The change from summer to fall fishing in Sebastian begins to be more perceptible in October. More tolerable daytime air temperatures, a bit more wind and shorter day lengths allow water temperatures to begin to fall into the preferred ranges for inshore gamefish species. Baitfish, including mullet and glass minnows, move into the lagoon and the predators large and small are there to greet them. Savvy anglers also begin to turn more of their attention to the inshore waters of Sebastian in response to these changes.
The Sebastian River comes back to life when schools of finger mullet make their way into the estuary. Snook and jack crevalle corner fleeing mullet against docks and seawalls in the lower river and the tarpon roll lazily while they wait at the confluence of the north and south forks for their opportunity at a mullet meal. Casting live finger mullet in front of rolling juvenile tarpon often elicits vicious surface strikes that eventually turn into tarpon hook ups. If you prefer artificials, small mullet shaped topwater and suspending plugs will also do the trick. Fly rodders should also throw finger mullet patterns on floating and intermediate lines.
Indian River Lagoon
The flats and backwaters of the central lagoon will be at their best in October. 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, artificials will allow you to cover much more area and are in my opinion, the better choice. Topwater plugs reign supreme in the fall even during mid-day. Super Spook Jr. and Top Dog Jr. plugs in mullet like finishes are good choices, but chartreuse and bone colors are very productive also. Jack crevalle of all sizes will keep anglers busy between trout and redfish bites. The occasional snook will surprise anglers on the open flats around baitfish schools, but most of the inshore snook will be setting up ambushes along mangrove shorelines and around docks. D.O.A. shrimp and jerk baits fished tight to cover will draw strikes from snook of all sizes.
Snook fishing day and night will be at its best in October. Redfish from slot size to 40 pounds will also take advantage of the food funneling effect of Sebastian Inlet’s swift current. Croakers are never a bad choice, but pigfish, shrimp, pinfish and mullet will all draw strikes at the right time and tide. Nighttime will find live baiters floating the channel under A1A with live bait, while plug and jig anglers will be on their favorite rocks east and west of A1A. The gulf flounder will begin to show up after the October 15 equinox. Jigs, shrimp, and mud minnows fished over sandy bottom will get their attention.
The fishing along the beaches can be explosive in October. Find tarpon schools by sight or with your electronics and cast a live bait, jig, diving plug or fly to them. Spanish mackerel schools will migrate and feed along the beach wherever the glass minnows are. Spoons, jigs and flies are all you need to fill the cooler with Spanish in the 1-to-5-pound range.
FORECAST BY: Capt. Gus Brugger