Talk about a place with a lot of options. Fishing the Atlantic has proven to be quite exciting in ways I would not have expected. People are able to surf, big sport fishing exists just a mile from shore, and turtle nests cover the beaches- oh, and there is a lot less red tide right now than there is on the West Coast (as of August 2018.)
We headed over to fish the Sebastian Inlet in hopes of better fishing. We weren’t necessarily greeted with better fishing, but we did find some exciting wildlife that is a little more uncommon to us in Tampa. The manatee flowed through the inlet like a literal herd of cattle, more properly called an ‘aggregation,’ or ‘potato soup’ to hungry fisherman. Here are some of my wrap-up thoughts on fishing the Sebastian Inlet:
1.) The main pier is long. Really long. I have a thing where I HATE toting all of my fishing gear further than I can throw to the point that I will not go fishing. There are too many places to fish (like the Sunshine Skyway Pier) that offer easy peasy fishing. So, luckily, there are lots of little piers under the Inlet bridge that are easier access. Men with a “must go further, must cast harder” to get a fish complex will struggle with fishing off the baby piers, but I saw better fishing here than at the end of the main pier. There are some serious jacks and snook flowing through the Inlet.
2.) Have a basket. PEOPLE. Again, do you all have a complex with preparing for the possibility that you might screw up while fishing? These piers have no shore access. There is no walk-your-big-fish-to-the-shore kind of recovery. Or worse, as we witnessed, you hook something you aren’t supposed to. Our pier neighbors snagged a loggerhead turtle and were S-O-L because they didn’t have a basket. Luckily, a local man had one in his truck and was able to hoist it in the air for freedom. It could have been us. The next day I walked into a bait shop with my dad and said we have gotten lucky for too long and we can’t continue pier fishing so irresponsibly. (One month later, WE were the saviors with the basket.)
3.) Prepare for no-see-ums. Y’all would have thought I had Leprosy the day after we went fishing. I packed so poorly for our two day trip by only having swimsuits to wear and ended up eaten alive. My legs, hands, belly, back- my whole body covered in itchy bites. No Benadryl or cream can appease the bumps. These critters are not always around, but I have discovered it’s much better to plan like they are.
4.) Learn some new fish species. Having never fished jetties on the Atlantic side, I pulled up things I have never seen, but mostly rock fish. They are greedy little dudes and will be the first to chow down on your bait. I would rather pull them up than nothing at all, but they are as common as pin fish on the gulf side. Word of caution: they have some pokey fins that will draw blood with a fairly potent sting. (Upon further research, they are poisonous. Nothing to be too concerned about in my opinion, just irritating.)
5.) Fast waters, heavy sinkers. This depends on the kind of fishing you want to do. I’m a hug-the-bottom kind of girl because I like stronger tension in my line to feel all of the little nibbles and trembles. The tide will either suck your line inward or outward, but either way will flow fast so I opt for a decent-sized pyramid sinker. There are a bounty of rocks to get hung up on, so drifting with the tide might save a lot more of your time.