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Fishing Report for Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island & Port Canaveral

Capt. Ron Presley
September 11, 2005
Cocoa Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report

September got off to a wet and windy start, but before all the weather, there were a few fish around to be caught. The Banana River around Cocoa Beach and Merritt Island holds some really big redfish and I was still thinking about the huge redfish that were hanging around yesterday. I motored over to the same area and set up shop hoping the big guys would show again.

I brought frozen mullet to chunk up for the redfish, hoping to catch a fresh ladyfish to add to my cut bait offerings. I began the day with artificials and the first fish caught were trout, all less than legal. They were biting furiously in the early morning darkness but none of legal size. They were taking both electric chicken and avocado paddle tails rigged on a CAL jig head. About day break a small ladyfish took an electric chicken paddle tail and made a quick jump. I was already imagining chunking it up for redfish bait when it made another jump and was gone.

The electric chicken also fooled a nice 3 pound bluefish, and probably another which I did not land. I had a hard hit and began to work a nice fish to the boat but the line went limp. I say it was most likely a bluefish because the leader was shredded when I brought in the empty line.

Add one snook on the same electric chicken and I was on my way to an East Coast Slam.

I continued to work the area where I saw the big Banana River reds yesterday. They never did show, but I did hook up one nice slot-sized redfish to complete the slam. The redfish came on cut mullet rigged on a 5/0 red circle hook. I always like to use the circle hooks when using cut bait because they almost always hook the fish in the corner of the mouth.

Just as I boated the red, a marine patrol officer approach me for a license, registration, and safety check. I ask him if he could do camera duty and he eagerly said "yes". I threw the red in the live well while we tied the two boats together and prepared the camera. Later I realized I did not even get his name. Anyway, I thank him for assisting me with the picture. We practiced CPR (catch-photo-release) and the lively red swam away in the slightly murky water.

Shortly after that, a rod I had baited with cut mullet bent over and I picked it up, only to bring in a fish I had never caught in the river before. It was a remora. Remora are small fish that live on and around sharks. They eat stray bits of food left by the shark and tiny shrimp-like parasites that live on the shark's skin. If you have ever seen an underwater shot of a swimming shark, you probably saw a remora hanging on to the shark. The fish is marked with brilliant contrasting black and white stripes and has a suction cup under his mouth that looks like the heel of a shoe. The fish uses that suction cup to attach himself to the shark.

It was approaching 8:30 and I had been on the water since 6:00. The bite appeared to be over and I headed for the ramp, happy to have caught the East Coast Slam. Those short 2 1/2 hours had provided another interesting day on the Banana River near Merritt Island and Cocoa Beach.

That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

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Capt. Ron Presley is an outdoor writer and fishing guide. He serves on the board of directors of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, is Secretary Treasurer of the Florida Guides Association and editor of their newsletter. Capt. Ron operates Inshore Fishing Adventures in the Cocoa Beach area.

Contact Info:

Inshore Fishing Adventures
516 S. Plumosa St., #19
Merritt Island, FL 32952
Phone: 321-454-7285
Alt. Phone: 321-749-1787
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