Anglers And Wave Wranglers – Sebastian Inlet

Anglers And Wave Wranglers
Sebastian Inlet, Florida: Florida’s number-one fishing destination.

Over the 25 years since my first trip to Sebastian Inlet, there’ve been many epic days. Now that I’m older, I remember that back in those days swells were much more frequent than swells today. I’m sure it was because my brothers (Kelly and Skippy) Steven and I were just tiny little pip-squeaks, so every day seemed like there was a swell. Our dad Steve used to take us to the Inlet to surf, fish, dive, ride the mini bike, and just run around-getting into everything we could find. Our dad’s been into the ocean-fishing and diving-most of his life. He’s taught us just about everything there is to know about the ocean.

I once watched a guy fall off his boat in the Inlet at night during a huge, choppy swell. Steve tried to save the guy, but he was sucked out to sea through the furious current, only to drown in Monster Hole’s choppy wash. I learned that day how serious and dangerous Sebastian Inlet can be.

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During the long days of summer, both the air and water can be as warm as 88 degress-so hot you have to use basecoat-temp wax or your wax will melt. The air’s sticky and humid, even at 6:00 a.m. It’s these muggy spring and summer days when the waves at First Peak are as good it gets-those are the ones that are remembered.

Sebastian’s First Peak is talked about quite regularly in conversations about East Coast surfing, as we all know, but the Inlet is much more than one of the few consistent surf spots in the East. The coast offshore at the Inlet deepens much more quickly than almost all of the Florida coast, and there aren’t any obstacles blocking the swell like NASA does the Cocoa Beach area and the Bahamas do down south toward Reef Road. Even if the waves are small, a good swell direction at the First Peak wedge off the Inlet jetty will kick up a fast, barreling launchpad that is often two to three times bigger than anywhere on the East Coast.

If you’ve ever seen First Peak going off, you know it can be one of the top small-wave spots in the world. As long as the sandbars are good, even little two-foot waves can provide some sick fun. In the last few months, there have been unreal sandbars at the Inlet. We’ve had a few swells this spring, but nothing compared to the end of February’s madness swell that was overdue and welcomed with open arms. The water had just warmed up, and First Peak experienced one of the best days ever in Sebastian Inlet history.

ESM photo-guy Dick Meseroll said, “I’ve lived here for eleven years, and it was some of the top-five hollowest and freakiest First Peak wedges. If it was like that consistently, we’d be living in an East Coast surfing paradise.”

The shots in this article are all from those epic couple days, when gaping wedges were had by all the boys lucky enough to be in town-Cory Lopez, David Spier, Matt Kechele, Paul “Rhino” Reineicke, and a host of other locals. Those of us who were raised in this warm East Coast utopia enjoy nothing better than to be out at First Peak with all the bros we grew up with on a day that rivals anyplace in the world. It just feels good to have it in your own backyard.

Not only is the surf unavoidably sick at times, there is much more in Sebastian Inlet State Park to check out. First of all, the fishing’s some of the best on the planet. Florida surfers, at least the majority of them, fish the Inlet regularly when the surf is not so unreal. Sebastian provides some of the best snook and redfish fishing anywhere. Trout, flounder, tarpon, sharks, red snapper, black drum, etc.-it’s like deep-sea fishing off a pier. There are always dozens of manatees (sea cows) cruising around the waterways in and out of the Inlet. Many species of sharks can be found in the Indian River Lagoon, as well as a few alligators, which aren’t so visible due to the amount of boats in the area (alligators tend to stay ay from the clatter of engines). Diving in the area is also unbelievable-lobster, stone crabs, etc. There’s a campground on the south side of the Inlet, but I wouldn’t advise camping there unless you want to be carried off by a mosquito tribe.

The current at the mouth of Sebastian Inlet changes approximately every six hours, depending on the tides, of course. It flows in like river rapids for six hours. The flow then slows down and turns around in only a few minutes. Then it speeds back out toward the Atlantic. This current can be dangerous at times-it often capsizes boats and drowns people. Some of us who’ve been surfing around the area for many years have grown accustomed to keeping an eye out and saving people from drowning. I think Trip Freeman had the record for saves in one year.

The Inlet’s history goes back to the last ice age. The Paleolithic hunters were the first inhabitants, but eleven Spanish galleons ended their existence in the water outside the Inlet. More recently, the Ais Native Americans became extinct in the area around the mid 1700s due to mistreatment and disease. Sebastian Inlet is man-made-built so fishermen could have a closer passage to the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. It was dug out and completed in 1965 at a cost of 745,000 dollars.

Surfers have been taking advantage of this locale since the early 60s when it was first being developed. Gary Propper and Dick Catri were some of the original guys to frequently surf the spot. To this day, it continues to be a location where surfers and fishermen coexist peacefully without problems. It’s always nice to have that in a place where we enjoy ourselves the most-the ocean.-Sean Slater

P>Top Lures Of Choice:
Wind cheater, Buck-tail jig, Rattle trap, Rebel, Mirror lure, Bomber, neon-purple double-broken-back weedless shallow-diving rattler spinner, Banjo minnow, and Gator Bait.

Top Live Baits Of Choice: Finger mullet, croakers, pinfish, shrimp, ladyfish (for sharks), sand fleas, fiddler crabs, and live frogs, lizards, and crickets.

FISHIN’ SLANG

backlash-An action that causes bird nests in the line because the reel is spinning faster than the line is casting. Example:
“Max is the king of backlash. That’s why I don’t like fishin’ with him.”

bird nest-Thousands of tiny tangles in your line.Example:
“Every time Max tries to cast, he always ends up with this big ol’ bird nest. It takes him about an hour to untangle it.”

broken-back-A lure with a connecting hinge that allows it to mimic swimming. Example:
“I won the ’85 Cocoa Beach Redfish tournament with a broken-back rig. I think they work pretty good.”

crusty sea dog-An old-school fisherman with leather skin from years of natural and unnatural elements, possibly missing some body parts.Example:
“Shit! No open spots to throw a line in. If it wasn’t for all these damn crusty sea dogs, we could have a go at it.”

foul-hook-Hooking a fish anywhere but the mouth. Example:
“Every time we fish with Kelly, he manages to foul-hook a fish in the ass.”

grub tails-Small, rubber worm-type tails used for bait. Example:
“Hey, boy! Throw me wunna them there grub tails. I lost my hook on that last cast.”

keeper-A fish worthy of keeping.Example:
“Hey, Cletus! You better hold on to that snapper! She shore is a keeper.”

lipotania-The area in the mouth containing cancer from chewing tobacco. Example:
“I quit chewin’ ’cause Pa said I had me a nasty case of lipotania goin’ on.”

mullet-A nice Floridian hairstyle or an abundant type of fish that eats vegetation. Example:
“Grandpa, are we still gonna hunt fer mullets tonight?”

murret-Mullet sashimi. Example:
“I don’t like going over to Sean’s house for dinner. He always serves stinky-ass murret he caught in his backyard.”

murret firet-Boneless mullet sashimi.Example:
“Yeah, I don’t like going over there, either. Even if he’s claimin’ murret firet-I ain’t goin’.

pelicannibal-A person who likes to catch pelicans with a fishing line and then eat them. Example:
“Didja know Skippy’s a pelicannibal? I saw his ass fishin’ for them birds before his barbecue yesterday.”

spinner shark-A black-tip shark that jumps out of the water and spins. Example:
“Whoa, man! Didja see that spinner shark flip topsy-turvy over by the jetty?

split shot-A fishing weight that’s squeezed onto the line.Example:
“Buford, will you go to the bait ‘n’ tackle store an grab me some new split shots? I ren out already.”

spooled-When all your line’s run out by a big fish. Example:
“Damn, Big Red spooled my line again. I’m gonna get that bastard if it’s the last thing I do!”

top-water action-Working your bait of choice on the surface. Example:
“Man, I ain’t gettin’ any bites. Maybe I should try some more top-water action.”

water turkey-A black bird that swims underwater to catch food. Also called a cormorant.Example:
“Son, did I ever tell you about the time I saw a water turkey get gobbled up by a mako shark?”

weightasoreass-A fisherman who chucks weights at surfers from the jetty. Usually a very miserable person. Example:
“What a weightasoreass! He does that again and I’m gonna paddle in and kick the living shit outta that dude!”

Eighteen Fun Facts About Sebastian Inlet
You May Not Know

1. Sebastian Inlet’s a man-made inlet that rapidly exchanges millions of gallons of salt water to and from the Atlantic Ocean every six hours into and out of the Indian River Lagoon.

2. The Inlet was developed by fishermen who needed quick access to the ocean from the Intracoastal Waterway (a local river) and was opened in 1924.

3. A saltwater fishing permit for the year costs $13.50.

4. Before Sebastian Inlet was created, an inlet three miles south called Gibson’s Cut was dug by hand in 1886, but it was quickly closed due to storms.

5. You’re not allowed to hunt manatees in Florida.

6. In 1715, eleven Spanish ships filled with treasure sank off the Central Florida coast. Seven-hundred sailors died and 1,000 survived.

7. A trapping permit costs $28.50, but trapping’s not allowed in the state park.

8. There used to be many conflicts at the Inlet between surfers and fishermen, but now half the fishermen surf, so we seem to get along.

9. The area of Sebastian Inlet was formed at the end of the last ice age. The first inhabitants were the Paleolithic hunters.

10. “Monster Hole” is approximately a third of a mile off the coast adjacent to Sebastian Inlet, and is an excellent place to surf when it’s big, as well as fishing for sharks.

11. Many people have lost their lives by drowning in the currents inside the actual inlet.

12. Sebastian Inlet Bridge is approximately 1,548 feet long and was finished in 1965 at a cost of $745,000.

13. Sebastian Inlet’s the best place to fish for snook on the East Coast.

14. Shark feeding frenzies are common in the surfing areas at Sebastian Inlet certain times of the year. They usually happen between the months of August and November.

15. You cannot spearfish in Sebastian Inlet State Park.

16. Some other early inhabitants of the area were the Ais Native Americans in 1696. The tribes were wiped out by mistreatment and disease by the year 1760.

17. Dangerous creatures in the area include:
alligators, sharks, barracuda, moray eels, Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish, water moccasin snakes, and bluefish.

18. Almost all sharks pee through their skin, which is why the meat spoils so easily.

CALLOUTS”I once watched a guy fall off his boat in the Inlet at night during a huge, choppy swell. He was sucked out to sea through the furious current, only to drown in Monster Hole’s choppy wash.”

“During the long days of summer, both the air and water can be as warm as 88 in’ murret firet-I ain’t goin’.

pelicannibal-A person who likes to catch pelicans with a fishing line and then eat them. Example:
“Didja know Skippy’s a pelicannibal? I saw his ass fishin’ for them birds before his barbecue yesterday.”

spinner shark-A black-tip shark that jumps out of the water and spins. Example:
“Whoa, man! Didja see that spinner shark flip topsy-turvy over by the jetty?

split shot-A fishing weight that’s squeezed onto the line.Example:
“Buford, will you go to the bait ‘n’ tackle store an grab me some new split shots? I ren out already.”

spooled-When all your line’s run out by a big fish. Example:
“Damn, Big Red spooled my line again. I’m gonna get that bastard if it’s the last thing I do!”

top-water action-Working your bait of choice on the surface. Example:
“Man, I ain’t gettin’ any bites. Maybe I should try some more top-water action.”

water turkey-A black bird that swims underwater to catch food. Also called a cormorant.Example:
“Son, did I ever tell you about the time I saw a water turkey get gobbled up by a mako shark?”

weightasoreass-A fisherman who chucks weights at surfers from the jetty. Usually a very miserable person. Example:
“What a weightasoreass! He does that again and I’m gonna paddle in and kick the living shit outta that dude!”

Eighteen Fun Facts About Sebastian Inlet
You May Not Know

1. Sebastian Inlet’s a man-made inlet that rapidly exchanges millions of gallons of salt water to and from the Atlantic Ocean every six hours into and out of the Indian River Lagoon.

2. The Inlet was developed by fishermen who needed quick access to the ocean from the Intracoastal Waterway (a local river) and was opened in 1924.

3. A saltwater fishing permit for the year costs $13.50.

4. Before Sebastian Inlet was created, an inlet three miles south called Gibson’s Cut was dug by hand in 1886, but it was quickly closed due to storms.

5. You’re not allowed to hunt manatees in Florida.

6. In 1715, eleven Spanish ships filled with treasure sank off the Central Florida coast. Seven-hundred sailors died and 1,000 survived.

7. A trapping permit costs $28.50, but trapping’s not allowed in the state park.

8. There used to be many conflicts at the Inlet between surfers and fishermen, but now half the fishermen surf, so we seem to get along.

9. The area of Sebastian Inlet was formed at the end of the last ice age. The first inhabitants were the Paleolithic hunters.

10. “Monster Hole” is approximately a third of a mile off the coast adjacent to Sebastian Inlet, and is an excellent place to surf when it’s big, as well as fishing for sharks.

11. Many people have lost their lives by drowning in the currents inside the actual inlet.

12. Sebastian Inlet Bridge is approximately 1,548 feet long and was finished in 1965 at a cost of $745,000.

13. Sebastian Inlet’s the best place to fish for snook on the East Coast.

14. Shark feeding frenzies are common in the surfing areas at Sebastian Inlet certain times of the year. They usually happen between the months of August and November.

15. You cannot spearfish in Sebastian Inlet State Park.

16. Some other early inhabitants of the area were the Ais Native Americans in 1696. The tribes were wiped out by mistreatment and disease by the year 1760.

17. Dangerous creatures in the area include:
alligators, sharks, barracuda, moray eels, Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish, water moccasin snakes, and bluefish.

18. Almost all sharks pee through their skin, which is why the meat spoils so easily.

CALLOUTS”I once watched a guy fall off his boat in the Inlet at night during a huge, choppy swell. He was sucked out to sea through the furious current, only to drown in Monster Hole’s choppy wash.”

“During the long days of summer, both the air and water can be as warm as 88 degress-so hot you have to use basecoat-temp wax or your wax will melt.”

“I’ve lived here for eleven years, and this swell had some of the top-five hollowest and freakiest First Peak wedges. If it was like that consistently, we’d be living in an East Coast surfing paradise.” -Dick Meseroll, Eastern Surf Magazine

“Some of us who’ve been surfing around the area for many years have grown accustomed to keeping an eye out and saving people from drowning.”

“The Paleolithic hunters were the first inhabitants, but eleven Spanish galleons ended their existence in the water outside the Inlet.”

88 degress-so hot you have to use basecoat-temp wax or your wax will melt.”

“I’ve lived here for eleven years, and this swell had some of the top-five hollowest and freakiest First Peak wedges. If it was like that consistently, we’d be living in an East Coast surfing paradise.” -Dick Meseroll, Eastern Surf Magazine

“Some of us who’ve been surfing around the area for many years have grown accustomed to keeping an eye out and saving people from drowning.”

“The Paleolithic hunters were the first inhabitants, but eleven Spanish galleons ended their existence in the water outside the Inlet.”