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Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast, September 2005

Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters

As hurricane season progresses and the summer squalls move north in the Atlantic, the prevailing summer breezes will begin to switch from the southeast to the northeast. This shift signals the beginning of the fall migration of all critters preferring warmer climates. This transition also marks the beginning of the fall fishing season as hordes of baitfish, primarily silver and black mullet, bay anchovies (glass minnows) and greenies, and predatory species begin their southerly migration along the beach and through the Indian River Lagoon. Rather than a continuous flow, baitfish move south in pulses or waves, so finding the bait is the key to catching fish. One day a particular location will be loaded with bait, and the next day they will be gone. It’s hard to predict the magnitude and duration of the run, but it recent trends continue, this years run will start early, and like last year, progress into October and November. Currently bait pods are forming up in all areas of the lagoon, and small concentration of baitfish have already made their presence known around Ponce De Leon Inlet, Port Canaveral and along the beaches south to the Sebastian Inlet area.
Look for snook, tarpon, redfish, bluefish, jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel, sharks, and large kingfish crushing and shadowing bait pods all along the beach. The bait pods are easily located by watching for birds diving and fish working the bait on the surface. Once you’ve located the bait concentration, simply determine its direction of movement, usually south, and set up in front of it and let them come to you. This is also my preferred time of year to target tarpon and snook along the beach.

September 1st also marks the beginning of snook season and the beach snook run has already started with a few fish being reported. This action will pick up substantially as the bait run progresses When fishing from the beach, I prefer using live finger mullet as bait, (match the hatch). The technique I like to use starts by treading a ½ ounce barrel sinker onto your line. Next, attach a small swivel to the tag end of your line serving two purposes. The swivel acts as a stop keeping your weight from sliding down on the hook, and it also reduces line twisting as your sinker rolls with the tide and wave action. Next, I attach about 24” of fluorocarbon leader, 40 to 50 pound test, and a large circle hook. You will need to step up your tackle, rig, and bait size if tarpon are targeted. Another tip is to use 20-pound test braided line, I like Stren Super Braid, which greatly increases your spoon capacity over standard monofilament line. Once you’re rigged and acquired bait, you want to hook your finger mullet through the lips. Fish the very edge of the beach, just beyond the whitewater, and walk along the beach letting your bait roll along in the direction of tidal flow. This technique will allow bait to cover more ground and help keep your bait in the strike zone. Also, if you are in to full contact fishing, Sebastian Inlet features some of the best snook action on Florida’s Indian River Coast, but its popularity attracts anglers from across the state.

Near-shore, good numbers of kingfish will continue to work the beaches, Port Canaveral buoy line, and the inshore reefs and wrecks in 70 to 120 feet of water. When targeting kingfish, slow trolling live pogies (Atlantic menhaden) on stainless steel stinger rigs is the preferred method. Also as the water temperatures cool, look for the large rays to move into shallower water bring cobia with them. In Port Canaveral and Sebastian Inlet look for flounder, mangrove snapper, redfish and snook around the jetties and other structure, and tripletail, barracuda, and cobia under the Canveral buoy cans.

Inshore, sea trout are still plentiful on the deeper edges of the grass flats, with the best bite happening at first light and sunset. Also look for ladyfish, tarpon, slot redfish, and jacks to be mixed in. When targeting these fish, work top water plugs for explosive action, or try working ¼ ounce jigs with a white or rootbeer colored RipTide Realistic Shrimp combined with a Woodies Rattle capsule insert. Additionally, late summer is the time of year when the breeder redfish schools have formed up for the spawn in the northern reaches of the IRL. Near the end of the month, start looking for the pompano and flounder to begin moving out of the lagoon through the inlets into the near shore waters along the beach. Also watch for the larger redfish to begin forming up just outside Sebastian Inlet feeding on small baitfish and small crabs washing out with the tide.

As always, if you have questions or need information, please contact me.

Good luck and good fishing,

Captain Tom Van Horn
[email protected]
407-366-8085 office
407-416-1187 on the water
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