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

Jan. 31, 2010 – Winter Fishing – The Good, Bad and

Fishing over the past several days reminds me of the title from an old Clint Eastwood western – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly- as we have had some great fishing charters, some not so great charters and some downright ugly weather were we dared not venture forth, discretion being the better part of valor. Let’s lead off with a really, really good report.

We start our fishing reports for the past week with a great charter to Titusville on Friday with Fred and his son Reid. The occasion was Reid’s 13th birthday and this skilled fishing duo wanted to celebrate by doing some shallow water, sight-fishing, Mosquito Lagoon-style redfish hunting. The day was picture perfect with calm, slick waters, bright blue Florida skies and downright balmy temperatures. The conditions were so favorable that we stripped down to short sleeves, short pants and bare feet in order jump into the river to stalk our prey while wading across the lush grass flats. We quickly spotted a large school of large black drum lollygagging and tailing in the shallows. Approaching the school on foot, we lobbed large, free-lined shrimp into their midst and it did not take long for the black drum to find our offerings. Reid caught several nice drum from the school while his dad did his best to keep the school intact by graciously missing hook-set after hook-set. After standing in the middle of several hundred thumping drums we decided to leave the premises to find a large redfish or two. Two hours later we wondered why we ever ‘left fish to find fish’ and marched back to the drum line to finish off the half-day charter. While herding the drum down the flat once again, Fred suddenly spotted an enormous red tail waving to us about 60 yards down range. Staking down with the stealthy Power Pole, we bombed a large finger mullet into beast’s general direction. Within minutes the hungry brute to found the silver mullet and the birthday boy got to spend the next twenty minutes hanging on for dear life. Pictured below is Reid with our best black drum and redfish of the day.

Now journeying back to the previous Saturday, we’ll continue the reports in a chronological manner. Capt. Peter gives us the following account of his charter on that day. ‘The fluctuating temperatures and strong winds this week have the redfish, trout, and black drum on both the flats and drop-offs. Lately we’ve been splitting the day between pitching shrimp under deep-water docks, and sight fishing the flats.
A great trip I had this week was with a trio of diehard angles. The weather conditions were less than favorable, but we worked hard and picked our way through the little-guys to some good fish. The “Illinois Deer Commander” bested the younger guys this trip, with a 25″ trout and a 26.5″ redfish on the flats. We also caught black drum and sheepshead around the deep water docks.’

A nasty-ugly cold front pushed through area on Sunday and Monday, churning the rivers and sending the fish fleeing for any kind of safe haven. Such starts the pattern during our winter months; a front blows out fishing for a day or two, recovery slowly begins the day after and continues to improve until a glorious climax is reached the day before the next front arrives. The cycle usually last five or six days before repeating itself until spring finally arrives in mid-February or early March.. We’ll demonstrate with the following accounts.

Fishing Tuesday, the day after the front arrived, Capt. Peter braved the elements with a charter on the Banana River. Battling a stiff, cold northwest wind and wigged-out, lock-jawed fish, Peter’s hail and hardy crew still managed a redfish and several trout along with a few small black drum and sheepshead. Sometimes, no matter how skilled the captain and crew, the fish will make catching tougher than a two dollar steak from IHOP. This was one of those times. And if there were metals awarded to pluck and grit over the water, Peter’s crew from Tuesday surely earned them.

On Wednesday I pre-fished the Banana River for charters the next days to try add to Peter’s information passed along from the day before. Even though the weather was a bit warmer than Tuesday, the bait was found still shivering at the far ends of the canals on Cocoa Beach. This gave me a clue as to how any success for the day would unfold – fish would be found, if any could be found, along the sandy shorelines and in the sandy potholes near the deeper troughs. Three redfish were landed with the largest being a 17 lb sow caught in the warmest part of the day and the warmest segment of the river. Interestingly, the usually super aggressive reds were slow and sluggish in chasing and chomping my live finger mullets.

The weather Thursday turned even warmer, actually hitting the low 70s, and the wind softened from the day before. We had the pleasure of fishing with Lee and Angie Harp from Wichita along with Lee’s Uncle Ken (aka Fred and Ralph). Since Capt. Roland had pre-fished the Grant area on the prior day and marked numerous redfish and large trout patrolling the clear shallows of the Indian River, we headed south. As in previous trips with Lee and Angie, it was the gal in the pink hat that had most of the luck. Angie caught the first two redfish and handed the third off to Uncle Fred to the finish the fight. We also landed a bewildered trout before the winds blew us back to the ramp. Angie’s pink hat was so crucial to our success on the day we are posting two pictures so readers will have a better understanding of which kind of pink hat works the best.

Friday was our aforementioned special trip to Titusville which brings us to yesterday and the arrival of our next cold front. Dodging the effects of the weather system, Capt. Roland and Capt. Peter combined on a two-boat charter with old friends from Colorado, the Rimkus clan. They fished the Indian River in the Grant area under grey, threatening skies and high northwest winds. Before the afternoon thunderstorms arrived, the Capt. Roland’s crew, in the larger 22 foot Pathfinder, caught a couple redfish, 18 inch black drum and sheepshead on shrimp on the flats north of Jorgensen Park. Capt. Peter’s crew, in his new 19 foot Hewes Bayfisher, sought protected shelter in the historic Honest John Canals and had a blast catching an assortment of fish in near-continuous action. Their tally for the day included 13 rat reds, a drum full of black drums, mangrove snapper, and several huge sheepsheads. Even though the winds created havoc on the more exposed open waters of the river, a great time was had by parties on both boats.

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