Jetty Fishing- Sebastian Inlet Quick Guide

I have been asked before and was asked recently to provide information as far as what good times to go fishing, what gear, and what bait can work at Sebastian Inlet Jetties and near shore areas.  In many reports of other fishing sites I have posted the same information, but as the years have passed some forum sites no longer exist or others have done upgrades loosing a lot of data. This day I was approached by a forum member by the forum name of Chevy Juan he had the same questions so I realized it was too much to send over text and since this can help others I told him I would write the information on a blog post. So I am going to give him credit for inspiring me to share this bit of knowledge with others. But please understand I can not give all the details and secrets but I am giving you all you will need to catch some nice fish. Perhaps I will give you too much information. My experience comes from fishing these areas on my old boat in the early 90’s and yearly trips there after. I give credit to retired old man Coast Guard Dave from the Newport pier for telling me about this place in the early 80’s. May you rest in peace Dave!  I also participated in a couple of CPR tournaments (Catch Photo Release) on the boatlesfishing forum. Most my fish came from this inlet. Pompano, Snook, Redfish, Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish, Jack Crevales, Sheepshead, Black Margates, Black Drums, etc… As I find those pictures I will upload on my blog.  I wrote the information I am sharing in a few hours today so I hope it helps the many that will read this post. You can leave comments if you like.

The Sebastian Inlet State Park is located at:

9700 S. State Road A1A
Melbourne Beach, Florida 32951

The best time of year:

So let’s start with what are the good time to go fishing at Sebastian Inlet and let’s add what time of year is best. All year round is great fishing in Sebastian Inlet. You can see this information at:

Click to access sbi-sebastianfishbait.pdf

Sebastian-Inlet-Fishing-CalOn the above image from the State public records you can see that Redfish and Snook are there almost year round, but do congregate more in the fall and the same is with many other species. This is because of the annual mullet run. This is no secret but if you didn’t know, now you do. Another factor that determines a good time to fish Sebastian as many other places is to fish there right before or after a storm or a cold front. The change in Barometric pressure makes just about all fish feed more than normal. Again this is no secret.

The best time to go:

as with any inlet and any bridge the best time to go is before the change of tides and stay until at least a couple of hours after the tide changed. If time is in your hands then fish as much as you can all day and all night but ensure that your bait is in the water during the peak times (tide changes). Sebastian is a great place to fish, specially if you want to fish with artificial lures. You will see many people favor big silver spoons and chartreuse flarehawks (a bullet type jig also used in partyboats to catch king Mackerel Fish). This has not changed in over 20 years.

What tackle is best?

Sincerely it all depends on what you are fishing for. In Sebastian Inlet you will see all kinds of tackle getting the jib done. Now days you will see many that go with just one spinning reel that holds 50 lb braid and they put a small piece of mono on it with a 5/0 to 7/0 hook and a small weight just before the hook to guide the bait to the bottom where snook and redfish feed, many call this rig a “Knocker Rig” some will do this the old way, on a spinning or conventional reel using 20 to 30 lb test monofilament line with a free moving sinker, main line tied to a swivel, and a 40 to 50 lb leader to a 5/0 to 7/0 hook . This rig is also known as a “fish finder rig” which is basically a “Carolina Rig”. When fishing for big bull redfish, snook, permit or any other big fish I would recommend an 8 foot rod or longer. When fishing for Pompano and flounder the usual long surf rod can do the job. Some areas of the jetty have under the bridge catwalks where you can use short rods.

What bait for what species?

It is obvious that it is the mullet run in the fall so many fish will be fixed on eating mullet, so bring a casting net and catch a few and have a live-well ready for them. Many other baits work as well and all depends on the species you are after. Stopping by the local Bait and Tackle shop will ensure that you have the right knowledge to know what bait is best during the time of year you go.

Snook and Redfish: You can catch these during the out going or incoming tide from the catwalks to the end of the jetties. Fish the inlet side.

  • Shrimp – Stop at the Bait shop and ask for the largest shrimps you can get. Ask for hand picked shrimp, some of the local shops do sell tiger shrimps which are larger than the normal shrimps.
  • Croacker – you will need to catch these your self. You can use sabiki rigs with small pieces of shrimp. Right before you get to the bridge you will see the river banks on the side. You can get croackers there. You can also catch them a few feet from the shore, just toss your small pieces of shrimp in the trough (the area between the shoreline and the sand bar).
  • Pinfish – same as above but you can also use squid.
  • Mullet – certain times of the year finger mullets are not allowed to be sold at tackle shops but you can cast net them yourself at the river banks
  • Pigfish (tomtate grunts) catch them at the river banks with squid or shrimp.
  • Artificial – snook can be caught with bucktail jigs right along the edges of the jetty bouncing them on the bottom and also casting towards the middle of the cut and also bouncing the jigs along the bottom. Redfish can be caught on artificial lures along the shorelines of the river.

Pompano: You can catch these from the bend of the North  jetty to the second bend just cast towards the North.

  • Shrimp – Stop at the Bait shop and ask for live clams, if no live clams ask for frozen clams. Do take a few sandfleas if you can but the clams will work best.

Shepshead: You can catch these from the second bend to the end of the jetty fishing on the ocean side.

  • Fiddler crabs – Stop at the Bait shop and ask for live fiddler crabs
  • Shrimp – You can actually stop at Publix and get fresh peeled shrimp, place it in salt to make it a little tuffer and use the headless pieces with 3/0 hooks and a “fish finder rig”

Snappers: Fish directly under the jetty where the water seems to get deeper until you find them. On ocean side and inlet side.

  • Shrimp – Stop at the Bait shop and ask for live shrimp.
  • White bait: Go on the catwalks with a casting net and try to catch sardines and thread-fin herrings. Cut the tail off and use them with “knocker rigs” or “Fish Finder rigs” You can use them live and this way you might catch snook and tarpons as well.

Gulf Flounder: Fish the catwalks on both sides and from the rocky areas at the begining of the jetty (riverside). Also on the south jetty all around the tip and towards the beach. Flounder usually starts with the mullet run and start to get thick in November and December but it is a mad house out there so I usually avoid fishing because of that. Use a fish finder rig with a short leader, make sure you have a loose drag but not too loose as flounders have a soft mouth.

  • Finger mullet – certain times of the year finger mullets are not allowed to be sold at tackle shops but you can cast net them yourself at the river banks.
  • Mud minnows – Stop at the Bait shop and ask for live mud minnows
  • Shrimp – use whole live shrimps
  • Artificial – use scented shrimp like or mullet like artificial lures along the shore lines of the river. You can suspend them under a cork/float while wading in the river. You can also get both species with hardbait artificial lures, just cast toward unusual moving waters in the shallows.

Black Margate: Fish the end of the jetty on the ocean side, these like the snappers are usually right next to the jetty. No need to cast out far.

  • Shrimp – use whole live small shrimps or cut shrimps
  • Squid chunks, about 1/2″ size

Black Drum: this is another crowd gatherer in Sebastian inlet as you can catch Black Drums in the 10 pound range and above, but most will be smaller in size. Use a “Fish Finder Rig”.

  • Shrimp – use whole live shrimps and cut shrimps
  • Squid – 1 inch wide chunks
  • Clams, fresh or frozen

Spotted Seatrout: Not at the jetty but at the river bank you will notice that after sunrise many will be wading in the river right before you get to the park. Use a float and shrimp under it. The bottom of the river has massive amounts of algae. if you decide to wade be prepared to get stuck in the sandy mud.

  • Shrimp – use whole live shrimps
  •  Pigfish (tomtate grunts) catch them at the river banks with squid or shrimp
  • Finger muller – certain times of the year finger mullets are not allowed to be sold at tackle shops but you can cast net them yourself at the river banks.
  • Artificial – trout love artificial baits – Anything that looks like a shrimp or a sardine/finger mullet

All the bait above can work for many other species such as Jack Crevales and Bluefish. So tossing your bait out will be the best way to find out what is biting out there as one day the fishing will be excellent and the next it will just be sit and wait. Blue crabs work well with many of the species mentioned. Cut mullet will also work.

Word of advice:

Do not take so much tackle that you cannot keep track of. If you fish more than one rod be aware of them at all times as your gear will find a way to walk to the parking lot and get inside of someones car. Unfortunately this is something that has not changed in so many years. If you did not understand then; There is a lot of theft in this Jetty as many people from all walks of life go there and sometimes only go there once or twice a year. But do not misunderstand, most people are very nice and will even give you advise or offer you some bait, just watch your gear for the rest.

Below you can see where the fish are biting. In this case I believe it was Black Drums and Sheepsheads. It will not take long to figure out what is biting and what bait is working best. This happens at most piers as people follow the schools of fish, but sometimes people just think there is only one spot where the fish will bite.

Sebastian Inlet North Jetty in Florida

Below I am catching the baits mentioned to be caught on the river side.

Sebastian Inlet bait on the river side_small

 Below are  nice size Bull Redfish caught from the North Jetty at Sebastian Inlet around 2007 and 2008 in winter and fall.

Redfish Sebastian Inlet

Redfish Sebastian Inlet-2

Below are a couple of small sheepshead caught one in the river the other at the North Jetty in the Winter.

Sheepshead Sebastian inlet

 Here are some links you can use to get some information on what is biting at Sebastian Inlet Jetties.


Jetty Fishing- Snook Madness at Juno Inlet Jetty July 7th 2013

THE FISHING TRIP: Jetty Snook Fishing
Aboard no boat this was a shore bound tripFighting a snook at Jupiter Inlet Jetty 2
The Spot : Jupiter Inlet Jetty (AKA Juno Inlet)
Weather : 20 knot winds, Fair weather, some rain clouds
Water: Inlet water was rough, canal water started coming in around 9:30 a.m.
Fish catches: Snook
Biggest size Type : Snook around 40″
Techniques : Live and dead bait
Jigs : no jigs, artificial lures used but no success (hawk Flares and Mullet imitation lures)

I wanted to squeeze some fishing this weekend and decided to make it count so I wanted to go to Juno Pier for some snook catch and release. Rory an old fishing friend told me that the fish were not close to the beach the day before and that the inlet had been better so my wife and I decided to go to the Jupiter South Jetty. The plan was to leave at midnight for our 3 hour drive and get to Blue Heron Bridge for some bait catching and then to Loxahatchee river for some mullet. Blue heron only had small pilchards, spanish sardines, and tiny threadfin herring. Well sometimes you have to get what nature offers and so we went to the river but not a ripple in the water so no mullet to be caught. Oh well I had to go with plans of only using crabs and what ever bait I could get my hands on. I got there around 4 a.m and were greeted by some guys that were taking super morning swims and drinking a few beers. They told us “man, there ain’t nothing out there but catfish people have been using shrimp and only catching catfish and anyways the waves are coming over the jetty, almost all of it”. I thanked them for their advise and continued to unload and on our way we were. The entire jetty was wet, perhaps the rain clouds blew some heavy wind and did have a few waves come over the jetty, but that had gone past. We set up and out the crabs went. I looked for left over shrimp and clams and found a few, so I tried to secure bait with that. Around 6 a.m. came the first hit, I was hoping for a permit since it hit a crab but instead it was an almost blind pissed off snook that gave me a nice little encouraging fight. Later on a fisherman arrived at the jetty and setup camp under my rods that were on my fishing cart and lines were in the water. I paid no attention as he started to cast in between my lines, he got a nice pompano and so I thought the day would be better than expected. Then came the rest of regulars whom also setup camp under my lines. I paid no mind they were avid at casting and positioning the lines accordingly to not intrude my lines that were in the water, but looks like the first guy kind of got offended that the others setup camp right next to him and so he moved. Well,  after that pompano out came a whole bunch of palometas, mojarras, and croackers. I checked my lines and recasted or placed a new crab on my hooks. Waited and waited and BARABAMMMM!!!!! My rod is bent like it was elastic, I picked it up and had a nice fight that took me to carefully hopping on the rocks and after gaining line loosing line gaining line I was finally able to see what it was, a nice size permit. I was relieved to see it floating upside down a sign that the fight was over and then PLUP! WTF HAPPNED? I see the fish floating away with the tide. I reel in my line and what do I see? Another case of a broken hook! Yeap! Another broken hook loosing a nice fish. Kicked my self for not getting rid of those darn hooks and I swear they will be gone this week. No more cheap hooks. I had thrown away many of them but kept a few, no more. They are going in the garbage, no more fleabay hooks! Only from known sources from now on. After that we took an opportunity for a nice sunrise photo opt.

The morning vrew of Juno Inlet Jetty  Another broken hook


Snook at Jupiter Inlet Jetty at night-Herbert Hans  Hans and Lilly Forever

As the morning came to light the Charter and party boats pass by the inlet on their way to a rough day of fishing.

Black Dog on the way out  Blue Heron on the way out

I lost two snooks to the rocks so I upped my leader to 60 pound test, that seemed to do the trick as I did not loose any more to the rocks. So off a big fellow went out to fetch me a another snook.

Rig I was using  Croacker

That big fellow swam for two hours until it got hit but the snook were just playing with it it, they would pick it up and would drop it. So out a smaller croacker went to the water, this time at 9 a.m. it got swallowed by a snook. Thanks to a kind kid that came to me and said “here mister,  catch a big snook”

Snook Jupiter Inlet

Ten Minutes had passed and my rod bends again, another nice snook, as my wife went to get my casting net I caught and released two more snooks.

Snook at Juno Inlet Jetty

Then the rest of people decided to join the fun, Fausto a nice gentleman that gave me a few croackers he caught with a cast net also joined and got a few nice snooks

Fausto's snook Juno Inlet Jetty

At 10:05 a.m came up another one of my snooks, got some pics since my wife came back and released it was.

Cudaman's Snook at Juno Inlet Jetty

At 10:26 Fausto got another one along with a crowd rant for holding the snook the way he did, but he released it quickly.

Fausto's snook 3  Juno Inlet Jetty

I kept on hooking up and releasing more then Rory passed by to say high and toss a few lures in the water. I had ran out of bait so I asked Fausto once again for a small croacker as I sent the dead croacker others were instantly hooking up with live ones. I knew I had to wait and just twich the rod every now and then to make it look somewhat live and at 10:30 a.m  out a beauty of a snook momma just made me dance hoping from rock to rock like a teenager skipping stones, she came close to a nice gap of rocks and then she would just go out again, doing so 3 or 4 times but she gave up and decided it was time to come up. As I was picking her up and unhooking her she slipped out of my hands and fell in the water but between rocks and she could not get out so I had to hop to the rocks down below to retrieve her, my wife took a quick picture from far away and off to the water momma snook went. She swam so fast that as soon as she hit the water there was no sign of her.

Fighting a snook at Jupiter Inlet Jetty  Snook jumping Juno Inlet Jetty

Herbert's Snook at Juno Inlet Jetty

It was a great day of catch and release (except the bait off course) at the Jupiter Inlet South Jetty (AKA Juno Inlet Jetty). My fingers are torn to pieces literally and my whole body hurts like I have been to the gym for hours on end. Those rocks sure made me pay a toll for not being young or better said way out of shape, but I say it again “I will start on Monday”. It was nice to see and chat with Rory, hope he makes it out again  to have some fun fishing.