in and feeding on the mackerel and blues. Keep an eye out for manta rays and, if you find them, the cobia should be tagging along. Most live baits and bucktails work well for the cobia.
The big jacks, sail cats and a few tarpon are up in the Sebastian River as well as Turkey Creek in Palm Bay and Crane Creek in Melbourne. Snook are around the docks, and tarpon are far back in the creeks. Live bait is best, but the fish will eat soft plastics and some topwater on warmer days.
Bundle up and stay warm as there should be plenty of action throughout the month of February for anglers looking to get out of the house on the nice days.
Capt. Glyn Austin
Going Coastal Charters
Capt. Glyn Austin is a lifelong Brevard County Resident and full time inshore/nearshore fishing guide. Glyn runs a 23’ Shoalwater tunnel boat which is comfortable for up to 4 anglers and will let us get shallower than most flats boats for inshore fishing and offers a smooth dry ride when fishing the Inlet and nearshore waters of Brevard County.