St. Augustine – October Fishing Report
This month it’s all about the mullet. Our fall mullet run is one of the best times of year to get outdoors and do some fishing. Cooler air temperatures and hungry predatory fish means fun for everyone on the water. The best areas to fish will be easy to find right now; where you see the mullet, you’ll also find redfish, trout, flounder, and just about anything else you want to catch. These fish will be lurking just underneath the mullet schools looking for an easy snack. There are countless numbers of lures, both hard and soft plastic that do a great job of imitating a mullet. This month is great to go the top-water plug route, and use a Rapala Skitterwalk or a Mirrolure Top-Dog. Both are great “walk the dog” type plugs, that even the most shy redfish or trout can’t resist this time year. If you want to go subsurface, try the soft plastics from Saltwater Assassin, like their Elite Shiner paddle tail. It looks just like a mullet, and can be fished weedless or on a traditional jighead.
Along with the influx of mullet to Northeast Florida, comes our fall flounder run. Some of the best catches, both in numbers and in size, come in the fall. The fish-finder rig is the go-to for many anglers looking to catch some flounder. It consists of using about 12 inches or so of leader, attached to a swivel with a barrel weight above the swivel. You want to use enough weight to hold the bottom, and a hook sized accordingly, to the size of mullet or minnow you’re using. Another favorite rig is a Saltwater Assassin jighead in either 1/4 or 3/8 oz. with a finger mullet
pinned to it. The jighead rig allows you to fish without getting hung up as easily on structure like oysters and rocks.
The inlets will come alive this month. Big bull redfish will be schooling in the deeper areas of St. Augustine Inlet and Matanzas inlet as well as around the bridges. A blue crab or mullet on the bottom will get their attention. As long as it doesn’t get too chilly, there will also be some tarpon around the inlets feeding on the bigger mullet schools, so make sure to have a bigger rod ready to go for those monsters.
If you missed out on the flood tides last month, don’t worry; you still have plenty of days in October to find some tailers. Redfish and sheepshead will still be tailing away looking for crabs, snails, and just about anything that hangs out in the grass. Any small soft plastic paddle tail or shrimp imitation will work well for the reds. I like the Saltwater Assassin Lil Boss rigged on a weedless hook. This will also be a great time to toss an inline spinner bait, like the Saltwater Assassin Mac Daddy Spinner, along the grass edges on the higher tide stage. It has all the thump to lure the redfish out of even the thickest grass.
Capt. Tommy Derringer