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Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report, May 18, 2005

Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters

As summer approaches and water temperatures increase, fishing strategies begin to shift from spring to summer patterns. This transition was evident this past week in the north IRL as the following observations were made:

Sea Trout: The top-water sea trout bite in the shallow flats slow down considerably, with the best bite occurring at first light in areas where bait was present. Most of the trout taken on surface baits this week were slot size or smaller, with the largest trout taken on a soft plastic salt & pepper Exude RT slug.

Redfish: Slot redfish remained scattered in the skinny water close to the shoreline with the larger breeders schooled up the deeper water pockets of 3 to 4 feet.

On Tuesday May 10th, I was honored by the opportunity to fish with my good friends Captain Rodney Smith and Melissa Marianetti for a mid-day tripletail adventure out of Port Canaveral. We left the dock about 10am, and we work our way out fishing the buoys with hand picked live shrimp. Once outside the buoy line in about 50 feet of water, we found a heavy weed line, but dirty water conditions resulted to very few fish on the weeds. We did manage three nice buoy bass (tripletail) taken on live shrimp fishing under the buoys, with Melissa catching her first respectable tripletail and the largest of the three tipping the scale at 15 pounds. If you enjoy fresh fish, it’s tough to beat tripletail.

My next opportunity was on Friday May 13, when I joined veteran lagoon canoe angler Lyle Roles for a fishing lesson. We launched his decked out American Eagle Canoe before daybreak in a sea of fleeing finger mullet, but like I mentioned above, the top-water bite was non-existent. After about an hour throwing top-water plugs, we switched to soft plastics, and Lyle beat me 5 to 1 on slot redfish throwing his salt and pepper exude against my 3” Gulp Shrimp. Lyle also caught a ladyfish and the largest sea trout for the week at 23 inches. After working the slot fish over, we moved out into deeper water where we found a school of larger redfish. I was the first to strike, catching a nice 15-pound copper queen on a chunk of Lyle’s ladyfish. We spent the next hour trying to get the larger fish to eat, when Lyle hooked up a monster red on a small homemade gold spinner bait with a chartreuse shad tail. Lyle spent the next 45 minutes working the fish to the boat when his line became tangled with one of my rods sticking out the bow and broke, as we tried to land huge fish. Not counting the one Lyle lost; we ended the day catching 7 redfish up to 36 inches, one 23-inch sea trout and a ladyfish.

On Saturday May 15th, I honored a ½ day charter awarded to Kent Roberts of Orlando, the winner of the Coastal Angler Magazine Reader’s Survey giveaway. Joined by his twin brother Mark, we again covered a lot of water with top-water plugs, only managing a few small sea trout. It was a gorgeous morning on the water, but the fishing was tough. We finally managed to put Kent on to a respectable 38” 20 pound redfish on live shrimp, just before heavy rains ran us off of the lagoon.

On May 16th, I ventured out on my own for what I refer to as a mental health day. In preparation for my favorite summertime fishing style, I left the house at 0300, and launched my skiff in nearly calm conditions from Kennedy Point around 0400. In about 20 minutes, I was poling quietly along the east shore in an area of concentrated bait, when I started catching slot size sea trout and ladyfish on a nite-glow riptide realistic shrimp and a Woodies Rattling Hook. Just as civil twilight set in, I found a small group of tailing redfish who were willing to play, and I had my skiff on the trailer heading for the house at 0730. All together, I boated six sea trout and three slot redfish all before 0700. Fishing at night and early morning has its advantages during the summer, but you need to cover the same ground in the daytime, and mark your route with your GPS to avoid dangerous obstacles, and operate with caution during hours of darkness.

All in all, it was a great week of fishing and enjoying great weather and friends on the magnificent waters of the Indian River Lagoon Coast.

As always, if you have any question 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
886-790-8081 toll free
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