By Richard Matteson
As the weather begins to cool somewhat, the fishing gets hot on Florida’s Atlantic coast. The biggest fall event on our coast is the mullet run (or runs), which begins in late September and should continue through the early part of October around central Florida’s Indian River Lagoon.
When mullet and other baitfish head south toward their winter spawning grounds, they become fodder for tarpon, snook, sharks and a variety of schooling bluefish, jacks and mackerel. Fishing on the ocean shoreline and in the Indian River Lagoon picks up as predatory gamefish take advantage of the moving feast.
To find the fish, you must find the congregations of mullet. The easiest way to follow the baitfish is to watch the birds, as flocks of pelicans follow the action along the shorelines. Sometimes there are so many birds you can’t cast! Bring lots of lures (spoons, jigs) because feeding bluefish will cut your line.
Here are some random fishing reports from the south Indian River Lagoon area. Tarpon have been feeding the North Fork of the St. Lucie River and also on the beaches. Trout are scattered with occasional numbers reported in the Vero Beach area with grass beds on the east side from Round Island to The Moorings area being the top producing areas. Random reds have been caught in the lagoon on the west side around piers and mangroves (power lines) on the outgoing tide. Snook fishing has been good this year around piers, structure and mangroves and the bridges at night. Blues have picked up and are starting to migrate into the area to school with resident fish. Pompano won’t be back until December and cooler water. Black drum, sheepshead and mangrove snapper can be caught around bridges and inlets on live and dead shrimp.
Whatever type of fish you are looking for, the mullet run will stimulate feeding and turn the fish on.
The fall is one of the best times to go fishing.
Richard Matteson is staff writer for the Stuart Rod and Reel Club.