Where to Fish in October | Salt Water Sportsman

Where to Fish in October

Find where your favorite species is hiding as fall comes into full swing in North America, the Caribbean, Mexico and more

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.

 

Pacific Blue Marlin

Pacific blue marlin

Pacific blue marlin

Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Ecuador
Second choice: Costa Rica

Waters off the Galapagos and fabled Marlin Boulevard (the area around Manta, Isla de la Plata, and Salinas) are teeming with big blue marlin this month as action again reaches its peak. Costa Rica’s offshore FADs continue to produce solid numbers of blues for boats making the 100-plus-mile treks from Los Sueños and Quepos.

 

Atlantic Blue Marlin

Atlantic blue marlin

Atlantic blue marlin

Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Brazil
Second choice: Canary Islands

The next two months are tops for sheer numbers of blues off Brazil’s coast, particularly between Canavieiras and Recife, where the abundance of forage at several banks and pinnacles attracts hungry marlin. Ideal conditions and plenty of tuna keep 300- to 500-pound blues within range of game boats out of La Gomera and Gran Canaria this month.

 

Black Marlin

black marlin

Black marlin

Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Australia
Second choice: Mexico

The fertile waters surrounding Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are known for giant black marlin, and there’s no better time to hook a grander along the stretch between Cairns and Lizard Island than October. Blacks usually take a back seat to striped marlin in Cabo San Lucas, but this month they are both plentiful and active.

 

White Marlin

White marlin

White marlin

Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Brazil
Second choice: Puerto Rico

Lots of whites patrol the first drop in the continental shelf off Vitoria, Brazil, where October signals the start of peak white marlin season. Here the fish are quite large; in fact, some weigh more than twice the average. In the Azores, whites are on their way out, but enough remain around the Condor and Azores banks to make a worthwhile target.

 

Atlantic Sailfish

Atlantic sailfish

Atlantic sailfish

Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida
Second choice: North Carolina

Waters cool down with fall’s arrival, and sails are heading south along the western Atlantic. Many are settling in from Fort Pierce to Islamorada, bringing a steady spindlebeak bite back to Florida. North Carolina’s Outer Banks is the last remaining sailfish stronghold in the mid-Atlantic, where a few flurries spice up the otherwise sporadic action.

 

Pacific Sailfish

Pacific sailfish

Pacific sailfish

Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Guatemala
Second choice: Mexico

With rainy season in the rearview mirror, sailfishing in Guatemala is on the rebound, and the fleets out of Puerto Quetzal and Puerto San Jose waste no time chalking up the big release tallies that made the area famous. Sails remain aggressive and in abundance off Cabo San Lucas, taking up the slack from the dwindling striped marlin.

 

Striped Marlin

striped marlin

Striped marlin

Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Ecuador
Second choice: Mexico

Seas remain bumpy, but the Galapagos, off the coast of Ecuador, remains the best bet for stripes in October. Fishing for striped marlin slows off Cabo San Lucas this time of year, but Sea of Cortez could be a hot spot, and massive schools of baitfish often attract hordes of hungry stripes to Bahia Magdalena (Mag Bay), some 200 miles north, as early as this month.

 

Wahoo

Wahoo

Wahoo

Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Bahamas
Second choice: Bermuda

The run of ’hoos in the Bahamas gets underway. San Salvador and Cat Island are the most famous spots, but Rum Cay, Long Island, Great Abaco and even tiny Bimini yield good catches. Wahoo action in Bermuda is back in full swing, and fish are bigger now. For best results, troll small live bonito around the Argus and Challenger banks, or off the island’s southeast corner.

 

Yellowfin Tuna

yellowfin tuna

Yellowfin tuna

Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Bermuda
Second choice: North Carolina

Fast-moving schools of 50- to 100-pounders invade Bermuda’s famous offshore banks, where they share the limelight with fall wahoo. Chunking from an anchored boat often produces more fish, but the larger tuna are usually taken by trolling rigged baits or lures. Yellowfin catches become more prevalent off the Outer Banks as the tuna build in numbers.

 

Bluefin Tuna

bluefin tuna

Bluefin tuna

Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Massachusetts
Second choice: Canada

For boats fishing for big bluefins out of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts, it’s about time for the last hurrah. By now many of the fish have moved into Canadian waters, but those that remain are feeding aggressively in preparation for crossing the Atlantic. Expect more reliable action around Prince Edward Island, just north of the Canadian border.

 

Bonefish

bonefish

Bonefish

Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Bahamas
Second choice: Florida

With the arrival of mild fall weather, bonefish storm the Bahamian flats. October is a great time to find them foraging in a scant few inches of water, with their tails and dorsals exposed. Pack wading boots to approach those fish on foot to improve your odds. Bonefish numbers aren’t what they used to be in South Florida, but this is still a top month.

 

Snook

snook

Snook

Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida
Second choice: Belize

October is a transition month for Florida linesiders. The fish are abundant and widespread, but changing conditions keep snook on the move and anglers guessing their whereabouts. Docks and mangrove-island troughs are most reliable. In Belize, coastal rivers and mangrove lagoon systems remain productive. Work river mouths and bends to catch the big ones.

 

Tarpon

Tarpon

Tarpon

Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida
Second choice: Costa Rica

As cold fronts loom ever closer, tarpon in Florida concentrate on fattening up before winter. Most stage in deep holes just inside inlets and passes, deep residential canals, or the mouths of coastal rivers to ambush mullet and ladyfish. In Costa Rica, tarpon stack up along the beaches outside Rio Colorado, Parismina, Rio Sixaola and Laguna Gandoca.

 

Permit

Permit

Permit

Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida
Second choice: Belize

October offers superb conditions and lots of fish for those chasing permit in Miami’s Biscayne Bay or down in the lower Florida Keys. Belize weather remains unreliable, but anglers willing to take the risk can locate and cast to good numbers of permit on Turneffe’s inside waters or the lee along various islands.

 

Red Drum

red drum

Red Drum

Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Louisiana
Second choice: North Carolina

No shortage of reds throughout Louisiana’s marshes, but the larger specimens have bunched up by now and are most likely gorging on schooling baitfish along outer shorelines and islands close to the open Gulf of Mexico. Plenty of giants for the taking in North Carolina’s Pamlico Sound and Neuse River, as well as along the beaches from Hatteras to Cape Lookout.

 

Striped Bass

striped bass

Striped bass

Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: New York
Second choice: New Jersey

Long Island’s adjacent waters remain loaded with the large bunker that keep trophy stripers on the feed. With temperatures starting to dip, the fish are intent on packing on the pounds before winter limits their food sources. New Jersey beaches also offer excellent chances to intercept big stripers as the fish increasingly begin to move south.

 

Swordfish

swordfish

Swordfish

Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Florida
Second choice: Mexico

This month increases choices for South Florida anglers intent on tangling with broadbills, as generally calm, mild conditions allow drifting rigged baits, slow-trolling liveys in deep water during the day, or suspending live or dead offerings under strobes or Cyalume sticks at night. Yucatan Channel also holds swords. Chinchorro and other offshore banks become prime spots.

 

King Mackerel

king mackerel

King mackerel

Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: North Carolina
Second choice: Florida

More and more big kings converge off the coast of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, and the action steadily improves from just off the beaches to several miles offshore, where the fish hunt around any structure, natural or man-made. Smokers also congregate along Florida’s Gulf coast, and especially near Key West, where many anglers land fish over 50 pounds every season.

 

Bluefish

Bluefish

Bluefish

Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: New York
Second choice: New Jersey

The abundance of menhaden along the Jersey and Long Island shores are luring schools of perennially ravenous chopper blues, which continue their systematic attacks on the hapless prey. Big bluefish also have under siege some nearshore ledges and wrecks off New York and New Jersey. There, dropping baits or irons does the trick.

 

Dolphin

mahimahi

Dolphin

Illustration by Keilani Rodriguez

First choice: Hawaii
Second choice: Mexico

Now is the time to chase big dolphin in Hawaii as packs of slammers travel through the region, often close to shore, and enthusiastically pounce on trolled baits and lures. Sea of Cortez and the west coast of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula also enjoy an influx of dorado this time of year, a fact that isn’t lost on local charter boat fleets, many of which make them a primary target.

Latest


More Stories


Videos