Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report, May 27, 2005
Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
Fishing on the Indian River Lagoon Coast this past week is best described as extreme, filled with adventure, intrigue, quality fish, and yes, one tough day.
As a lifelong Florida resident and angler, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to take a great number of anglers fishing for their first time, but on Thursday May 19, I was once again set apart by the opportunity to take a lifelong Florida resident and angler fishing for what for could very well be his last time. You see Quent Rister is in the latter stage of terminal melanoma, and when his good friend Mike Norton contacted me with the request to put Quent on a quality redfish, I was humbled by the challenge.
We launched out of the Haulover Canal, and headed west into the North IRL, and before the sun crested the horizon, we had located a school of large redfish. As we approached the school we were obliged by the generosity of three other guides who let us squeeze in for a shot at the fish. My Goal was to let Mike and Quent catch one trophy fish each, and then move on and target slot redfish and trout. Even though the fish were plentiful, getting them to eat was a difficult task. Mike was the first to strike catching a nice 30-pound red on a live shrimp. After about an hour of excellent shots at the big fish, the lagoon gods blessed Quent with a solid hook-up on a quality redfish. For the next 45 minutes, the battle raged and just near the end, the big red managed to wrap the line around my port trim tab and break off. I took one look at Quent, and I could see by his expression, he was deeply saddened by the lost opportunity, and that’s when I realized the magnificent copper queen was still swimming beneath the boat. Determined to land Quent’s fish, I entered the water, and with Mikes assistance, we managed to noodle the tired 48-inch redfish into the boat for a quick photo. With our primary goal accomplished, we spent the remainder of the charted catching sea trout on white Rip-Tide Swimming Mullet with a Woodies Rattle Capsule inserted.
My next adventure was on Saturday May 21st, where my good friend and fishing mentor Captain Rodney Smith joined me for a day on the No-Motor-Zone. We launched about 6:30am, and caught numerous sea trout up to 6 pounds on fly, Cottee Jigs, and top-water Chug-Bugs. We also had a good shot at a fast moving school of large redfish, where I managed to hook-up on a Chug-Bug, only to have the big fish straighten out one of the hooks after a 5-minute battle. It was a great day on the water, loaded with continuous action and some really nice fish.
On Sunday May 22nd, I was joined by Steve Gates and Harold Smith in the area of Titusville, where we managed to find another school of big redfish just as the sun cleared the horizon. Within the first hour, we landing three trophy redfish in the 20-pound range with one double hook-up, again using live shrimp. Once the trophy reds were landed and photographed, we left the school tailing on the flat in search of table fare. We spent the remainder of the charter jigging the deeper flats in 2 to 4 feet of water, and we returned to the dock with four slot sea trout and one fat pompano caught on red and white and rootbeer glitter curly tail Cottee Jigs with rattles inserted.
My next charter was on Wednesday the 25th, where I was joined by Art Caffo and his cousin Larry from southern California. Again we targeted the same big fish, but we were challenged by a stiff west wind making finding and staying with the school difficult. After about an hour of searching, we finally located the school, and again managed a two trophy redfish, before losing the school in the two-foot chop. With our goal of two big fish accomplished, we moved to the leeward shoreline in search of fish to no avail, and we ended the day jumping three nice tarpon in the 50-pound range on live mullet before returning to the dock.
On the following day, I again was joined by Art and his wife Mary for what turned out to be an extreme canoe adventure on the Econ Creek. We found that low water conditions and hurricane debris make for a challenging 8-mile run with at least 40 portages. Thankfully, I had adventurous clients, and we managed some really nice bass on top-water Chug-Bugs.
Today Richard Kabus, his father Richey, and his good friend Kevin from New Jersey joined me for a day on the IRL, and a stronger than predicted east wind made locating the big redfish tough. We covered both flats that produced fish earlier in the week, but there were no reds to be found. We did manage a good number of sea trout on the deeper edge of the flat in 2 to 3 feet of water on blue and silver Chug-Bugs, but no quality fish were caught.
All in all, it was an excellent stretch of good fishing combined with good company. As always, if you have any questions or need information, please contact me.
Good luck and good fishing,
Captain Tom Van Horn
407-416-1187 on the water
866-790-8082 toll free