October brings fall to Central Florida. The first cold fronts start to dip into our area and we say good bye to 90 degree weather and hello to low 60’s in the morning. That means it’s time to break out the light jackets for the cool morning boat rides. Fall also means one thing...fall bait run! It’s on in a major way during the past 2 weeks. Thousands of big mullet are moving out of the lagoons and towards the Ponce Inlet where they will make their way down the coast. Finger mullet are piled up in the creeks and muddy backwaters. Redfish, speckled trout, tarpon, snook, sharks, flounder, jack crevalle and more are all waiting on them around every point, oyster bar, creek mouth and Inlet where they gorge themselves before they thin out and become scarce when it gets cold.
~ Note ~ Because of the federal gov’t closure, much of the Mosquito Lagoon and a few areas in the North Indian River Lagoon are closed because they are national parks. However, this is a non-issue for me or my charters because we haven’t been fishing there much during the past month. Frankly, fishing is better elsewhere anyways. So it’s business as usual.
Redfish of the trophy variety (over 20lbs) have been piled up at Ponce Inlet for their annual spawn cycle. Same goes for the the North Indian River Lagoon. Catching can be insane this time of year for big bulls in the NIRL as they will eat just about anything thrown at them, you just need some decent weather to find them in deep open water. At Ponce Inlet it’s deep jigging or live baiting the jetties and ICW. In the backwaters smaller redfish around 4-10lbs are cruising mangrove shorelines and staged up on flooded oyster bars. Live mullet, pigfish, and pinfish are producing well, as well as lipless crankbaits, soft plastics, and topwater plugs. Soft plastics work well on Lazer Sharp 4/0 weighted EWG worm hooks (L092G-8).
Giant Tarpon are everywhere inshore and just offshore along the beaches. In the ICW they are scattered throughout New Smyrna and at Ponce Inlet. Along the beaches they are stacked on bait pods and around shrimp boats. In the ocean most of them are well over 100lbs. This is the time of year when it gets tougher to get out there though, I need light winds and no more than 2-3’ seas. We’re living on borrowed time fishing tarpon in October. First hard cold front that hits and they will quickly vanish and make their way south. Smaller juveniles in the 5-20lb range will stick around through the winter but become lethargic and inconsistent. Live mullet, pinfish, pigfish draw most attention, but swimbaits and large surface plugs work too.
Best action for Speckled Trout is around oyster bars and ledges on the outgoing tides. Pigfish and live mullet haven’t lasted long in the water. Topwater plugs and shallow twitch baits have down well too. Most of the fish are in the 15-20” range with a few upwards of 6-7lbs. We just haven’t put as muc time into them because we’ve been working on the redfish and tarpon instead.
Only have 7 days left open in October. Got a bunch of open dates in November which is when we see more schooling redfish and big trout in the shallows again. Short notice trips are available if I have the date open. Call or email to secure a reservation. Read my fishing charter page to view the top reasons why you should book your trip with me today. Read my fishing report archive to review write-ups from the past several years. I look forward to fishing with you soon…386-212-4931.