It has been far too long since we have posted a fishing report and my notebook is overflowing with tall tales of epic angling feats. Therefore, in order to conserve space, we’ll dispense with the usual explanatory introduction and dive right in.
In the winter-time, when the fishing is on, it can be very special. Such was the day Burt Lauderbaugh had on the Indian River near Titusville with Capt. Rocky. Fishing glass calm, crystal clear waters, Burt started his day by plucking a fifty pound black drum from a tightly packed school of a hundred fish. He then nailed a thirty pound redfish followed by a forty, 50 inch redfish. Now imagine starting a day of fishing with fighting and subduing120 pounds of brute power before the sun clears the tree-line. There were other redfish and a number of fine trout also caught on this special day, this very special winter day.
Long-time friends and fishing buddies, Rick Johnston of Cocoa Beach and Bruce Cotton of Jacksonville, recently joined Capt. Rocky for a day of fishing on the Indian River lagoon near Titusville. It was another outstanding winter day with calm, gin clear waters, blue skies and unseasonably balmy temperatures. The fishing duo began their charter by chasing several tightly packed schools of breeder black drum in the shallows, Pitching large, hand-picked shrimp in front of the schools quickly brought success to both anglers. Bruce’s drum weighed an estimated forty pounds while we estimated Rick’s runt weighed thirty pounds. After the drums finally marched off the flats it was redfish time. The first redfish, caught by Rick, was a 45 inch beauty weighing an estimated 30 pounds. A number of other reds followed before the duo decided to target some of the large breeder trout currently lurking on the flats. And both fishermen caught gator trout completing outstanding inshore slams for both of them – congratulations Rick and Bruce. What a great day of fishing!
Wintertime fishing along the central east coast of Florida is all about the cold fronts. We can have the fabulous blue skies, bright sun, and mild temperature, windless days that are featured on Florida postcards or downright blustery, cloud-covered, front arrival days like the one experienced by Rob Zetterberg of Satellite Beach, Florida and his son-in-law Steve from Savanna, Georgia. The fishing action does not change that much from front to front but the access to and from the fish does. Unable to access the huge black drum and giant breeder reds caught the past several days, Rob and Steve had a blast none-the-less tangling with the gator trout during their winter spawn and mid-sized and upper slot reds lining the sandy shallows. We are not sure of the total number of fish caught but believe it to be in the fifteen monster trout, like the one being held by Steve in the photo below, and four reds range. However, we are sure of the two gallon-sized zip-locked bags packed full of delicious fresh fish fillets and the great time had by all.
Barry Humbert and his wife fled the frigid temperatures of the Quaker State in order to soak up the sun and warmth of our unseasonably warm winter in central Florida. While in Cocoa Beach, Barry spent a day with Capt. Rocky on the Banana River enjoying one of his two great passions – fishing. The day could not have been more perfect weather-wise with temperatures in the upper 70s, blue cloudless skies, and near windless conditions. This allowed the avid angler to devote a significant portion of his charter to sight-fishing in the calm, crystal-clear water. Barry caught a number of solid reds along with a large gator trout on the day and enjoyed a great fresh fish dinner with his wife at Grills Seafood later that night. Pictured below is Barry holding one of redfish.
Good friends Paul Tully of Cocoa Beach and Joe Schneider of Merritt Island joined Capt. Rocky on the Banana River for some awesome fishing on a spectacular Florida winter day. Downright balmy temperatures triggered an aggressive redfish feed as the local duo landed an impressive number of redfish including two double hook-ups. Pictured below are Paul and Joe holding their doubles.
Rusty from Orlando and Natalie from Indiana could not have had a more perfect half day of fishing than what they experienced over the recent holidays. The weather was gorgeous with balmy temperatures, blue bird skies and light westerly winds. The water was clear and calm. And the fishing was simply spectacular. The duo laughed and worked their way through five dozen live finger mullet, used as bait, while landing 16 big redfish and 15 monstrous gator trout.
Fishing with Capt. Rocky on an absolutely gorgeous winter day was Jamie Bragg of Cocoa Beach. Jamie, who often fishes in the surf along beach, had never experienced the sheer joy of battling redfish and trout in the lush grass flats of the Indian River lagoon. His introduction to river fishing could not have been more memorable as he caught fish after fish along a stretch of the lagoon between Titusville and Port St. John.
Fishing with our children can be such a rich and rewarding experience. Recently, three generations of the Hughes of Merritt Island (Charley age 77, Bob and Shawn age7) had such a memory-making day on the Banana River with Captain Rocky. Despite a stiff wind from a rapidly approaching cold-front, the Hughes boys had a blast catching and releasing a mess of trophy trout, eating fresh cut pineapple, and enjoying the blue skies and unseasonably balmy temperatures. Shawn also had a blast auditing and managing the finger mullet. Picture below are Charley, Bob and Shawn holding a double catch of gator trout.
The weather conditions could not have been much harsher for Bob and Jeff Herris on their second charter with stiff north winds exceeding 30 mph and cold temperatures. After weathering a slow morning of fishing on the Banana River, the action heated up in the afternoon when the sun cut through the cloud coverage and the temperatures finally rose. ‘Big Fish’ Bob, 85 years young, scored the first large red during a battle that left him bleeding and sore (Check the bandage on Bob’s finger and the waves in the river in the first picture.) while Jeff finished strong nailing the heaviest redfish at the end of the day. And if there were an award for the toughest and grittiest fishermen, Bob and Jeff would be serious contenders for it.