It’s October on the Space Coast and that means transition time on the inshore waters. The fall bait run is in full swing, perhaps the best one is a few years. The backwaters surrounding the Ponce Inlet area are packed full of finger mullet. In hot pursuit are hungry redfish, speckled trout, flounder, jack crevalle, bluefish and scattered tarpon and snook. In addition to exceptional strong shrimp runs around the moon cycles, it’s safe to say that there is no shortage of food sources for fish to key on. In summary, it’s all about fish eating mullet, shrimp, or anything that resembles them these days. We’ve begun to experience the first cold fronts of the fall, chilling morning air temperatures, lowering water levels, and slightly cooling water temperatures. We can focus on just about any fish species this month, just depends on your interest level.
The Redfish bite has been good as of late. The water is still a bit elevated, dirty, and the fish are scattered. We’re targeting redfish on shorelines around New Smyrna Beach and Oak Hill searching for crabs, shrimp, and finger mullet; tailing on wide open grass flats in the Lagoons for shrimp; or on creek, channel, and oyster bar edges around the region chasing finger mullet schools. In the ICW around Ponce Inlet and in the North Indian River Lagoon we’re targeting trophy bull redfish that are schooled up for their annual fall spawn cycle. We’re catching all these redfish in a variety of ways, including live baiting, lures, and fly fishing. When throwing lures we’ve been using topwater plugs, spoons, DOA shrimp, Slayer spinnerbaits and jigs. Good fly choices have included shrimp, kwans, and crab patterns as well as dark colored bunny patterns. Look no further than shrimp or mullet for live bait choices.
The bite for Speckled Trout has also been good as of late as these fish fill their belly’s on the available mullet and shrimp before it thins out as the colder weather settles in next month. Catching gator trout lately has been a tough task, but we’ve been catching good numbers of smaller 15-25” trout instead. We’ve been targeting most of our trout bite on the falling and incoming tides in the New Smyrna, Edgewater, and Oak Hill areas around. We’re freeling mullet and pigfish around mullet schools for most catching success, however, topwater plugs and soft plastics on jigs will take fish too.
The Flounder bite continues to be good in all backwaters around Ponce Inlet and will get even better over the next two months as the cold fronts become more regular and trigger these fish to migrate towards the Inlet itself. Sand sloughs, mud flats, docks and seawalls along the ICW are preferred fish spots. Pigfish have been a reliable bait, as well as a finger mullet pegged to a jighead sand bars, and creek/channel edges are preferred fishing spots. We’re primarily catching them on pigfish, croakers, and live mullet.
There are some scattered Tarpon in the ICW around the Inlet, but it’s yet to get cold enough to trigger a strong run of them migrating out of the area...more like a slow trickle. Fishing for tarpon the remainder of the year won’t be a concentrated effort, instead it will be something we do if the opportunity presents itself. With the strong finger mullet run around Ponce Inlet we are finding strong numbers of 5-10lb Jack Crevalle and 2-5lb Bluefish. Both are great fighters on light tackle and will provide consistent catching while we're waiting to fish other species between preferred tide patterns.
October is about half way booked at this point, which means there are good scattered openings still on my calendar. Same goes for November. Give me a call now to check my availability and reserve/book a date. Short notice trips are accepted if I have a date available. Read my fishing charter page to view the top reasons why you should book your trip with me today. I look forward to fishing with you soon…386-212-4931.