There are some terrific fish being caught along the Space and Treasure Coasts although the continued effects of high winds on our inshore fisheries have been presenting us some challenges. Typically mid-May gives us more moderate winds and temperatures along with the annual spring mullet migration combining to set our snook, redfish, tarpon and other species on torrid feeding binges. Even though this has not happened yet the fishing has still been really good. Finding clean, calm waters with good baitfish has been the key to successful charters for us the past several weeks. Here are our most recent reports
Now an old angling adage holds that a few great fish will trump a bunch of mediocre ones any day of the week. Last Saturday this proverb proved so true for the Bullingtons from Chicago. Guided by Capt. Rocky and Capt. Roland, Jerry, his sister Judy, witnessed nephew Austin catch two fish that will not soon be forgotten, a monster 43 inch, 30 pound snook and Austin’s very first redfish which gave him and impressive inshore slam during his first Florida fishing weekend. The Melbourne Beach stretch of the Indian River was our location and a combination of live threadfin herrings and small poggys were our bait.
On Friday Jason and Kaden Tacker from Arkansas had the rare treat of catching their first redfish and watching their first shuttle launch from just off the NASA property along the Indian River near Titusville. It will interesting to see which experience the two will remember longer. By the way, they caught several nice reds and trout using live finger mullet under ideal weather conditions. Capt. Rocky was the guide for the charter.
The previous Wednesday Jerry Bullington and his nephew Austin joined Capt. Rocky for a day of fishing on the Banana River. After having to wait for a low pressure system with accompanying storms to clear the area, our trip begin late morning under still heavy cloud coverage and lingering stiff winds. Finding sheltered and clear water along a narrow stretch of the Banana River the Bullingtons tied into redfish, trout, and sheepshead. Austin caught the best fish of the day, a monstrous 31 inch trout.
Capt. Peter reports that he had two fantastic and tough anglers aboard my boat on Saturday. These two lady anglers, Mary and Jeanine, have traveled the globe in search of unique and large fish. Saturday’s weather was a little on the extreme side, with wind gusts up to 30mph blowing down the Indian River Lagoon. These anglers said no big deal to the forecast, so we set out extra early in order to fish a grass flats holding some schools of gator trout before the wind reached its max. We hammered the trout in the morning, as they were absolutely smashing our live mullet out of the water – those big trout gave some really cool strikes when they launched out of the water from underneath our fluttering baits that were on the surface. We went through at least two dozen live mullet in the first hour as the trout just inhaled them. The trout varied in size from twenty to twenty-five inches. Once the wind really started gusting, we moved up into canals and sheltered creeks protected from the wind and live-baited around docks and mangroves. We tried to do some fly-fishing, but the wind really inhibited where we could fish, and greatly affected the ability to cast – Mary, however, was able to entice a couple of gar into biting her fly back in one creek. Back in the canals and creeks we had a blast throwing eight inch live mullet to schooling Jack Crevalle. These jacks were ten to twenty pounds, and were just demolishing the baits with a huge splash of white-water. Throwing live bait to a 20 pound crevalle is one of the most aggressive strikes you will get anywhere – it will make your heart skip a beat!
The charter with Bob Hill and his good friend Sam, both from Jacksonville, could not have experienced a wider range of weather. A severe front pushed through the region in the early morning hours causing us to delay our departure several hours. Under still heavy clouds, we ventured forth on the Banana River is search of reds. Sam scored quickly with two 30 inch fish at our first stop. Noticing tailing fish further down the grass flat, we change ventures and tactics to sight fishing. As the cloud coverage started to break numerous reds were spotted tailing and pushing wakes in water too skinny to cover their wide frames. As morning gave way to noontime the fish settled down to rest in potholes and our challenge was to present baits to them without startling them from their mid-day slumber under full sun skies. Finally, the afternoon brought increasing winds to near 30 mph churning the river into a muddy mess. All in all, it was a day that provided us with plenty of action and striking contrasts. (Capt. Rocky was the guide.)
On Thursday and Friday, Capt. Peter had the privilege of fishing with long time client and friend, Howell Riggs of Alabama. Howell is one of those guys you could have a great day on the water with, even if the fish are not cooperating. But that was not the case…. They fished different times of day, targeted a bunch of different species, and fished in many different areas (clear grass flats, brackish mangrove creeks, and canals and trenches) – in order to fully enjoy all that the space coast offers this time of year. Howell caught giant trout (a bunch of 23 inchers up to 28 inches), big redfish, a handful of really nice black drum, snook, crevalles, huge gar, and jumped some tarpon……sometimes a couple of jumps are all you want from a tarpon after a long day of pulling on fish.
Finally, Mike Foytek from Orlando was Capt. Rocky’s guest on the Banana River on Friday week. Scarce bait, dirty water, and an outbreak of blue/green algae have combined to make our north and mid-county fishing difficult. After visiting several spots that produced well on Wednesday and being blanked, we opted for a radical change in venue and tactics by mid-morning. The changes worked temporarily as we quickly boated a 29 inch redfish and missed a monster fish within a thirty minute span. The rest of day however, although beautiful from a weather condition standout, an oddity over the past month, proved to be frustrating for a pair of hardcore anglers. And after running out of our few precious finger mullet, we finally agreed to postpone the remainder of our charter until early June.