Sebastian Inshore Forecast: February 2017

Todd Hagen with a nice Pompano that hit a Goofy jig behind Sebastian inlet. Photo credit: Capt. Gus Brugger.

With winter winds whipping up the Atlantic and cool water temperatures keeping the snook and tarpon lethargic in the inlet and up the Sebastian River, the Indian River Lagoon is where consistent action is to be had in the month of February.

February may well be the best month for gator sized seatrout in the Sebastian Area. The coldest weather will drive over-sized trout into areas of protected deep water such as canals and creeks. Live shrimp, D.O.A Shrimp, 52M Mirro-Lures and soft plastics fished slowly near the bottom have yielded my clients some incredible catches and memories over the years. These same trout, which are described in pounds rather than inches, will be found in super shallow protected areas as temperatures moderate between cold snaps. Under these conditions stealth becomes a must, and wading can further swing the odds in an angler’s favor. Live shrimp on a short leader below a small float is a great method to fool shallow water trout, especially if you have a strong wind or current to help the bait keep moving and covering ground. Soft plastics and small shallow running plugs are excellent choices for making the long casts necessary to cover the shallow, mud bottom flats without spooking the wary trout and reds.

Redfish, regardless of temperature or water clarity, will be in the shallow backwaters. Mangrove shorelines can be sight fished when the waters are clear. Fly fishing allows for the soft presentation to visible fish that is often more important than the bait or lure, but a small live shrimp, D.O.A. shrimp or a jerk bait are also very effective when sight casting.  If waters are murky, you can drift, pole or trolling motor very quietly throwing a weedless gold spoon, 4-inch D.O.A. C.A.L. jerk-bait or tipped skimmer jig and cover as much area as possible, both along the shore and in the adjacent featureless open water and have a very good chance of scoring on reds, trout and even snook that will lay up along sunny shorelines on occasion.

Investing in a pair of waders can pay great dividends this time of year. Wade fishing spoil islands, flats edges and sunny shorelines with live shrimp, flies and artificials can lead to some eye-opening results. Use the wind and current to make long casts and natural drifts to get into gator trout and reds. Occasionally, big snook show up on the spoil islands in the spring and can be an added bonus while fishing for trout and reds.

Pompano will still be a target of both surf and lagoon anglers in February. Sandfleas and cut clams are the preferred baits of surf fishermen who line up north and south of Sebastian Inlet. Yellow and pink Doc’s Goofy Jigs have accounted for most of my pompano in the last few years. Hopping the jigs along the bottom behind the inlet and around spoil islands is the best way to target the tasty hard fighting pomps.

If you are interested in fishing or buying a fisherman friendly property in the Sebastian area, I can help!

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.