May Report 2013
The heat and humidity of summer is upon us as well as the afternoon thundershowers. The last few days have been almost impossible to fish due to heavy rains and high winds. The fish seamed to be confused with the higher waters in the Mosquito Lagoon. They were found in many of the same areas but no longer in schools and they were hitting at a weird part of the day and super close to shore. Prior to the heavy showers, on mild windy days, they were on the hunt for dinner. The mullet and bait schools are still everywhere. If you find them, you will find smaller trout underneath. The morning top water bite has been fantastic. Towards mid day, move to soft plastics. A peal white 12 Fathom Buzz Tail rigged on an Edje Joe 3/0 1/16 oz jig has been the gator trout's favorite meal! The Indian River has been on fire with reds, trout and snook. Look for grass and bait and you will find your prey. We have found them under mangroves waiting for an easy meal to swim by. Skip cast under each cut of the mangrove and you will get hooked up on the drop of your lure. Make sure your drag is set properly or you can lose them as they run back under. I usually tie a 30lb fluorocarbon leader just in case I might get cut of by barnacles or the sharp gill plate of the snook.
Remember as the day heats up, long battles will kill the fish, so if you plan on targeting large fish, step up your tackle to shorten the battle. Leave them in the water as much as possible, wet your hands before handling, take that quick photo while holding them vertically, and revive them completely before releasing.
Here are only some stories from this last months kayak charter adventures.
After several rainy days early in the month and being off the water, I loaded the Native Watercraft U14 while Brian opted to take his favorite model, the Tegris, on a scouting mission. I used the Aqua Bound Surge Carbon paddle, while Brian will not leave without the Bending Branches Navigator paddle. Rigged and Rigged and ready for anything, we scouted the Indian River Lagoon east shore. Immediately after leaving the launch we saw fish everywhere but couldn't get them to chew a topwater or a soft plastic. Hours went by casting and not getting a single hit. They were so spooked. Finally I gave up on the fake stuff and threw my cast net at some finger mullet swimming near shore. Switching up in seconds to a 4/0 circle hook directly attached to a Tactical Angler power clip and a 20lb leader. Drifting past the mangroves, we both started casting just under and along the mangrove line and had great success! Snook and reds were happy with the candy we changed up to. It was another gorgeous day on the water.
Jen P. from Colorado came for a visit to Florida to soak up the sun and try her hand at kayak fishing. Jen is used to bait fishing but I convinced her to try her hand at topwater. We paddled casually over to where I wanted to start our day. Before actually reaching where I knew a school of reds were holding up, I had her practice the "walk the dog" technique. During my "watch and learn" session, I had a huge blow up and then an instant hookup on a decent trout. It came unbuttoned at the kayak. Jen made a cast at the recommended location after practicing "walking the dog", and ANOTHER HUGE blow up! It was a nice sized redfsih but it did not hook up so I instructed her to keep retrieving the lure. After making a cast into the same location, this time the fish could not resist. Jen went a nice ride and landed her first redfish from a kayak! Proud lady! The rest of the day was much more challenging. Just after she landed the red, a huge fog bank came in and a big lull came over the water. Trout, reds, and sheepshead were everywhere but no takers. We decided to call it quits. On the way back, we spooked up a huge flounder! " Should we try and go get it?" The decision was to paddle back while watching the porpoises, birds and manatee while soaking in beautiful Florida sunshine.
Jim P. from Chicago, IL also wanted to get on the water, but this time on a kayak, not a boat. With instructions on casting past sand holes and retrieving slowly during our drifts, Jim landed his first sea trout at 25 inches using a 12 Fathom Buzz Tail. This trout is going to be hard to beat! We launched another location on Day 2 and for Jim was all about finding the snook. Unfortunately an earlier start would have been better as the snook were not found but there were many choice trout and several reds to be had. Although none of the trout wanted to eat, the snook didn't show, we had a great time landing the reds and enjoying the great scenery. Great job Jim!!
Orlando resident, Bob M. normally fishes from a boat. I think he may have found a new passion! I set him up in the U12 and he immediately asked me why he "got the little boat". Funny dude! Bob was a natural. We made sure he was comfortable with his placement of gear and his cooler so it would be easy to reach everything when needed. Bob started to tie on a Spook Jr. in chartreuse as the waters were murky. We headed out and paddles into the wind so as to drift back and cast over sand holes. The water had a little too much grass for me to throw topwater so I spent my time casting a pearl white Buzz Tail. We spooked out some smaller reds in the skinny water on our way to start our drift. Bob opted to fish farther from shore and hit the holes in the 2 - 3 foot range. That was a great call as he had several hit but still not hookups. Bob switched up to a soft plastic rigged on an Edje Joe weedless jig, an even better choice. Bob hooked up on his first red from a kayak! We continued to fish every hole and pulled a bunch of juvenile trout to end the day with 1 mid-slot red and we crushed the trout. Not bad for fishing out of the "little boat"!
As the summer approaches, I can't stress the damage the Florida sun can do to your skin. Please cover up as much as possible! I found the Tailin' Toads face Shieldz and fingerless gloves give the utmost protection by covering your face and the tops of your hands can prevent cancer and using a 30spf sunscreen to prevent burns in other exposed areas. Being on the water multiplies the UV rays hitting your skin so be careful.
In closing, please handle fish gently and return them with as little stress as possible. They are the future of our fishery. Do not hang them from a gripper vertically so their stomachs want to drop. Keep your hands wet if you are handling trout. The slime on their bodies is there defense to diseases and please try not to put your hands up into their gills when you are trying to get that great camera shot. Gills like hearts are easily broken.
Visit my Facebook page at http://wwwfacebook.com/reelkayakfishing to keep up to date on the fish being caught in my area and give me a call when you are ready to "catch the thrill".
----June Forecast ---
Get out on the flats earlier or later in the day. Winds tend to pick up mid-afternoon and then die down later in the day. Snook have shown their sidelines more than once north of the Ft. Pierce area up to the Northern Indian River and Banana River Lagoons. Snook season closed on May 31 and won't be open again until fall. If caught, please be gentle and release them healthy as with all other fish. Plentiful amounts of redfish, trout, and sheepshead will be found on the grass flats laying in wait inside and around sand holes and drop offs in all the Lagoon system. In 1 – 2 feet of water you will find slot reds and above slot trout. Concentrate on points, bends, and small coves and areas that have culverts as well. Look for bait pods getting crushed. These predators will be much more active now and will be snatching up any morsel coming near. Look for bull reds in deeper waters, 4 – 5 feet on the deeper flats and running along drop offs. The topwater action will be fantastic due to the high mullet and glass minnow bait schools. My favorite, the walk the dog action cannot be resisted. Use subsurface soft plastics as the sun gets higher and the topwater action slows. Flounder has not been as abundant as last year but can be found on sandy or muddy ledges or bottoms that are near eddies that contain easily accessible bait and at drop offs.