September ushers in the inshore fishing season in the Sebastian area. The cooler water temps brought about by shorter day lengths, tropical rains and the associated cloud cover expand the feeding times of most inshore species in the late summer. The arrival of hordes of yearling silver mullet and the gamefish that shadow them is a welcome change from the summer status quo. Snook are again in season as of September 1 and can be caught anywhere 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 available to Sebastian area anglers. I’ll break down each venue available in the Sebastian area and discuss what to expect during this period of change.
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 and Terror-Eyz, as well as suspending and top-water MirrOlures are excellent ways to target tarpon and snook throughout the day and night. Pay attention to the major and minor solar-lunar periods when fishing the Sebastian River.
Indian River Lagoon
There are a few factors that will control when and to what extent the action will pick up within the confines of the lagoon. 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 three-to-five-inch mullet breathes new life into the fishing of the Indian River Lagoon in September. Flats that seemed to be lifeless, suddenly produce all day top-water action when the mullet show up. This resurgence is more pronounced when water levels are up and water temps are down. There is still only scattered sparse grass coverage in the lagoon around Sebastian. A little is better than what we have had for the last five years, so I am optimistic about the coming fall season. All types of artificials and live finger mullet fished wherever pods of mullet are found will draw strikes from a variety of gamefish. Snook will ambush bait around shoreline structure including docks and mangroves, while trout and five reds stalk the flats and spoil islands for a finger mullet meal. Top water and suspending plugs with a finger mullet profile, such as the Super Spook Jr. and Catch 2000 Jr. are very productive this time of year. D.O.A. jerk baits and shads will also 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 the September-first 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 snook fishing has historically required live bait for consistent success, but with snook numbers up, more and more local anglers are reporting daytime success with D.O.A. Shrimp and jerk baits. After dark, live bait is still preferred by anglers drifting the channel under the A1A Bridge, while shore bound anglers predominantly throw one-to-two ounce bucktails, and various diving plugs.
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, large plugs, spoons, and shad tailed jigs from the beach or from a boat to take advantage of some of the best surf/nearshore fishing of the year.
FORECAST BY: Capt. Gus Brugger