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Fishing Report for Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island & Port Canaveral

Capt. Ron Presley
October 2, 2005
Cocoa Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report

Nothin’ Like Those Fall Redfish!

The water remains high in the Banana River around Merrit Island and Cocoa Beach. The morning winds have been light and favorable to fishing on most days. Mullet remain abundant and the Fall fishing continues to be pretty good.

Recent trips have produced some nice redfish along with a variety of other fish. With the redfish bite on in one of my favorite areas I decided to take my wife with me one day, since she had never caught a redfish. Well, she caught her first redfish. Of course, it was not the one I wanted her to catch but it was her first. The day before we had caught six or seven slot sized fish in this same area, with one going to 24 inches. Today, however, the only fish we caught was her first one and it was a rat red at 17 inches. Just goes to show you the variability of fishing!

On another day the Hooper clan from way up north came to Florida to vacation in the Disney complex. They took one day out to come and enjoy some Space Coast fishing. Andy, a six-teen year old boy was an avid fisherman while mom, Anna, was just as dedicated and had the patience of Jobe. And, patience paid off today as she out fished the Hooper guys. Dennis, the dad was more interested in Anna and Andy catching fish, but he to was a dedicated angler. Most of the day was spent fishing live shrimp under a DOA Clacker Float. The shrimp were suspended about 14 inches below the surface on a 20-pound leader and pinned to a 3/0 red Circle Hook.

I really think Anna got the most hook-ups because she was patient and did not set the hook too soon with the circle hooks. You want to remember, in order to do the job they are intended to do, you really just need to let the old redfish go a little and then just start reeling without the big hook set. Because of their design, circle hooks will come completely out of the fish’s mouth if you jerk too hard. In fact, I like to fish redfish with an open bail, count to five once the line starts to spiral off the spool, and then close the bail by hand and just start reeling. Once I feel the rod bend under the pressure of a nice fish I will give a gently hook set to seal the deal.

By the time the day was over we had caught spotted sea trout, redfish, jacks, and mangrove snapper. Anna won the day with three slot-sized reds to 24 inches. It was a CPR day, (catch, photo, release). Two of the reds were caught on live shrimp and a third was taken on cut mullet.

Finally, Robert brought his daughter Carol and friend Matt over for a little fishing on the Banana River. The wind was not kind to us on this particular day. We left the dock at daybreak only to find white caps on what is usually a calm river early in the morning. We took refuge on the East side of the river in an attempt to beat the wind. We were successful in getting out of the wind, but the bite was less than adequate. A few small pinfish and snapper convinced us to move on to other grounds. We sucked it up and headed for the open river where redfish had been active earlier in the week. We braved the winds and fished a shallow flat for over an hour with a few bites and no fish. Then, Carol stood up on the bow with a rod bent double in the windy river. It acted just like a big red, circling the boat and just pulling hard. Carol worked the fish slowly to the boat where we finally saw that she had hooked about a 4 pound jack creavalle. It was the most excitement we had experienced so far. Matt and Robert had a few bites and some small fish but nothing worth talking about. Then, about a half-hour after the jack, Carol was hooked up again. The rod bent and the drag screamed. I thought we had another Jack. Wrong again. Carol skillfully worked a 26-inch, 7-pound redfish to the boat. Just like earlier in the week, the big red hit a live shrimp suspended under the DOA Clacker Float. Looked like redfish was on the dinner menu tonight.

We finally decide to move a final time to a wind-protected bay just off a channel that led to a residential canal. Immediately, Carol hooked a rat red. Then Robert hooked up with a similar fish. Then a double with Carol and Robert both hooked up at the same time. The little 14 inch reds were too short, but lots of fun to catch. We caught several before the bite just stopped and it was over. Well, we were running out of time and bait at the same time, so we headed for the dock with the feeling that we had, at least to some extent, beat Mother Nature and the windy day she dished out for us. 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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