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Where to Fish in October…


Salt Water Sportsman guides you through the month of October in search of your favorite saltwater species. These two locations per popular saltwater species offers insight into why the bite is hot and future trends to anticipate.

 

First choice: Costa Rica
Second choice: Ecuador

The seamounts 70 to 140 miles off Quepos and Los Sueños, Costa Rica, post the highest numbers of marlin anywhere in the world, with double-digit-release days and fish to 400 pounds common. The waters of the Galapagos Islands, some 80 miles off Ecuador, and the stretch from Manta to Salinas come into peak season this month.

 

First choice: Brazil
Second choice: Dominican Republic

The currents pushing against the legendary Royal Charlotte Bank off the coast of Brazil serve up a literal smorgasbord of bait, and the action on blue marlin heats up over the next couple of months. Boats targeting blues in Mona Passage, between the D.R. and Puerto Rico, continue to enjoy a solid bite this month.

 

First choice: Australia
Second choice: Costa Rica

Break out the big baits and cash in on the famed giant blacks that haunt the Great Barrier Reef starting early in the Ribbon Reefs this month, then spreading out. Expect specimens to top 800 pounds in some instances. Black marlin season gets going in Costa Rica, with top action in closer-to-shore waters from Los Sueños to Quepos, as well as the seamounts.

 

First choice: Portugal
Second choice: Brazil

The run of whites in U.S. waters has tapered off, but those fish begin appearing on the other side of the Atlantic, around the Azores, off Portugal. For plenty of bruisers in excess of 100 pounds, a trip to Brazil is in order because this month kicks off high season for giant Carioca whites along the first drop in the continental shelf, off Vitoria.

 

First choice: Florida
Second choice: North Carolina

The first cold (relatively speaking) fronts of the season push the beginnings of the winter run of sails onto the Florida reefs, from the border through the Keys. Expect the bite to get increasingly better over the next couple of months. The last remnants of the migrating fish pass through the Outer Banks of North Carolina this month, still worth some attention.

 

First choice: Guatemala
Second choice: Mexico

As the weather gets drier and the rainy season fades, sailfishing becomes more comfortable from Puerto Quetzal and Puerto San Jose. Double-digit days surprise no one this time of year in Guatemala. Off Cabo San Lucas, at the tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, Pacific sails move in to take up the slack when the striped marlin begin to vacate.

 

First choice: Ecuador
Second choice: Mexico

A convergence of nutrient- and bait-rich currents over the San Cristobal Banks brings peak action to the Galapagos Islands in October. Expect reliable catches in sporty sea conditions. This month, the action off Mexico’s Baja Peninsula moves north to Magdalena Bay, where congregations of baitfish draw waves of feeding stripes.

 

First choice: Bahamas
Second choice: Bermuda

Expect wahoo to arrive right on time for their annual appearance in the Bahamas. As close as Bimini or as far flung as San Salvador, Long Island and the remote outposts on Rum Cay, fast-trolling with artificials yields some incredible catches. Bermuda turns back on this month, with live baits producing steady catches off the southeast corner of the island.

 

First choice: Bermuda
Second choice: North Carolina

Along with the return of the wahoo, Bermuda sees a spike in yellowfin tuna populations this time of year, with the majority scaling up to 100 pounds. Look for them on the Challenger and Argus banks. The North Carolina fishery lights up, and though the fish are smaller, they are often suckers for topwater plugs and subsurface stickbaits.

 

First choice: Prince Edward Island
Second choice: Massachusetts

Bluefins congregate to feed this month before crossing the Atlantic, and Canada is the place to be for genuine giants. It’s big-game fishing at its most demanding, but the rewards are high. The last of the migration still lingers in American waters, with the traditional grounds of Stellwagen and Georges banks holding some school fish.

 

First choice: Bahamas
Second choice: Florida

The Bahamas remain a reliable destination for bonefish, and with October’s milder weather, fish will flood the flats throughout the day, wherever the tide permits it. From Miami to the Keys, there’s no better time to find bones than right now. South Florida bonefish are smart, but pick your spots and tides right and trophy fish are a genuine possibility.

 

First choice: Florida
Second choice: Belize

Snook season in Florida remains open this month, but the fish are bound to be on the move. Look for them along the beaches, as well as in the passes and inlets, and moving into inshore waters around docks and outer islands. Coastal rivers in Belize reliably produce linesiders for anglers casting plugs and jigs. Try fishing around coastal river mouths and just inside.

 

First choice: Florida
Second choice: Costa Rica

Hunt the inlets and passes of both Florida coasts for tarpon intercepting first the fall mullet run, then the runs of shrimp that keep them around through the winter. The proven grounds on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica provide reliable encounters with big fish holding off the river mouths, just beyond the breakers.

 

First choice: Belize
Second choice: Florida

Belize’s offshore islands produce predictable catches of permit, but you’ll need to pick your days, hone your tropical-weather skills, or stick to inside waters and flats for the payoff. From Miami south to the Florida Keys, October is prime time for permit on the hard flats, grass meadows, coral heads, and the channels and cuts near deeper water.

 

First choice: Louisiana
Second choice: Florida

Big redfish gather in Louisiana waters this month, on the outer beaches, and anywhere they have proximity to deeper Gulf of Mexico waters. Look for the bait schools and the reds won’t be far behind. Both coasts of Florida get hot this month. Expect fish to hold in the inlets and passes from Tampa on south, and from the Indian River north to the St. Johns.

 

First choice: New York
Second choice: New Jersey

From the mouth of the Hudson River on out along Long Island to Montauk, menhaden, aka bunker, are the draw, and big stripers pile on the schools to feed before winter sends them on their way south. The beaches along the Jersey shore also offer prime hunting grounds for stripers, and anglers fishing the surf and nearshore waters will do well this month.

 

First choice: Florida
Second choice: Mexico

Hot-weather tactics give way to daytime opportunities for swordfish off Florida as the clime moderates. Winter fronts have yet to arrive in force, so sea conditions are optimal for drifting big baits deep, both night and day. In the Yucatan Channel off eastern Mexico, hunt the edges of banks and drops for the best chance of hooking up with a broadbill.

 

First choice: North Carolina
Second choice: Florida

Cooler temperatures bring hot kingfish action to the East Coast as menhaden invade the Outer Banks, with healthy numbers of midsize bluefish right behind them. Check the beaches and the deeper reefs — they’ll be there. Down in Florida, look for smokers tearing into bait that moves in for the winter, from the Panhandle all the way to Key West.

 

First choice: New York
Second choice: New Jersey

As the menhaden go, so go the bluefish. Look for concentrations of both off New York. There’ll be stripers around too, but when they get reticent, bluefish stand ready to save the day. Hunt the Jersey beaches for big specimens this month; they’ll be feasting on the same menhaden schools. Inside bays provide consistent action with smaller specimens.

 

First choice: Hawaii
Second choice: Costa Rica

If it’s big dolphin rather mahimahi that you’re after, there’s no better place to find them than Hawaiian waters, where they’re abundant this time of year and will hit both baits and lures. Just be sure to keep something sized right in the spread. With plenty of structure in the water post rainy season, Costa Rican waters remain a dolphin magnet this month.


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