Spring and early summer is such a great time of year for fishermen along the central east coast of Florida as everything comes alive everywhere. There are schools of hungry redfish and gator trout in the shallows, snook collecting in the passes, tarpon and bull sharks marauding up the creeks and rivers, jacks, bluefish and ladyfish collecting the passes and mullet migrating through the lagoons by the millions. The weather is usually mild and it is a great time to be alive! We have had a bunch of outstanding fishing charters over the past month and are excited to share them in this report.
As a seasoned guide and grandfather, it is hard to describe how exhilarating it is to watch and father and his young children enjoy a day of great fishing. Recently, Capt. Rocky had that special joy of guiding and observing the Brad Morgan and his two daughters, Lilly aged 10 and Laney age 7, as they fished the shallow grass flats together in the Indian River near the Kennedy Space Center properties. The weather was fantastic as well as the memories generated on the day. The threesome started the day meeting manatees and ended by chasing schools of redfish. They also got to watch dolphins playing, alligators lurking, and eagles and ospreys soaring. The dad and gals caught a 15-20 reds and gator trout along with some memories that should last a long, long time.
By nature of their profession, pastors and ministers in our community rarely get a change to gather collectively in a recreational settings and when a chance does come, it is so refreshing for them. Recently Jerry Butz and Boaters Exchange organized such a setting by hosting and inshore fishing tournament for our pastor and pairing them with local guides. Both Capt. Peter and Capt. Rocky participated in the event and had an absolute blast fishing with the clerics. Peter’s crew caught the first place redfish and the second place trout in the tournament while Rocky’s team took first place trout and second place redfish (for the record, the first place trout was slightly bigger than the first place redfish). Pictured below are Pastor Titus Green of FBC, MI holding the winning 28 inch trout followed by Pastor Richard Fuller, also with FBC, IM, holding the second place red.
It wasn’t a record that would last long on a beautiful late spring day in Sebastian Inlet. Jacob, 14 year old grandson of Paul Tully, had caught fish up to seven pounds, mostly bass in his home state of Arkansas. But on this day, a day that will live long in his memory, Jacob went big, really big.. After orienting himself to saltwater tactics by catching a bunch of trout, ladyfish and angry bluefish, Jacob tangled with something even angrier and toothier – sharks. His first shark was a four foot bull (estimated weight of 30 pounds) caught on one of Capt. Rocky’s stiff redfish rods. The second shark, caught on granddad’s spaghetti-limp bass rod, was a five-foot bonnethead weighing an estimated 50 pounds. The bonnie took over thirty minutes to land in the shallow clear waters near the Inlet. Pictured below is an exhausted Jacob bringing the bonnethead next to the boat followed by the equally exhausted bonnie posing for the camera.
Doug Torpy fished spent a morning on the water sightfishing big Indian River reds with Capt. Peter. Schools of the big redfish were feeding up on sandbars and readily ate any bait thrown at them. Most of the reds were around 40 inches with two of them pushing 40 pounds.
Joey and A.J. were off for spring break from their senior year in high school and their uncle, Mark DeLorenzo of Oviedo wanted to create some memories with a pre-graduation gift of a custom fishing charter and some gift and some memories it turned out to be. Fishing with Capt. Rocky the trio launched from Kennedy Point Park on a very chilly morning and headed for the shallow grass flats. Slowed by the cold, the fish were lethargic until the sun rose higher the water and fishing activity warmed. Among the reds and trout caught by the threesome, Joey’s big bull red (40 inch fish) was the highlight of the day.
David Eror vacationing with family , from New Jersey, fished with Capt. Rocky on the Indian River near Titusville on an early spring day. Temperatures were moderate, partial sunny skies which made sight fishing a challenge and moderate easterly winds. The flats were still recovering from a late winter storms which ripped through the area several days prior, the mullet had scattered and had not returned, the breeding trout which had been flooding the flats the prior week disappeared. David had a blast catching a number of reds and trout. He was particularly thrilled with the experience of wading the clear shallow water stalking his prey.
Gorgeous spring weather provided a great backdrop for some wonderful shallow water fishing for Larry and Sam Bloomfield of Orlando. Fishing recently with Capt. Rocky, the Bloomfield boys found a large gathering of upper slot reds and monster gator trout anxious to entertain on the grass flats along the east side of the Indian River near Titusville.
Taking advantage of the great spring weather, Patrick Veltman chartered Capt. Peter for a half day of flats fishing. The day flew by sight-fishing three different schools of redfish in shallow, clear water. Pat skillfully landed a half dozen big reds up to 47”.
Local angler Jack Chamblin and his son Rocky from Phoenix, Arizona have fished with Capt. Rocky before catching a number of huge reds so their most recent outing was about filling the ice chest with fat reds and trout for an upcoming trip to Grill’s Restaurant. Launching from Kennedy Point Park on a perfect morning, the crew headed to the east side of the Indian River to fish the recently rain-swollen shallows. The action was steady during the half day charter as the Chamblins boated a half dozen reds (25 to 27 inches) and a half dozen trout (also 25 to 27 inches). Great fishing in gorgeous weather and an over-flowing ice chest; it doesn’t get much better than this!
Mark DeLorenzo from Ovieda invited his tax accountant and his son from Lakeland, Joe and Benny Mirandi, for a day of fishing on the Indian River with Capt. Rocky. The weather forecast was sketchy with rain threatening in the morning and stiff east winds in the afternoon. Nevertheless the fearless crew headed for the shallow grass flats adjacent to NASA properties in search of redfish and trout. And their search was successful as the threesome combined for 13 reds and two monster gator trout on the day. Pictured below are Joe and Benny holding a redfish/trout double and Mark holding a 44 inch bull red which was landed after an epic battle. All in all it was an awesome day on the water.
The Rathbun boys are used to fishing in rough seas back home in Foxboro, Massachusetts so the hauling winds sweeping over the Indian River on Friday was only a minor inconvenience. They are also used to catching fish which was their major focus on the charter with Capt. Rocky. And catch fish they did as dad Jim and sons Nick and Joey, also known as ‘the pro’ enjoyed a furious two-hour bite by redfish and trout in advance of an approaching front. The twelve-plus reds ranged in size from 24 to 27 inches while most of the ten-plus trout measured north of 25 inches including several nearing 30 inches. Pictured below are three of the double hook-ups from the day (the multiple spot red being held by Nick had a total of 14).
Fishing in saltwater only hours after the passing of a major rain storm can be problematic due to the sudden drop in salinity. However, Jack and Shawn Chamblin were game for the challenge and, consequently, were greatly rewarded for their courage on their recent charter with Capt. Rocky. The deluge added six inches overnight to the shallows which allowed the reds and trout to invade previously unreachable grass flats. The Chamblin boys had a ball catching an estimated 12 reds, mostly upper slot, and 10 huge gator trout. Besides filling the ice chest, the highlight of the day had to be the size of the trout as several approached 30 inches in length.
Carl Scheuplein, 86 years young, and his buddy Phillip , both from Cocoa Beach had a fantastic day recently while fishing with both Capt. Peter and Capt. Rocky. Meeting the guides at Carl’s dock on Cocoa Beach, the long-time locals fished on a gorgeous sunny spring day with light east winds. The trip started with four large redfish in shallow sandbars and ended with catching large gator trout on the grass flats. Carl, who has fished the Thousand Islands area of the Banana River for over 50 years, caught his biggest red ever measuring 42 inches.
Dennis Lamb of Rockledge and his son Mica and son-in-law Warren from Washington State booked a day of fishing with Capt. Rocky in early April. A cold front had pushed through the area several days prior to their charter and the air and water temp were still chilly. However, a beautiful full sun day warmed everything nicely and as it did the fish returned to the flats to forage for food. And the Lambs were there to greet them. The Lambs had a grand time chasing and catching redfish and trout. For the official record, Dennis caught the biggest red.
Spring has finally sprung along the central east coast of Florida and it did not come easy or early this year. Successive cold fronts have battered our waters with frigid temperatures and high hammering winds over the past two months. A typical week would gives us several nasty, unfishable days of weather followed by several really fine days of fishing with which we have taken full advantage with eager and excited anglers. Hopefully we’ll have fewer fronts, milder temperatures and calmer seas as spring conditions finally predominate the coming weeks and months. Here are a few summaries and photos of charters from the past two months.
John Jachino took some time off his busy schedule of traveling the world fishing and hunting to spend a half day on the water with Capt. Peter. The trip was spent targeting the giant Banana River redfish. Casting big baits to the big reds produced steady action. John got a little beat up battling these big fish (cut leg, bruised knee…etc) but his toughness paid off with a number of big reds between 42 and 50 inches.
Bill Oyler of Merritt Island had been excitedly anticipating a home-coming with his son Christian of Colorado for quite some time. Since Christian was bringing Muffy, his girl-friend, home with him, this visit was important. As part of Muffy’s introduction to Florida living a fishing adventure with Capt. Rocky was booked. The threesome launched from Kennedy Point Park in Titusville on a flat-out gorgeous March morning and quickly introduced themselves to our most hospitable redfish population. The fishing could not have been any better as the Oyler crew caught and estimated fifteen redfish and seven gator trout. The big fish, a full 50 inch monster red, was hooked and initially fought by Muffy before Christian gallantly came to her rescue to finish the battle.
Alan and Anna took a break from the cold north and did a little fishing with Capt. Peter in beautiful Ft. Pierce. Wanting to experience all the area has to offer, the hard core anglers fished for 10 hours. The morning started out with a quick 33 inch snook. Leaving the snook in the river, the anglers raced out to the mouth of the Inlet to catch the tide change. Slack tide was incredible – absolute feeding frenzy! There were hundreds of 6-8 foot sharks feeding on the surface, along with tarpon and jacks. The anglers wrestled four 7’+ sharks, half a dozen big jack crevalles, and lost a pile of unknown fish after long battles that broke lines and spit hooks.
After the tide picked up it was time to fish the backcountry of the Indian River. Most of the day was spent fishing back in mangrove islands for trout and redfish. The redfishing was a little slow, but the big trout were chewing. While moving between spots, the anglers were treated to something they’ll never forget – an absolute frenzy of big jacks (10 – 40 lbs) and trout up on a shallow sandbar feeding on schools of 8’’ mullet. Capt. Peter Powerpoled the boat down on the edge of the flat, and Alan and Anna threw top water plugs as fast as they could at the infinite number of fish. Every cast for over an hour produced jacks and trout fighting over the topwater lures. Check out the short video of the fish fighting over Alan’s plug (check out all the fish in the background and the trout and jacks lighting up as the lure goes through the school) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX_bLoxeVL4&feature=youtu.be .
The Dunn boys from Colorado, Father Jack and his two sons Jack, Jr. and Connor tried to escape the cold from out west only to run into the cold of the southeast. Fishing the Indian River near Titusville with Capt. Rocky, the charter started cool and slow. After the sun finally warmed the shallows, the fish finally warmed to the task of feeding. Pictured below are the Dunns holding a monster redfish caught by the youngest of our crew for the day, Connor Dunn.
Hardcore anglers, Jeff and Bob Herris, spent a day fishing for bull redfish with Capt. Peter near Cocoa Beach. This was a trip that almost wasn’t…the twenty mph winds and rain storms would have kept most anglers indoors – but not the Jeff and Bob! The weather was terrible but determination paid off. Fishing schools of redfish feeding up on grassflats and sandbars produced some mega reds. Using light tackle, Jeff and Bob focused on the task at hand and skillfully landed a number of trophy sized redfish. Pictured are the Herris boys and some of their reds.
Those who live in Minnesota, especially those who work outside like dairy farmers, are used to some pretty harsh winters. So Heidi and Patrick so looked forward to a few days in sunny Florida to thaw during February. And, as a surprise to Patrick, Heidi planned of fishing on the Indian River with Capt. Rocky. However, the day was quite cold and fishing quite slow until the warm Florida sun finally changed things. The fishing picked-up and the two dairymen were treated to some hot redfish action. Pictured below is Patrick holding a monster red.
George and his wife Sue Littrell split residences between Maryland and Cocoa Beach. Florida is home during the colder months while Maryland is home during the remainder of the year. This year the Littrells experienced winter weather in Florida more like what they would have had in Baltimore, except without the snow and ice. Now George is a big fisherman when Sue does not have him doing chores around the houses and George is a big friend of Capt. Rocky who is a big fisherman whenever he can be. The two teamed for several great trips this winter. Pictured below is George holding a giant red caught in Titusville in early February.
Joe from Merritt Island and Herb from Michigan have paired with Capt. Rocky on several occasions of the past while Herb is in the area. This February, after having to reschedule a booking due to foul weather, Joe and Herb went with Rocky to the Indian River near Titusville looking for trout and reds. And they found them aplenty with some 15 reds caught and several doubles and even a triple hook-up on the day.
It was the tale of two trips for James Bates and his future brother-in-law Brady recently with Capt. Rocky. Fishing the Indian River out of Kennedy Point Park, the two-some experienced a slow morning of fishing until cloudy and cool conditions. However, once the sun broke through the overcast, the reds appeared in good numbers and a feeding frenzy soon began to ensue. Jumping out of the boat and pursuing the fish along a sand bar in clear water, shallow water, and the duo caught an estimated 12 reds and three gator trout in the early afternoon before responsibilities with family back in Orlando finally terminated the trip. Highlights of the day included several double catches, see picture below, a front row seat at the boat ramp for a NASA rocket launch, a delicious fish dinner with the full family later that evening.
Jeff Starnes instructions to Capt. Rocky for his recent charter were clear, ‘my grad school son Justin, home for spring break, needs to catch a redfish. So the father and son duo along with Ron, Jeff’s brother, stormed out of Kennedy Point Park just past dawn on a calm and sunny Saturday in search of their quest. Now Saturday fishing on our waters can sometimes prove to be a challenge due to the increased fishing pressure and this day was nearly ruined by a thoughtless boater who tracked across the lines and baits while the Starnes were on the best school of reds on the day. However, the crew held composure and managed five reds, Justin catching a pair, and several trout. Pictured below are the Starnes boys holding a trio of keeper reds and a photo of the subsequent blackened redfish meal enjoy by the entire family. What a great way to end a great day on the water!
Joe McGill, a naval instructor originally from Melbourne, had been dreaming about saltwater fishing for months and, when he was finally granted a vacation to visit family in the area, he decided to do something about it. Chartering Capt. Rocky, Joe invited his old fishin’ buddy Jeremy along for the adventure. And the day proved to be a dream come true for Joe as he and his buddy caught fish after fish after fish. However, despite the fantastic fishing action, the highlight of the day might have belong a land creature rather than a fish – a large wild boar who crashed through the shoreline bush and sauntered into the shallow river right in the front of the boat in full daylight … wish we had gotten a photo of that one!
A balmy and calm March day greeted Cody Chamblin and his granddad, Jack Chamblin, for a Florida fishing adventure with Capt. Rocky. Cody, a graphic design student from the University of Illinois spring breaking with his grandparents, was also greeted by schools of hungry redfish from the Indian River near Titusville. And while the distinction for the most reds went to young Chamblin, the title of biggest red remained went to the elder. The final total for the half day was ten reds (to 15 pounds) and three trout (two trophies in the trio). Pictured below is the proud grand-pop holding the largest redfish with an admiring Cody grinning with his approval.
Fleeing the frozen tundra of Raleigh, North Carolina, Ginna Edwards escaped to chilly Merritt Island for a few days last week. During her stay she was convinced by Capt. Rocky, her big brother, that wade fishing in the Banana River would be a cool thing to do. It was cool thing to do as she caught three monster reds in rapid succession before the cool thing became a down-right cold thing. Pictured below is Gin with one of her big reds.
Due to a forecast of high north winds and cold temperatures, good friends George Littrell and Capt. Rocky recently fished the Banana River in search of big reds. And George, about to return home to Maryland for the next several months, found the reds in a rather foul and feisty mood. Pictured below is George bidding his fond farewell to one of our local bronzed giants.
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.
The most difficult aspect of trying to describe fishing during this month is finding an adequate superlative; tremendous, stupendous, fabulous, marvelous, monstrous, humungous, incredible, remarkable, sensational, phenomenal, … how about we just say nearly indescribable and let the photos and individual charter summaries paint the portrait.
A rare early season tropical system hovered over the Atlantic threatened to cancel a planned day of fishing for Bill Russell, Rick Morehouse and Capt. Rocky but, undaunted by the forecast, the threesome decided to venture forth from Kennedy Point Park in Titusville at dawn nonetheless. And, despite the unpromising prospects, it turned out to be a great decision and an insane day of fishing. The action was nearly non-stop with the trout in a feeding frenzy in the morning and redfish aggressively attacking in the afternoon. We are not sure of the exact fish count for the day but believe it to be 30 trout to 8 pounds and 30 redfish to 40 pounds … 30/30, not bad for a day that almost wasn’t.
The weather forecast was not very promising for the day of the charter for Cliff and Ryan Watton, with stiff winds 10-15 mph and gusts to 25 mph. However, the winds were predicted to be tolerable in the morning and freshen by the afternoon so our crew decided to fish while we could and run for safety when the winds began to whip. It was a good decision because the winds never did blow to forecasted strength and the fish started feeding aggressively in the afternoon. The Wattons caught a number of fine trout to 26 inches and big reds to 50 inches. Pictured below are Ryan and Cliff holding the biggest redfish of the day. Incidentally, this fish was caught around 3 pm when NOAA had predicted such poor conditions.
The Carpenter Family spent a day of fishing with Capt. Peter while on their Vacation at Disney World. The morning started off with some fishing around islands and sandbars for schooling trout and redfish. The anglers had non-stop action from the gamefish and were able to enjoy playing with some underwater critters as well – like pufferfish, manatees, horseshoe crabs and stingrays in the clear, shallow water. After the numbers of fish under 30 inches quit impressing, the Carpenter family voted to target the big redfish up on the shallow flats. This great family caught redfish till their arms were sore and the trip was ended with a husband and wife doubleheader of big reds. “Our family had a great time and we all agree that it was our favorite day from vacation”.
Doug and Ginna Edwards from Raleigh, North Carolina scheduled a day of fishing with Capt. Rocky during their recent business trip to central Florida. The weather for the day was chamber of commerce perfect, blue skies and calm glassy waters and the fishing was Florida Sportsman worthy. The duo caught 40 to 50 fish, large trout to 28 inches and huge redfish to 45 inches. More than 100 live finger mullet sacrificed for the cause in the Indian River near Titusville. Pictured below is an outdoor version of beauty and the beast – Ginna holding her monster redfish.
Alan and Anna Schwartz traveled down from New Jersey to enjoy a couple of days on fishing in the Cocoa Beach area with Capt. Peter. The windy conditions limited the fishing to protected coves and the lee sides of mangrove islands and grass flats. The, less than desirable conditions did not hurt the fishing, however. Alan and Anna boated 25 trout up to 28 inches and six redfish up to 35 inches.
The Second day was spent split between fishing and birding around the spoil islands of the Banana River. The fishing was great with a fantastic morning trout bite! Schools of finger mullet were constantly being attacked on the surface by hundreds of feeding 18-30 inch trout the edge of a certain grass flat. This feeding frenzy lasted from sunrise till about 8am very entertaining. When the feeding frenzy slowed, the anglers spent some time sight-fishing “gator-trout” that were laying up on sandbars in crystal clear water. The big trout have been so aggressive, sightfishing them in the afternoon has been a real treat! The rest of the trip was spent pulling on big redfish and looking at nesting shore-birds. The fish catching tally was somewhere between 15 trout and 6 redfish from 33-45 inches.
When Pastor Larry Zimmerman retired last February his church gave him many expressions of appreciation including a high-end rod and reel combo. Then Larry moved back to Cocoa Beach in early March next to some of the finest fishing waters in the world but had not had the opportunity to christen the fishing outfit; that is until yesterday. Larry and Capt. Rocky fished a portion of the Indian River Lagoon near Titusville and proceeded to hold a great fish revival in the shallows where some 40 to 50 souls, aka redfish and trout, were converted. Pictured below is Larry holding the biggest catch of the day, a redfish weighing 25 pound and measuring 42 inches.
Carl Perian, of Melbourne, chartered Capt. Peter for a half day of fishing in the Indian River Lagoon System. Most of the trip was spent sight-fishing schools of big trout and redfish up on the shallow flats. The redfish and trout fed very well the entire trip, but Carl’s well placed casts helped with the non-stop catching. Carl had a fish on the end of his line most of the trip. The final tally of fish landed was 20+ trout from 18-27 inches and six redfish from 26-34 inches.
Capt. Rocky was thinking double all day while guiding Cliff and Cliff on the Banana River on a recent charter. Both Cliffs were from New York and married to sisters. Both Cliffs could fish too which was a very good thing since the fishing action was non-stop with gator trout and large ladyfish providing a double dose of entertainment. Pictured below are the Cliffs holding double catches, which were frequent, and one of the Cliffs holding two ladyfish caught simultaneously on the same rod … and, by the way, he accomplished the rare feat twice.
Dave, Ken, and Steve were in town on business and decided to charter Capt. Peter for a last minute “sunset” fishing trip. Live-Bait fishing in the Banana River produced some great seatrout and redfish. The anglers had steady action throughout the trip and landed seven big trout and five redfish up to 35 inches.
Fran, Todd and Troy formed a three generational fishing team recently with Capt. Rocky on the Banana River near Merritt Island. The family, with two other members fishing with Capt. Peter, had gathered in Cocoa Beach to celebrate a high school graduation. The weather was absolutely gorgeous for the fishing adventure with clear blue skies and glass-calm waters. And the fishing was equally impressive with trout, redfish and ladyfish providing numerous inshore slams for the trio. There was even a Sea World-like dolphin show during the charter. Pictured below is fourteen year old Troy holding a big redfish.
The McDaniel family chartered Capt. Peter for a morning of inshore fishing. The entire trip was spent sightfishing schools of seatrout and redfish in the Banana River near Cocoa Beach. Landing around a dozen redfish up to 37 inches and over 12 seatrout from 18-25 inches with a number of double headers provided a fun morning of fishing.
Avid fishermen, Chris and Kim Knudson, from Idaho, were down visiting their son, Brian, and decided they’d take him fishing with Capt. Rocky. The weather forecast called for winds 5 to 10 mph and building to 20-25 mph by the afternoon.. For once the forecasters were accurate and the trip back across the Indian River Lagoon mid-afternoon was quite memorable … but so was the fishing as the Knudson Klan caught 15 redfish with the largest weighing approximately 25 pounds and eight trout. Pictured below are a dry Kim and Brian holding one of the better reds followed by Brian holding his very first red. By the way, this was also Brian’s very first fish period as the fishing trip was his first attempt at angling. We think he is a natural-born fisherman.
The tarpon fishing has started to heat up in the Melbourne and Sebastian areas. Capt. Peter and Capt. Roland took a morning off to show their girls, Monica and Jessica, a fun morning of fishing for the silver kings. The tarpon proved to be tough to land this time using their famous tricks like jumping off, spitting hooks, and breaking lines…the thrill is not always landing them, but watching one take to the sky over and over again on a greyhounding-like run. The trip was made more of a success with Jessica and Monica landing bull sharks, giant gar, and ladyfish.
Veteran local angler Bob Johnson teamed with his brother-in-law Jerry and nephew David recently for a great day of fishing with Capt. Rocky on the Indian River near Titusville. The weather was perfect for comfort on the water with light east winds and mild temperatures. However, the comfortable conditions uncomforted the fish and moved them from the previous day. Once they were located the threesome had a blast catching several solid reds and a good number of gator trout, the largest measuring 29 inches and weighing about nine pounds. Pictured below are Bob holding a very large trout followed by Jerry and Dave sharing the frame with yet another large trout.
Winter visitor Ray Duvall wanted to do some last minute fishing before returning north to Baltimore and introduce his long-time friend Pat to some of the finest fishing anywhere. He called Capt. Rocky and found some time in the schedule for a Banana River adventure. Pat, who had never caught anything larger than a bluegill, was ecstatic with the local fishing as she and Ray caught a mess of redfish and trout. Her screams of delight during her first redfish could be heard up and down the lagoon. Pictured below is Pat with a fine 12 pound red.
Adam and Cathy have spent considerable time fishing the coastal areas of Massachusetts. When they began planning a spring Florida vacation, they eagerly anticipated doing some backwater flats fishing for many months. Last Tuesday the day finally arrived and they joined Capt. Rocky on the Indian River near Titusville for a half day charter. It was a beautiful day weather-wise and a pretty dog-gone good day fishing-wise as well. The two anglers caught trout after trout during the morning and got to tangle with several large reds too! Pictured below are Adam and Cathy with one from a mess of gator trout.
There is an old saying, ‘April comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb,’ and this is typically an apt description of our weather conditions for early spring. However, since we had such a mild winter, spring actually roared into the area in early March rather than mid-April and the fishing has been phenomenal. During the last sixty days, we seen many, many charters with enormous catches, both in size (several world record fish and many monsters) and quantity (many charters over 25 fish and several in the 40 to 50 range). In short, we are currently seeing some of the finest fishing in many years. Do you want proof? See the following summaries and photos.
Jack Chamblin of Merritt Island has been on a mission over the past year or so to introduce his sons and grandsons to the wonderful world of our local bull reds. And each of his grandsons have caught big, bragging-sized reds. This time it was Shawn, his youngest son’s turn on the Banana River with Capt. Rocky. The charter started mid-morning amidst the calmest, slickest part of the day and the fish were super spooky in the bright sun and clear water. The scarce fish were extremely sluggish as if waiting for conditions to change before starting to feed. Then the sea breeze finally kicked and that’s when history was made as Jack hooked a huge redfish not more than a half mile from his own dock. The monster stripped line time and again and had to be ‘chased down’ repeatedly in order to put line back on the Shimano Sustain 4000 reel and the battle royal raged for nearly an hour testing the considerable skill of aged angler. As the beast was finally subdued and lying in the net, no one could believe their eyes – the redfish measured 53 inches and weighed 46.9 pounds. It has to be one of the largest redfish ever caught in the Banana River. Now when the Chamblin clan gathers to brag on tales of by-gone bulls, there is no doubt who will own ultimate bragging right – the 80 year old patriarch, Jack for a fish passing into angling lore!
Will, Tom, and Josh fished with Capt. Peter for a full day of fishing in Ft. Pierce, Fl. The majority of the day was spent casting live baits to feeding fish holding over grass-flats. There was non-stop action most of the trip…the anglers caught over 15 gator trout up to 30 inches, six redfish up to 32 inches, bluefish, jack crevalles, and a couple of 60lb stingrays.
The weather was the only thing that did not go as planned for George Litrrell on his recent fishing charter with Capt. Rocky. Dodging isolated rain showers throughout the day in the Indian River near Titusville, George caught fish after fish after fish as the reds and trout turned super aggressive in advance of an approaching front. When the day was complete, the final tally showed 15 redfish (seven in excess of 20 pounds) and 20 sea trout (all but two over the 20 inch trophy threshold). So despite the occasional sprinkle, it was still a great day on the river.
Long-time customers of Capt. Peter, Howell and Gene Riggs, traveled down to Florida and fished two with Peter in Ft. Pierce. The first day was spent targeting numbers of fish. The water was crystal clear, and the weather perfect. They started the day off fishing catching gator trout after gator trout around spoil islands. As the sun climbed higher in the sky, they switched gears and sight-casted to schools of redfish up on the flats. In about an hour, the husband and wife duo landed over a dozen redfish. After moving off the redfish to give them a break, the anglers landed a dozen trout up to 26 inches before heading to the “Tiki Bar” for a dockside lunch.
On the second day of fishing, Capt. Peter picked Howell and Gene up from their hotel dock, and headed out to the fishing grounds as the sun broke the horizon. The second day’s target was snook. Fishing the falling tide, Howell and Gene drifted live baits along mangroves and grass flats. Most of the snook were between 35 and 40 inches, providing some spectacular fights. Those 20 pound snook soaring into the sky with water gushing from their gills is a sight that really gets the heart pounding. The anglers also caught a handful of trout up to 27 inches and a few redfish.
Orlando is considered the convention and vacation capitals of the world and when the two capitals can be combined, as was the recent case for Jared, Karissa and Rich, an Orlando trip will be fantastic. Coming straight from the Orlando International Airport to Kennedy Point Park on the Indian River in Titusville, the threesome, along with four other colleagues, jumped aboard the ‘Flat Broke’ captained by guide Rocky Van Hoose for an afternoon of fishing and relaxation prior to the opening sessions of their business conference to be held later that evening. We are not sure about the relaxation part of the formula but the fishing part was fantastic as they caught fish after fish after fish. Many of the redfish caught were in the 20 to 30 pound range while the trout measured 20 to 28 inches in length. The other four anglers, guided by Capt. Peter and Capt. Robert and fishing in close proximity, also caught numerous fish and shout of exhilaration and exuberation echoed back and forth from boat to boat to boat in the redfish capital of the world.
Reid, Rick and Roy spent a day fishing with Capt. Peter in the Banana River targeting redfish and seatrout. These trophy hunters did not want to keep many fish, so most of the trip was spent going after the big boys. The trio had a great day of fish catching. They landed over a dozen redfish up to 40 inches and some big trout up to 25 inches with a couple of double headers.
John White, along with his son-in-law Scott, fished with Capt. Rocky several years ago. Returning to Florida again this spring, John decided to book two charters and bring one of his grandchildren on each day. Fourteen year old Jill was the first to enjoy the fishing with dad and granddad and she was the star of the day catching so many fish we lost count. Eleven year old Kevin had the following day and his adventure was even better than the previous day. Again we lost count but believe the totals for the half day charter were close to forty trout and redfish. The location of the charters was the Indian River Lagoon near Titusville.
Dan booked a half day fishing trip with Capt. Peter in hopes to show his good buddy Danny some Florida redfishing. The trip was spent fishing groups of big, overslot redfish that were feeding on schools of mullet. Fishing in the Banana River, they keyed in on the schools of redfish that are moving up and down the shallow sandbars in the clear water. The anglers caught over a ten big redfish up to 38 inches, and half a dozen big trout.
Merritt Island winter resident Jack Chamblin has been on a quest over the past several months to take his sons and grandsons fishing and with each successive trip the fishing results have gotten better and better. This past Friday Jack brought his son Rocky and fished with Capt. Rocky in the Indian River Lagoon near Titusville. The two Chamblins absolutely smoked the fish catching somewhere between 40 and 50 fish during their half-day charter and, let me tell brother, that’s a lot of fish! Most of the large number of trout caught was in excess of 20 inches with the longest measuring 26 inches. Three of the redfish caught exceeded 35 inches with the biggest exceeding 40 inches. By the way, Jack who is 80 years old, graciously let Rocky Chamblin catch the big reds since he himself battled and landed an enormous 53 inch, 46.9 pound redfish with Capt. Rocky on his previous charter.
Local wood turners Joe from Merritt Island and Herb from Titusville recently took a turn out of the shop for a fishing adventure with Capt. Rocky on the Indian River. Leaving the dock at noon, a time when many fishing charters are returning, the duo polished off every piece of precious bait in subduing 13 redfish and two trout. And every fish caught was a true trophy with the two smallest reds weighing 15 pounds and the largest brutes tipping the scales near 30 pounds. The near constant action resulted in plenty of sore mussels, broad smiles and remarkable memories. What an absolutely awesome afternoon of angling!
Tim Dobson, now of Ft. Worth, Texas, recently vacationed near Disney World with his wife and two daughters and was rewarded for his diligence to domestic duties with a half day fishing charter on the Indian River Lagoon with Capt. Rocky. Fishing in the shadow of Kennedy Space Center property, Tim, a former lumberjack from Michigan, had an absolute blast enjoying the finest of natural Florida waterlife and cutting down fish after fish. Pictured below is Tim with a 28 inch gator trout and one of several 20 plus pound redfish caught on the day.
Skilled anglers Mark and Brenda Moore from Leesburg chartered Capt. Rocky on a day when a late spring cold front approached the area. As the front approached, the winds swung around to the southwest and scattered the fish. The big gator trout were still abundant and the Moores caught a bunch of them with several in the 25 to 28 inch range. The reds, plentiful the day before, were harder to locate but Brenda was able to uphold the family honor by catching two bulls, one measuring 43 inches and weighing 25 to 30 pounds.
The weather is often the wild card in spring inshore fishing. The fish gather in fairly familiar patterns for their daily activities, it is the weather that either allows or prevents us access to them. If we can access the fish, we’ll have big banner days on the water. If we can not access the fish, we’ll scramble but still catch enough to make the charters successful. Jack Chamblin and Cody, Jack’s grandson from Illinois, booked a half day charter with Capt. Rocky where the forecasted weather was iffy at best. Navigating the charter around the stiff winds and rain possibilities proved to be challenging but not impossible. And they still caught fish. Well, that may be a bit understated since they actually caught quite a few fish; nine redfish and three trout. The reds were all over-sized, ranging from 15 to 30 pounds while the trout were big and plump and went home with the Chamblins for a fish fry later that evening. Best of all, everyone had a blast, despite the iffy forecast.
Slick, calm water greeted Cliff and Mark Watton from Atlanta for their half day charter with Capt. Rocky on the Indian River Lagoon. Using a variety of fishing techniques, including sight-fishing the sandy potholes, the Watton boys caught a mess of fish – eight reds to 25 pounds and 15 trout, all longer than 20 inches – making it a perfect fishing day as well as a perfect weather day.
Paul Gaston from West Virginia had promised his father-in-law from Pittsburg, also named Paul, a fishing charter as part of an extended Florida vacation. They had originally wanted to book an offshore trip out of the Port Canaveral but high winds and seas, along with some very good advice from Dan Deihl of iOutdoors, convinced them there might be a better option. Instead of roughing it out on the ocean, the twosome enjoyed a fishing adventure of a lifetime in the wind-protected, shallow waters of the Indian River lagoon near Titusville with Capt. Rocky Van Hoose of Native Sons Fishing Charters. And boy oh boy did they ever have a blast catching a mess of redfish and trout. The biggest trout went 27 inches and weighed close to eight pounds while the bigger redfish, the three bigger redfish, pushed the scales past twenty pounds with the largest weighing an estimated thirty pounds. It may have been rough off-shore but the two Pauls hardly even noticed the winds during the day, commenting at the conclusion of the charter what a wonder day it had been. The moral of this story is ‘it pays to heed to good advice’.
Wayne and Julie from Topeka, Kansas, fishing nearby good friends Lee and Angie Harp, spent a beautiful spring day with Capt. Rocky on the Banana River in the midst of millions of finger mullet. Now the annual advent of the mullet, known the spring mullet run, has caused our predator fish to do some surprising things. Firstly, it has moved the fish from places where they have been holding for many months. Secondly, since their appetites have been thoroughly satiated, it has caused them to be less than enthusiastic about chasing down live bait. Thirdly, it has changed their feeding times from early mornings to later in the afternoons when the winds are highest giving them maximum protection and camouflage over the flats. Wayne and Julie had to wait through mid-morning and early afternoon for the fish to begin an aggressive feed. However, when the fish finally ‘turned on’, the bite was impressive. And pictured below are several of the reds caught their charter.
Jack Chamblin from Merritt Island with grandson John from Hollywood, California fished with Capt. Rocky on a very calm spring afternoon. Chasing waking and tailing reds and even wading in the slick still waters yielded a number of monster trout and several outstanding redfish including the one being held John in the picture below.