Sebastian Inshore: Oct. 2017

Dr. Harold Cordner with a typical October Sebastian Inlet snook. Photo credit: Capt. Gus Brugger.

I am sitting here writing this forecast after finishing my preparations for hurricane Irma. I am somewhat relieved that the latest models show that the storm won’t turn north until it is directly south of the Florida peninsula, lessening the chances of this tropical terror riding the east coast of Florida like the tracks of some perverse amusement ride. Even Irma, only two days away, is completely uncertain at this point. It is difficult to predict the fishing in Sebastian next month when the future of the entire state is anyone’s guess. I can safely say that water levels in the lagoon will be high, salinity will be low and the clarity will likely be marginal at best. These environmental factors may be the least of the issues to cope with in the Sebastian area after the storm, because you can’t catch fish regardless of environmental conditions if you can’t get to them. After Francis and Jean in 2004, it was several months before boat ramps, marinas, and the facilities at Sebastian Inlet State Park were re-opened. If you are coming from out of town to fish the inlet or lagoon, you may want to check with a local tackle shop or call the chamber of commerce at (772) 589-5969 to check the status of the public boat ramps. Once things settle down, the fishing should be good. If you get an opportunity to fish Sebastian this October the following may point you in the right general direction.

Sebastian River Fishing Forecast

The Sebastian River has juvenile tarpon in it 12 months a year, but in the winter and summer they have short bite windows and can be downright frustrating. Spring is good, but the tarpon don’t feed with the urgency that they do in the fall. Add in a million or so tasty finger mullet and the term frenzy could be applied on occasion. Live fingers fished wherever rolling tarpon are seen is the best way to put a lively twenty-something-pound tarpon on your line. Fly fishermen and plug casters will also enjoy some of the best tarpon action of the year, throw finger mullet patterns. Snook numbers will continue to rise in the Sebastian River, as post spawn fish return from the inlet and ocean. The bridges and oyster bars early and late in the day with live mullet, and the docks while the sun is overhead with D.O.A. Shrimp and Bass Assassin jerkbaits will bring some snook to the boat. Keep your eyes open for schools of big jack crevalle that enjoy rounding up schools of mullet in the lower Sebastian River.

Indian River Lagoon Fishing Forecast

The flats of the central lagoon will be at their best in October. Trout and reds will be on the shallow grass beds all day long hunting the masses of mullet that have already begun to invade the lagoon. Find the bait and find the fish is a general rule that is especially true in October. Although live finger mullet will be very plentiful, unless you are wade fishing, they may not be necessary. Topwater plugs reign supreme in the fall, with jerk baits and suspending plugs like the MirrOlure Catch 2000 Jr. possibly being even more productive but not as fun. Jack crevalle of all sizes will keep anglers busy between trout bites. Keep an eye open for 20-pound class jacks pushing wakes across the flats on their ceaseless hunt for mullet. The occasional snook will surprise anglers on the flats, but most of the inshore snook will be setting up ambushes along mangrove shorelines and around docks. D.O.A. Shrimp and Jerkbaits fished in, around and under the cover will draw strikes from linesiders of all sizes.

Sebastian Inlet Fishing Forecast

October is a prime month to fish the world-renowned Sebastian Inlet. Snook fishing day and night will peak out in October. Redfish, mostly oversized, will join the snook between the jetties for the “fatten up” before winter binge. The snook and reds spread throughout the inlet giving anglers more areas to fish and they also seem to become less picky about what live bait they eat. Croakers are never a bad choice, but pigfish, shrimp, pinfish and mullet will all draw strikes at the right time and tide. Night time will find live baiters floating the channel under A1A bouncing bottom, while plug and jig anglers will be on their favorite rocks east and west of A1A.

Nearshore Atlantic Fishing Forecast

The fishing along the beaches can be explosive in October. Tarpon will school outside Sebastian Inlet, as long as bait stays available. Live mullet, greenies and even pinfish pitched at pods of rolling fish will bring strikes. Jigs, plugs and flies can also do the job when the bite is on. Spanish mackerel should show up in hoards from the beach out to five miles, wherever the glass minnow are. Spoons, jigs and flies are all you need to fill the cooler with Spanish in the 1- to 5-pound range. Jack crevalle, bluefish and little tunny can also be found enjoying the near shore smorgasbord in October.

I’ll bet the fish will be feeding like crazy the next couple days as the barometer plummets, pictures to come in next month’s issue.

FORECAST BY: Capt. Gus Brugger
Pattern Setter Charters
(772) 360-6787

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.