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Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report, April 23, 2005

Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters

Render inoperative by my resent medical situation, I persuaded my physician into allowing me limited permission to fish as long as I stayed dry, and reframed from strenuous activity. I’m sure glad he understands and appreciates the importance of angling therapy, because I was real close to going anyway.

My original plan was to take my newly refurbished skiff, “Three Quarter Time” out for a spin to familiarize myself with my newly installed trolling motor and power pole, but after receiving a call from Scott Bradford, my longtime fishing friend and veteran lagoon angler, I opted to oblige his offer to pole my puny butt around the lagoon instead.

We departed the Haulover Ramp just before sunrise facing near calm conditions with a slight west wind, and we were keyed up about our day on the water together. You see, for some mysterious reason, Scott and I have never experienced a day on the lagoon where we were unsuccessful in finding and catching quality fish. Our plan was to head out into the north lagoon and drift an east west flat working top-water for sea trout and redfish. We arrived at our fishing location just before sunrise, greeted by perfect conditions and a flat loaded with jumping baitfish. Scott was throwing a clear Top-Dog Pup, and I decide on a blue and silver Chug Bug, and within an hour we had each boated several fat trout and slot redfish. Although we were only successful in boating four fish, we both experienced numerous explosions on our baits where the fish either missed the plug or we pulled hook.

After several hours of continuous action, the top-water bite slowed, so we decided to take advantage on the slick conditions and scout the lagoon for the larger redfish schools, and before you could shake a stick, we were on a school of about a hundred breeder reds in the 30 to 40 pound range. After missing my first two shots, Scott hooked up on a respectable fish from the platform, and we switched places to pursue the fish. At one point, you could clearly see the bottom of Scott’s spool, but by working together, we soon managed to land the fish. Once CPR was established, we quickly returned the 40 inch copper queen back into the lagoon, and call it a day.

These larger redfish schools are resident breeders who begin to aggregate this time of year for their late summer spawn, and in this case, two guide boats with clients and two anglers boats where in the area working the school. Working fish together is quickly becoming the norm on the lagoon due increased numbers of anglers, so it’s important to quietly move in and position yourself, and once you’ve hooked up, try to ease the fish out of the school and away from the other anglers. Also, do not crank up your outboard until you’ve polled or trolled your boat at least 100 yards away. This same pole and troll rule also applies to approaching the school. Additionally, try not to hammer the school by chasing them around all day. Catch yourself a respectable fish, take a photo, revive and release it, and than leave the school in search of fish on another flat.

During our day on the water, several interesting observations were made. First, if you need to burn a flat to locate redfish schools, it is respectful not to run between anglers fishing and the shoreline. It is just as easy to swing outside wide of the anglers boat, leaving the flat between the anglers and the shoreline undisturbed. Second, I was grateful to the other anglers and guides for allowing us the opportunity to move in and work the schooling redfish, and thank you Steve for sharing your direction and extra shrimp.

In closing, today is the day I finish my regiment of medication and the PIC line is removed from my arm. Being off the water for almost a month has been tough, but I’ve utilized the time to refurbish my skiff and tackle, and rest up. Also, your never realize how many friends you have until your down on your back, and to all of you who helped me through this ordeal, my many thanks.

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

Good luck and good fishing,

Captain Tom Van Horn
407-366-8085 office
407-416-1187 on the water
866-790-8081 toll free

2 Posts
Captain Tom,

What a small world it is! Trina here, met you last year at The Hunt for Reds in October in November...you took Peter and I, (GAFF), fishing all day...

I always enjoy your reports, and thank you for taking the time to write them so well.

Sorry to hear about your recent health issues! Hope you get on the water full time again soon, I know it means the world to you as it does the rest of us. Take care!
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