Sebastian Inshore Fishing Report and Forecast: September 2016

Tracy McCullough with an early morning Sebastian beach Snook that hit a Berkley shad. PHOTO CREDIT: Capt. Gus Brugger.
Tracy McCullough with an early morning Sebastian beach Snook that hit a Berkley shad. PHOTO CREDIT: Capt. Gus Brugger.

I look forward to the hot and heavy inshore action that comes with September’s shortening day lengths and the highly anticipated mullet run. Snook are again in season as of September 1 and can be caught from the beaches to the backwaters. Atlantic zone rules apply, with one snook overall length between 28- and 32-inches allowed per angler per day. While snook rightfully garner the limelight in September, they are not the only gamefish in town so I’ll break down each venue available in the Sebastian area and discuss what to expect in the late summer, early fall season.


The tarpon and snook action in the Sebastian River will pick up by leaps and bounds as the schools of finger mullet make their way into the estuary. Live finger mullet, D.O.A. shrimp, C.A.L. jerkbaits, as well as suspending topwater MirrOlures, are excellent ways to target tarpon and snook throughout the day and night.


There are a few factors that will control when and to what extent the fishing, and more importantly the catching, will pick up. These factors, in my opinion and in order of importance are, the mullet run, water level and water temperature. The arrival of the migrating masses of 3- to 5-inch mullet is critical to all types of fishing in Central Florida. All types of artificials and live finger mullet fished wherever pods of mullet are found will draw strikes from anything with a mouth. Snook will ambush bait around shoreline structure, including dock and mangroves, while trout and reds stalk the flats and spoil islands for a finger mullet meal. Topwater and suspending plugs, such as Super Spook Jr.’s and Catch 2000 Jr.’s are very productive this time of year. D.O.A. jerk baits and shads will get you through just about any late summer situation in the central lagoon.


Sebastian Inlet will be will be the destination of anglers from near and far come September 1 with the opening of the snook season. The snook will be stacked up in the inlet and some years the oversize reds outnumber the snook in September. Live croakers, pigfish, shrimp and finger mullet will all get the attention of predators at the inlet. The tips of the jetties, the channel east of A1A and the north and south shorelines west of A1A will hold snook. Daytime requires live bait for consistent success. After dark, live bait is still preferred by anglers drifting the channel under the A1A Bridge. Shore bound anglers predominantly throw bucktails, and various diving plugs after dark.


When weather conditions are favorable, the waters within two miles of the beach between Melbourne and Fort Pierce can be explosive in September. Snook, tarpon, reds, blues, Spanish, cobia, tripletail, sharks, jacks, and flounder all follow the migrating mullet southward. Fish live mullet, plugs, spoon, shad tailed jigs, and the like, from the beach or a boat to take advantage of some of the best fishing of the year. When you have as many options available to you, as you do in Sebastian in late summer, it’s hard to have a slow day.

Tight lines!


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.