Indian River Inlet Fishing Report
Short tog is being caught at the inlet using sand fleas and lead heads, while there has also been decent sheepshead action on rockpiles/jetties.
Daytime inlet fishing for minor blues and Spanish mackerel on incoming tides has been hit-or-miss, while striper action has been at its best at night. Bucktails and plugs offer optimal results.
Flounder fishing in the Inlet has begun to pick up, with flounders being caught off both south rockpiles and inshore wrecks/reefs when the wind comes from the north. Lead heads tipped with white Gulp swimming mullet fished close to rocks should yield results; daytime Croakers are also present and may respond to lures such as squid strips or bucktails for additional strikes. Sheepshead and black drum can also be caught along rocks.
There have been occasional nighttime snapper blue and kingfish caught along the beaches at night. Striper fishing has been fair, with a few keepers being caught. Fish the entire tide for best results using live sand fleas or plugs as bait.
Tautog have been relatively abundant in the Inlet. Additionally, sheepshead and triggerfish have been caught 1 mile offshore of the old Coast Guard Station since its season has opened up again for fall fishing there. Green crabs or sand fleas should work best as bait, while sheepshead are likely to take to jigs tipped with dark bucktails that have been introduced to their feeding grounds during this time of year.
Bluefish fishing at the inlet has seen a marked improvement, with numerous 10-pounders biting bucktails, spoons, or plugs and also devouring bloodworms and other cut bait. Bloodworms were especially tasty! Bunker schools from Dewey down to Fenwick beaches have become magnets for bluefish; reports of kingfish and croakers from beach fishing were even reported earlier this month!
Tautog fishing has been good on both the north and south sides of the inlet. A big swivel with either a green crab or white bucktail lure has proven successful; use an ounce or less for drifting over rocks or cast out deep in the rips for casting out deeper.
Small tog is being caught on both sides of the inlet: at jetties on the south side and flats between the 5-fathom bank and the second lump on the east side, along with larger specimens caught using squid or clam strips.
At the inlet, there is an outstanding bluefish bite on daytime incoming tides. To fish successfully, anglers should fish an hour prior to high tide through an hour after it. Small bucktails or lead heads with soft white plastic tails make excellent lures.
Sheepshead fishing is an increasingly popular pastime among many local anglers. These tasty, relatively easy-to-find, year-round catchable fish possess an eye-catching unique appearance that draws many anglers’ interest – though patience and knowledge may be needed when trying to land one!
Sheepshead gather near dock and bridge pilings, as well as any structure providing shelter and food, such as docks or sea walls. They feed on crustaceans such as crabs, shrimp, oysters, and clams – the ideal time for fishing them is winter when they gather in shallow areas near docks and sea walls.
Live bait is usually the best way to attract Sheepshead, but these finicky creatures can be notorious bait thieves. Therefore, the bait must be placed precisely in its designated spot on the structure; once there, slowly move your rod up and down until a steady tap on your rod indicates a Sheepshead has taken it!
Sheepshead can be challenging to catch, but their rewards make the effort worth your while. These fish are known to prefer natural bait over artificial lures, so if this fish interests you, make sure to check local, state/provincial, and federal regulations prior to heading out and trying your luck at catching one.
Indian River Inlet’s striped bass action has been slow at best. Small bucktails and plugs fished on the surface are producing results, while several boats trolling near Sea Colony and Ocean City have limited out. We expect things to improve as temperatures decrease further.
Sheepshead and triggerfish have been taking advantage of the rockfish abundance along the rocks of the Inlet to make for good fishing, while the beach tautog bite has been fair. Flounder are hitting on metal cast lures as well as bucktails – Ed Heite caught a 20-inch weakfish this afternoon on such a lure with an easy gulp action!
There’s been an excellent flounder bite in the back bays using cut mullet and bunker bait, while kingfish have also been doing well off rocks and reefs. Surf conditions remain somewhat disturbed after last weekend’s storm; this should clear up over the next several days.
At the inlet, fish bite on small bucktails and plugs during the incoming daytime tide. Nighttime striper action has been slow so far but should improve as the season progresses. Some boaters are catching keepers near the coast guard wall or end of the north rockpile while Pompano, Spot, and Croaker are being seen using Fishbites or live sand fleas; we currently only have limited supplies of live sandworms available but hope to have more soon!