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Fishing Report for Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island & Port Canaveral

Capt. Ron Presley
September 25, 2005
Cocoa Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report

Reds on the roam!

The water level in the Banana River remains much above normal. If you haven’t been to Kelly Park ramp lately, you will find the water only about 6 to 8 inches below the deck of the walkway. You have to step up to get in a boat! The reds continue to feed, especially on cut mullet and a few nice trout show up from time to time. Yesterday the mullet seemed to be fewer than the day before, but that is normal when the run first starts. Soon they will be plentiful everyday.

I had a very interesting trip since I reported last. I have an angler who comes over from Central Florida every once in a while, always bringing a friend or acquaintance to introduce or reintroduce to shallow water fishing. In the past, he has brought kids and other friends. This time was no exception. His name is Robert, and this time Robert brought his Pastor, William, who was practicing his sermon for Sunday morning on the rest of us. He was going to talk about joy and happiness and how to distinguish between them. I can’t remember exactly how it came out, but it related to “fishing” and “catching”. We fishermen all know there is a difference. Maybe I will check back with William (Everybody called him Billy) and report on that later.

Robert also brought Andrew, a nine-year-old boy, who recently lost his father to cancer. Robert thought a fishing trip would be a nice diversion for Andrew. Andrew is a fine young man and as you will read later, a quick learner, and now an avid fisherman!

And then, last but not least, Robert brought his friend, Dick, a Sheriff’s Chaplain who, as it turns out is blind. Dick is an unbelievable guy. Patient, with a fabulous sense of humor. I think he turned out to be the best fisherman of all (except maybe for Andrew). There could be some lessons for all of us from Dick’s ability to catch fish.

So, with the introductions out of the way, lets go fishin’. We left the ramp around 7:00 am motored (with Andrew driving part of the way) to a rocky point where I have often found snook in the early hours of the day. Robert had never caught a snook and I really hoped this would be the day. Well it wasn’t, as another boat sort of moved in on our location and we decided to just let them have it and move on ourselves.

A short move was all it took to find another fishy looking place. The bite was slow, but we managed to put a few fish in the boat. Robert hooked up a jack creavalle and a mangrove snapper on live shrimp. One 3 to 4 pound bluefish bit right through Dick’s monofilament leader and escaped to freedom. In between practicing his sermon on joy and happiness, Billy hooked up and boated a nice 20-inch redfish that immediately went to the livewell. Billy was fishing live shrimp under a DOA Clacker to fool the first redfish of the day. In the meantime, Andrew pulled in a trout and a couple of pinfish to get in on the action. Before we left, Dick hooked up again, this time on a 23-inch redfish that also went into the live well for dinner. It was beginning to look like someone was going to be busy cleaning fish. The bite slowed, time to move on.

We headed south on the river to a small shoal separated by a canal on one side and a shallow water flat on the other. Billy, Andrew, and Robert were fishing cut mullet and Dick was fishing with live shrimp. Of course, he didn’t know what I put on his hook because he couldn’t see it. Wasn’t long though until Dick’s pole was bent over. Just like before, he did not need sight to immediately recognize that he had something pulling on the end of his pole. He calmly replies, “I got one”. From his position on the cooler seat in front of the center consol, Dick skillfully worked that redfish to the boat and into the landing net just as he had at the other location. Without saying a word, Dick was teaching us all the rewards of patience and the skill of “feel” in fishing. Just capitalize the word “PATIENCE” and think about it. We could all improve our own fishing and catching skills by duplicating Dick’s patient deliberate actions. Coupled with his uncanny sense of feel, Dick was demonstrating to us all the need for a new phrase in the vocabulary of fishing. Sight-less fishing for reds!

Well, Billy wasn’t just standing around either. He was casting cut mullet rigged on a red circle hook up close to a small island that marked the end of the shoal. And, sure enough, it wasn’t long until he too had another nice red for the dinner table. Robert added another slot sized redfish and a 23 inch sea trout to the count. With four anglers and me on board, we were limited to one redfish each, so we had to release all but five of the feisty reds.

Now it was Andrew’s time for glory! You remember Andrew. Andrew is the nine-year-old boy who has fished every inch of the boat from bow to stern in an effort to catch the “big one”. Picture this. Andrew is setting on the deck in the very front of the Pathfinder. He is baited with a piece of cut mullet suspended under a DOA Clacker float. He is displaying the same kind of patience that Dick exhibited all day long, when we heard something like “oh” or “wow” or some other phrase to indicate Andrew’s surprise at a fishing rod bent double over the front of the boat. I hollered at Andrew. “Stand up and lift your rod tip high”. He did and the fight was on. Everyone else reeled in their lines as the big red fish began to circle the boat about 25 yards away. Andrew followed the fish around the boat and carefully pumped and reeled, pumped and reeled, until he finally brought the 30-inch redfish to the side of the boat and into the landing net. Some high fives, a few pictures, a resuscitation of the fish and off he swam to fight another day. Andrew, I said, “some people fish all their lives to catch a nice redfish like that and you make your first red a trophy! Congratulations.”

There is nothing like heading back to the ramp with a boatload of satisfied anglers. I am still not sure if it is joy or happiness, but I plan to meditate on that some more.

Check out the fishing report on my website for some pictures of this weeks fish. 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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