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Indian River lagoon Coast Fishing Report, June 10, 2005

Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters

As the rainy season progresses, the dynamics of the estuary will begin to shift and this transformation was evident this past week on the Indian River Lagoon. Increased rainfall has elevated water levels allowing anglers and fish to move deeper into the backwaters. Water has begun to flow from the impoundments through the culverts, and as rainfall increases, the volume of flow will expand drawing feeding fish in closer. Tannic acid from decaying organic mater has chanced the water color in the areas of runoff to a tea color brown, and the increase freshwater influx will change salinity and PH in those areas. Also, longer and hotter days will lessen the amount of dissolved oxygen (DO) in the water stressing fish to a greater degree, especially at first light, and more so, in the area of the power plants where discharge temperatures can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

How do these changes affect the fishing you ask? As water levels increase in the backwaters, redfish will begin feeding on fiddler crabs along in the newly flooded mud flats and marshes, and anglers fishing from fat boats can venture into areas inaccessible by most during low water periods. Flowing water from the culverts will draw snook, ladyfish, tarpon, redfish and other species to the discharges where pray is flushed out of the marshes into the ambush zone and the (DO) levels are elevated a bit by the moving water. In tannic stained waters, you may want to switch to a darker color lure where the darker silhouette is more visible to fish. The warmer the water, the less (DO), and at night, the lack of photosynthesis will lower oxygen levels even more, so it is very important to step up the size of your tackle when targeting larger fish to lessen the degree of stress a long battle will have on the them. All of this change will alter feeding and behavior patterns of fish, so what was a hot spot all spring long, may now be void of fish, and a new honey hole will become a requisite.

Angling this past week was good, but it didn’t hold a candle to quality of the company I shared my week on the lagoon with.

On Sunday June 5th, I ventured into the Banana River No-Motor-Zone with Kelly and Mike Olsen from the Tampa area. The wind was a bit brisk for the Zone, but the adventure of the excursion drew us anyway. We were on the water by 0630, and catching fish by 0700. The chop on the water and cloudy skies made sight fishing tough, but we still managed to entice a good number of quality sea trout to the Boga Grip. Both Kelly and Mike were experienced and entraining Florida anglers who didn’t hesitate jumping in and wading the sandbars, and they made the already enjoyable experience even better. Most of the sea trout taken were within the slot or over, and they were caught on top-water blue/silver Chug Bugs, red/white Skitter Walks, and red /white Cottee jigs. There was also a noticeable change in water conditions, and the number of large blue crabs experienced the week before on the flat had decreased significantly.

On Monday June 6th, the deck of Three Quarter Time was graced by the presents of 82 year old Jack Aley and his 15 year old grandson Philip, both experienced fly anglers from south Florida. Jack, who has fished the backwaters of the Florida Everglades all his life, was hoping for a shot at one of our legendary redfish, and he was determined to catch her on his 15 year old G-Loomis rod and bait casting reel on artificial bait or on fly. With this request in mind, we targeted a school of large copper queens, and he not only caught sight of the largest school of redfish in his life, he also caught the largest redfish in his life, a 52” beauty on a new penny Gulp Shrimp. Although my goal was for each angler to catch one quality fish, getting these larger redfish to eat artificial can be challenging at times, so Philip was unsuccessful in catching his trophy. Besides the one big redfish, we did manage to catch a good number of schooling size sea trout, again on a one ¼ ounce DOA jig head with a new penny Gulp Shrimp.

My next trip was on Wednesday June 8th, with Thomas Cannon from Ormond Beach, and his longtime fishing buddy Bob Vogelsang from the southwest Texas coast. Again my goal was to put each of them on a large redfish, and by 8am, they both had caught a 20 pound class redfish using chunks of fresh blue crab. With our primary goal accomplished, we spent the remainder of the charter exploring the magnificently slick calm conditions, and catching sea trout on top-water chug Bugs, Skitter Walks and RipTide Realistic shrimp on jigs with Woodies Rattles inserted in areas of concentrated schools of baitfish.

Although the numbers of fish taken was less the previous week, we still managed some significant catches by quality anglers from completely different fisheries who were draw in by the diversity and beauty of our IRL. We are so lucky to live and fish in paradise.

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

Good luck and good fishing,

Captain Tom Van Horn
[email protected]
407-366-8085 office
407-416-1187 on the water
886-790-8081 toll free

If you would like to be added to my mailing list, please contact me at [email protected]
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