The light winds and predictable weather patterns that come with the month of June open up the near shore Atlantic to boats that are normally relegated to the back country, including kayaks and paddle boards. Tarpon, king mackerel, cobia, big jacks, bonito, and more wait just off the beaches. With snook season closed for the summer, the pressure on Sebastian Inlet subsides. This allows for some great sport fishing opportunities for the snook and big reds that remain to feed on the baitfish and crustaceans that are concentrated by the inlets swift current. Sebastian River tarpon are still a good fall back if the ocean doesn’t cooperate. The lagoon will continue to offer some snook and tarpon options, and trout will be available in deeper waters. Hopefully, the low water levels we are experiencing will allow the grass to take hold and begin to cover the flats.
Near Shore Atlantic
I personally look forward to getting outside in the summer. The techniques are simple and the fish average larger than the biggest inshore specimens I catch the rest of the year. The summer time near-shore fishery is our best chance of the year to catch fish weighing out in the double and sometime triple digits. Large migrating tarpon, smoker kings, hard fighting little tunny, toothy barracuda, brawling cobia, colorful dolphin, and even sailfish are possible within small boat range of the inlet. The methods I most often employ include slow trolling live greenies and mullet, trolling large plugs, casting baits and lures to breaking and cruising fish, and bottom fishing the shallow reefs. If you don’t have all day to go offshore, try staying close and using some lighter tackle to put a bend in your rod and maybe a kingfish in the smoker.
The top of the list in the Sebastian River in early summer is tarpon. There are tarpon throughout the Sebastian River, but the larger fish seem to frequent the entire north fork and the lower south fork. Flies, MirrOlure Catch 2000 Junior plugs, D.O.A. shrimp, TerrorEyz and Yo-Zuri 3D minnows are all good artificials for both snook and tarpon. Small to medium sized mullet are the best choice for live bait.
This is the time to take advantage of the inlet. The tips of the jetties have always been the best spots this time of year, the north jetty on the outgoing tide, and the south on the incoming. Live bait is the only way to go during the day; croakers, pigfish, and shrimp are the best choices. Get them down using anything from a split-shot to a two-ounce egg sinker and you have as good a chance at catching a picture worthy snook or redfish as any place in the world. I expect to see 20-to-40-pound redfish move into the inlet this summer to feast on juvenile crabs floating out with the tide.
Indian River Lagoon
Early morning provides the best and without good grass beds, maybe the only, chance at trout and reds on the many flats of the central lagoon. Top-water plugs are the best bet, with D.O.A. jerkbaits, live mullet and pigfish being good choices as well. Look for rolling tarpon and bull sharks in some of the open basins of the lagoon this month. Try floating a live ladyfish on stout gear with wire leader for the bull sharks and cast MirrOlures, flies, D.O.A. Bait-Busters and live mullet at rolling tarpon. Typically, snook of all sizes will be laid up tight to cover getting out of the sun during the day. If you can take the heat, catch and release snook fishing around docks can be a great mid-day option.
FORECAST BY: Capt. Gus Brugger