Sebastian Inlet Offshore Fishing Report and Forecast: May 2017

Last May, Aidan Gocek from Orlando celebrated his 12th birthday fishing with his friends on the Reef Gypsy out of Sebastian. Photo credit: Sebastian Gypsy Fishing Charters.

When someone asks me when the best offshore fishing is around here, the first word that comes out of my mouth is “May!”  This is our transition month when the spring winds lay down and the warm seas of summer move in.  Dolphin will be the top target fish for most offshore anglers. Go east until you see baitfish or Sargassum weed.  The best depths last year were 150-feet through 180-feet, but don’t run past the fish in 90-feet and 120-feet if you see the signs and the water is blue and warm.  Work the good areas north and south and fish the fishy spots thoroughly.  Keep a wahoo bait in the spread too.  A wire rigged ballyhoo with a heavy cone head skirt running just beneath the surface may be just enough to entice a strike from Mr. Hoo.

Grouper season opens in Atlantic waters May 1, so gags, blacks, scamps and reds will all be “up for grabs” on the reefs of Sebastian.  There is no better bait than a lively pinfish when grouper fishing. Heavy tackle will be the ticket for these bruisers.  The problem comes when you feel that thump followed by a freight train charge for the rocks. Just tighten your drag down and hope you can turn his head. If you get him stopped; crank like crazy. Repeat until either the fish or the angler is happy.

The other fish I focus on in May is the mangrove snapper.  You’ll find them on all the ledges and rocks from 70-feet to 100-feet.  The mangrove is one of the weariest fish that swims so “getting sneaky” will produce more and bigger fish.  Downsize your leader and hook. Hide your hook and attach your bait so it flows and doesn’t spin when you drop.  I will use 4-feet of #40 flourocarbon leader on a fish finder rig with minimum weight.  If you’re feeling adventurous, try a night trip.  This is when the mangroves feed and they lose their advantage of keen eyesight.  Deploy a chum block and free-line the baits back in the slick.  When a big “mango” grabs it, he will rocket to the bottom. The challenge is to stop him before he reaches the rocks. Chumming and free lining works during daylight hours too.  You just have to be sneaky with your presentation.  Good luck out there and remember when life gets crazy, stay calm and go fishing.

FORECAST BY: Capt. Randy Lang
Sebastian Gypsy Fishing Charters

Kurt Larson of Vero Beach with the morning sun lighting up his mangrove snapper. This is from three years ago but it is such a sweet photo it deserves some ink. Photo credit: Sebastian Gypsy Fishing Charters.
Jim Hoffman of Sebastian with a nice bull dolphin from last May on the Reef Gypsy. This one put on a leaping show right at the boat. Photo credit: Sebastian Gypsy Fishing Charters.