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Fishing Report for Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island & Port Canaveral

Capt. Ron Presley
October 26, 2005
Cocoa Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report

Redfish, Trout, Snook, Tarpon

The Fall mullet run continues to produce some great fishing. On three trips this week, we managed to catch a little bit of everything. You name it, redfish, trout, snook, jacks and tarpon. A combination like that is hard to beat. It seemed like everything but the reds were willing to eat on artificials, but the best redfish bite came on live shrimp. BIG live shrimp.

Dale, from Schaumburt, Illinois spent the morning catching an East Coast Slam. This was one of those days where the big ones got away. Dale hooked up on a couple of really nice snook, only to see them pull free in the ensuing battle. He still managed to boat a couple of snook to begin his journey towards the slam. He added a couple of trout to 21 inches to take the next step towards boating three of the East Coasts favorite species. The snook and trout all came on CAL series jig heads with either a split tail or paddle tail plastic pinned on. The color of the day was “electric chicken”. Later we switched to live shrimp and got a redfish bite going. Most of the reds were pulled from under residential boat docks, later in the day. Congratulations Dale on the slam. By the way, did I mention this was Dales first outing on saltwater fish? He’s hooked!

The next trip I had Rick and another Dale, both Floridians, on board the Pathfinder. Rick and Dale were both very experienced anglers. They shared the front deck by rotating positions from time to time. This was a tough day for artificials, but just shows why it’s not a bad idea to have some live bait on board. After some hard fishing with accurate casts and presentations, we still came up short in the “catching” department. A couple of small trout and jacks were about all we had to show for the early morning bite. Dale had added a nice slot sized red, but only after switching to a live shrimp. Rick’s only previous redfish was a little rat at about 12-14 inches. He was here to get a slot sized fish, Dale added another nice red before Rick hooked up solid with a pole bending strike. We were fishing some docks and he had to muscle the red out from around the pilings and into the open water to make the landing a success. He skillfully turned the big red’s head and led him away from the dock to complete the CPR (Catch, Photo, Release). Dale and Rick both hooked up a couple more reds before we returned to the dock to call it a day.

Finally, and I know I promised last week to give some more tips on Tarpon fishing this week but this report is just getting to long. I will save those tips for another day. I do want to end however with a Tarpon trip. My good friend and fellow guide, Captain Doug Blanton, decided to make a trip to see if the Tarpon were biting. You can check out Doug’s website at www.sightfishing.com It was a bit of a tough day but Doug did managed to boat one Tarpon on light tackle and jump another. The one he boated measured about 40 inches – the perfect size for light tackle. The bite was slow and the presence of Tarpon few, but they were rolling once in awhile.

I jumped a couple and had one other furious strike right at the boat. The Tarpon had followed my sub-surface lure right to the boat and struck with only about 24 inches of line dangling from the rod. Water splashed into the boat and the sound caused Doug to turn around to see what happened. It would have been a very short fight if he had hooked up, but it was nevertheless exciting. I added a couple of six-pound jacks for some drag screaming pole-bending action. The Tarpon are still around; it’s just a matter of being there when they decide to eat!

Well, I am heading over to Kissimmee today for the Florida Outdoor Writers Convention. Maybe there will be some new products on display. If I see anything exciting, I will mention it in a future report.

Don’t forget the Coastal Angler Magazine, Catch, Photo, Release tournament this weekend. It is headquartered at Chowder’s on Highway 1. The captains’ meeting begins Friday, October 28 about 5:00 pm and you can register for the Saturday only fishing. Say hi if you are there. I will be fishing with my nine year-old grandson. 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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