Native Sons Fishing Guides, Central Florida & Indian River Lagoon Fishing Charters

Jan 15, 2013 – Winter Fishing Dominated by Weather

Fishing on the shallow saltwater grass flats along the central east coast of Florida during the winter months can be spectacular or challenging, it all depends upon the weather. Typically our winters are marked by the arrival of waves of cold fronts featuring strong winds and cooler temperatures, with the winds more troublesome than the cold. And, thus far this winter, we’ve been blessed with unusually mild weather which has brought about some spectacular fishing as evidenced by the following accounts.

It would be impossible to top the accomplishments of the Snipe family during their recent fishing charter with Capt. Rocky. Fishing on the Indian River near Titusville on a slick calm day, Ken, Tammy and Zach battled and landed an estimated 30 redfish ranging in size from 25 to 45 inches. During the day the Snipes had a pair of doubles, a triple featuring three fish with one, two and three spots and an unusual quadruple. Folks, this was a fairy tale type charter, winter fishing at its finest!

Three generations of the Scott family, Larry, Randy and Graycen, recently joined Capt. Rocky on an unusually warm winter day. The water was calm and clear and the fish were spooky and lethargic. However, the trio from Maryland had a solid morning catching reds and trout and an outstanding early afternoon battling big black drum which are currently schooling in the shallows. All three Scotts caught huge drum triggering a family argument which may last for many years over who caught the largest. Pictured below, holding their drums, are Larry, Randy and the whole family mugging with Graycen’s big fish.

Tom and Ron have fished with Capt. Rocky in the past catching reds and trout on the shallow grass flats along the central east coastline. This time they wanted to catch a couple of fish for dinner and battle some of the bigger fish for bragging purposes … and that is exactly what they did. Pictured below is Tom holding a pair of 25-30 pound redfish. Not pictured below is Ron who desperately battled a monstrous red, only to eventually part company, leaving him with a haunting memory of what could have been. Paraphrasing Shakespeare, ‘it is better to have fought and lost than never to have fought at all’.

Larry Zimmerman from Cocoa Beach, an old friend of Capt. Rocky, had hoped to introduce his teenage grandson Dre to some spectacular saltwater fishing over the Christmas holidays. When the day came for the charter Dre opted for one of the theme parks in Orlando leaving Larry as a solo fisherman for the charter. We never heard how the Disney trip went for Dre, but it is highly doubtful that it eclipsed Larry’s grand experience as he caught numerous redfish from ideal table-sized seven pounders to spectacular trophy-sized 30 pounders. Pictured below is a sequence of Larry battling one of his bigger fish.

The next series of photos feature Lee, Will and Jason. This is another party fishing with Capt. Rocky on the Indian River near Titusville. Check out the huge fish Will hooked, fought and landed … the fish is almost as big as the fisherman.

Another Christmas holiday angler was Natalie van Hoose whose trips home from Lafayette, Indiana are never complete unless there is a fishing adventure with her dad. Natalie, also called the Champ, once again blistered her finned friends of the flats catching a number of redfish and trout. Pictured below are several of her conquests.

Shannon began dreaming and planning a Christmas fishing adventure for Seth, her teenage son, sometime last spring. There were many emails traded during the intervening months and when the journey from Kansas to Orlando finally materialized, Mother Nature blew strong north winds across the rivers making fishing impossible. Fortunately, on the last day of their vacation, the winds subsided and the skies cleared allowing Shannon, Seth and his buddy Tanner, an opportunity to scramble a fishing trip with Capt. Rocky. Fishing was challenging early in the day as the fish struggled to reorient themselves to their normal feeding patterns however, by mid-afternoon, they began to warm to the task. Pictured below is Seth holding a pair of his bigger redfish.

Richard and Allen from Nashville went fishing with Capt. Rocky on the Indian River Lagoon near Titusville in late fall.  The duo caught redfish and trout and several rare late fall jacks. Pictured below is Richard holding a bigger red and jack.

Mal Smith, from the Keystone State,  while in the area visiting relatives, spent a day fishing with Capt. Rocky on the Indian River Lagoon near Grant/Sebastian. It was an unusual trip with epic twists and turns on a clear fall day. Mal battled three of the largest snook seen and hooked on the river in quite some time. Two of them eventually buried themselves in the same remote mangrove bush while the third broke off on a wild, powerful run into the horizon. Another oddity was a rare reef shark trashing a school of giant jacks in open water. Pictured below is Mal holding one the jacked caught and rescued from the shark. By the way, we did try to hook and quick darting shark but to no avail.

Another late fall visitor to the area was Danli Qing from Los Angeles. Dan was quite the world angler and regaled Capt. Rocky with his fishing exploits from exotic locations around the globe. He is also an accomplished chef as evidenced by the photos of a redfish and trout readied for an outstanding meal.

Another international angler fishing with Capt. Rocky during the fall was Charles Coleman of the Isle of Man (Great Britain).  Charles had quite the experience with redfish including a double and triple catch (not easy for a single angler to pull off). Pictured below is proof of Charles’ accomplishment.

Carl Treat was another December visitor to the area. He fished with Capt. Rocky on the Banana River on a gorgeous late fall day with blue bird skies and calm slick seas. The water was crystal clear and the fish causing the fish to be extra spooky. Pictured below is Carl with a large trout and solid slot-sized red.

Nov. 17, 2012 – Cleaning Out the Notebook

The notebook is overflowing with tall tales of great late summer and early fall fishing adventures.  It has been a very charter season for us and we apologize for letting these fine accounts and great photos pile up in the file. The time has come to clean out the notebook and let the epic stories be told.

The day broke bright and clear over the lagoon for Merlin, a Lutheran pastor from Iowa, Tom, a businessman from South Carolina and his colleague Dan from Merritt Island. The weatherman promised perfect weather and he delivered, for once in his life. The trio, guided by Capt. Rocky, fished a section of lush grass flat of the Indian River adjacent to Kennedy Space Center property and caught fish after fish after fish. When the day finally drew to a close, the Lutheran pastor had bested his comrades in large redfish by landing four the seven giants and while Tom and Dan tied atop the gator trout category with nine apiece. Perfect weather and perfect fishing … it was a great day on the river!

Austin and Kayla had a fun trip on the Indian River with Capt. Peter.  The first half of the day was spent sight-casting to schools of redfish and seatrout.  The first school that they fished had 50 redfish from 23-26inches – the anglers pulled a handful of redfish from this school as well as nice trout that were swimming with the redfish.  After playing with the smaller redfish, a short move down the flat put the anglers on  two schools of over 100 redfish.  These redfish were between 20 and 40 pounds, tightly packed and tailing (feeding heavily off of the bottom).  Austin and Kayla threw mullet at these fish and were quickly hooked up almost every cast.

Leaving the redfish biting and happy, they switched gears and targeted tarpon.  The next two hours were spent “up close and personal” with schools of tarpon from 80-150 pounds.  The tarpon were laid up finning and daisy-chaining on the surface – not another boat in sight.  Quietly drifting and polling through these pods of fish, allowed for over 100 finning tarpon to get within casting distance.  The first hook-up came quick, and a one hour and fifteen minute fight ensued before the 100 pound fish was brought boatside for some quick photos.  A quick poll to the next school gave another hookup before it was time for lunch.

Rick and his son Shelby from north Georgia had come to central Florida to watch the recent NASCAR race in Daytona Beach and being be big fishermen, they booked a half day charter with Capt. Rocky to chase redfish and trout. Fishing on the Indian River near Titusville, Rick and Shelby caught a mess of large trout and several redfish. The biggest fish of the day came during the last moments on the water when Shelby hooked and landed the fine 12 pound red pictured below.

The Moser Family from Kansas came to Florida recently for a vacation, splitting time between the theme parks in Orlando and the beach and fishing on Cocoa Beach. Chartering Capt. Rocky on the Indian River near Titusville the Mosers had a blast catching trout and redfish, watching alligators and waterfowl, and meeting, greeting and enjoying manatees. The fishing portion of the half day charter was highlighted by Cathy Moser’s 25 pound redfish caught barely 15 minutes into the charter.

Tom, from Texas, spent a day of his Florida vacation fishing with Capt. Peter.  The morning was spent sightfishing schools of tarpon.  Tom was able to boat two of the silver kings and jump three others.  Around 10am, Peter ran the boat from the Indian River to the Banana River to a school of big redfish.  The rest of the day was spent sight casting to a school of over 60, 20-50 pound redfish in clear water around two feet deep.  As soon as Tom pulled a fish from the school, all it took was a quick poll back to the very cooperative school for another instant hookup

The Clark boys from Indianapolis, Henry the dad along with sons Thomas (11 ) and Ben (9), took a day from their family vacation to drive from Orlando to the Indian River in Titusville to go fishing with Capt. Rocky. The weather forecast the night before was problematic with strong winds predicted but the winds the following morning allowed the crew access to the east side of the river and a half day of fishing. As a result, the Clarks had a blast catching trout and redfish and petting gentle manatees, watching playful dolphins and a menacing alligator. Pictured below are Henry and Ben joining a broadly smiling Thomas posing with his 20 pound red caught on the grass flats after an epically strenuous struggle.

Todd Mahaffey and the ‘knucklehead fishing team’ have been making it a family tradition of fishing the Indian River Lagoon with Capt. Rocky during their annual vacations to Cocoa Beach. And it seems each time they return to our waters great things happen for these ardent anglers. This year Todd and his son Todd were joined by Cousin John, another fishing fanatic. Fishing in the aftermath of the great spring flood of 2012, a weekend where Mother Nature dumped six inches of fresh rain water onto salt water lagoons, prospects for a good outing were slim. However, the knuckleheads did what they have become accustomed to doing and that was catch fish. By the end of the day, the Mahaffeys had hooked, fought and landed 15 gator trout and 8 redfish, the largest tipping the scales at 20 pounds. And, for the record, it was Todd, Sr. who landed the biggest fish this time around.

Natalie is a fishing queen. Daughter of Capt. Rocky, she has always had a knack for catching trophy fish. This past week Natalie and her dad had a wonderful time together on the Indian River scouting schools of fish for upcoming charters and enjoying some of the finest of God’s glorious creation. Believe me, it was one thrilling day for the old captain. Below is a picture of Natalie releasing a monster red followed one of her holding a huge gator trout.

John and Cynthia Brunks spent a wonderful day on the Indian River near Titusville chasing redfish and trout with Captain Rocky. The weather provided some concerns during the day by  threatening stiff winds and thunderstorms, however, we were able to catch a bunch of fish and experience a lot  natural Florida during the half day charter. Pictured below are the Brunks holding a double redfish, both caught while wading in the crystal clear shallow grass flats of the lagoon.

Tom and Conner Murphy from the greater Atlanta area, a grandfather and grandson duo, recently joined Capt. Rocky on the Indian River Lagoon for a day of fishing. The water levels of the river were still a foot and half higher in the aftermath of a weekend deluge scattering the fish from their normal feeding locations. However, these two fishing fanatics fought their way through 75 live finger mullet, catching trout after trout after trout under beautiful sunny summer skies. The largest trout was a monster 30 incher, weighing an estimated 10 pounds while most of the others ranged from 20 to 27 inches. In an oddity, there were no reds on this day but plenty of trophy trout to make a great fishing adventure.

The following are photos of other summer charters. The first set belongs to Roger Hall of Merritt Island who fished with Capt. Rocky on the Indian River near Titusville.

The next photo is of Heather who, along with her husband Daniel, fished with Capt. Rocky.

Our final segment is of John, Tracy and Alorah … what a late summer day they had with Capt. Rocky.

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