Skip to main content

Week of September 27: Tarpon and jacks and redfish, oh my!

May contain: person, human, water, and outdoors
 Angler of the Week, Trip Freeman, aka American Badass (read the hat), recently enjoyed a bit of catch-and-release fun with a snook the size of a Toyota Corolla.

Today’s forecast calls for mostly sunny skies with a high of 83 degrees. Northeast winds whipping upwards of 12 mph and waves at 2 to 4 feet.

Our trusty fishing guide “Snookman” Wayne Landry says mullet activity on the North Jetty is the harbinger for fall in Florida.

“The finger mullet have been heavy for several weeks now, and just this past Friday hoards and hoards of the larger 8 to 12-inch mullet showed up in the surf with all kinds of fish chewing on them,” Wayne says. “I saw many large snook being caught and also tarpon, large jacks and sharks and redfish and barracudas being seen as well.”

The trick is to use live shrimp and smaller finger mullet on the jetty on the high tide periods when the water is cleaner to reel in all kinds of fish, Wayne says.

“There were slot sized snook, slot size redfish, nice mangrove snappers, mutton snappers (most were under the 18-inch minimum) ladyfish, jack crevalles, bluer runners and believe or not, saw some bluefish being caught, too,” he adds.  “Earlier in the week I had a report of a nice four-pound flounder being caught in the surf, so I’m hoping that maybe the fall/winter flounder run is about to get going. So, fall at the inlet is here!” 

Schools of large and small mullet are also plentiful at the South Jetty, and the same species of predators, with snook, snapper and reds being most of the catches. Best time for catching fish: high tide and the beginning of the outgoing — on the tip and surf area just south of the jetty. 

The surf is heavy with mullet of all sizes and snook being the main target here now, but there are also redfish, jacks and tarpon chasing the bait as well, Wayne says.

“When the water is clean, there are still some nice whiting, he says. “I’ve heard of an occasional pompano being caught. It's getting time for them to show up, too, but the water needs to cool down some more.”  

The “T” dock area is reporting mangrove snapper, lane snapper and snook and jacks feeding on the mullet in the area when the water is clean. 

Offshore, the grouper bite has been pretty good in 120-220 feet of water, with red, scamp and gags being caught on live grunts, pins and vertical jigs, Wayne says.

“Triggerfish and mixed snappers are being caught as well in the same area, 120 to 220 feet with cut and live sardines on a standard bottom rig working well,” he says. “Also, look for roaming kingfish around the schools of baitfish.”

A note from Wayne: “The jetty is not noted as a ‘fishing pier’ but a navigational aid for boaters to have safe passage through the Inlet. Fishing on it is a privilege and can be taken away at any time as has happened in the past, now that gates have been installed at the entry point. Please, anglers, be respectful of your fellow anglers and be courteous and mindful so everyone can enjoy a great fishing experience there. Please also familiarize yourself with the FWC rules and regulations as well as the ‘fishing etiquette’ rules posted above the report, so everyone has a good time. Thank you.”

Please send us your pics!  We need photos and stories to include in upcoming fishing reports.  If you want to be featured with your catch, send in a picture and the details of your fishing trip to the inlet by using the Contact Form on our website. Please include your full name and hometown. Pictures work best vertical and if you center the person with their catch, leaving room on the sides. We try to publish all those we receive.