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Fishing Report for Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island & Port Canaveral

Capt. Ron Presley
January 2, 2006
Cocoa Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report

The Final Report for 2005

The Christmas fishing season turned out to be a real mixed bag. Every day was different. Although the mornings have started out cool, the day usually warmed up fairly well. On one Banana River trip Dennis and Celina were in Florida for the Christmas holidays. They came from the much colder state of Illinois to enjoy some Florida sunshine and hopefully some good fishing. Like so many of our friends from the north, the cool 40 degree mornings did not seem to bother them. It did kind of bother the fish though because we did not catch a fish until around 10:00. Then we managed to hook up with some spotted sea trout and few reds.

The first trout came on live shrimp free lined and pinned to a 3/0 circle hook. We were using the normal 12 to 14 inch leader attached to the main line. This simple rig is a great way to cast shrimp up under and around the many docks that exists along the river. A little later, after the bite had started on the live shrimp, Dennis was able to fool a few of the sea trout with a plastic CAL paddle tail rigged on a ľ ounce CAL jig head.

The trout measured in up to 17 inches and the biggest red was an eight pound beauty. So, when all was said and done Dennis and Celina had treated themselves to a special Christmas gift of their first sea trout and their first redfish. Not a bad gift at all.

More Cold Weather Fishing

The next day I met another Dennis over on the Indian River side of the lagoon. This Dennis was down from Pennsylvania with his wife Chris and seven year old daughter Sara. Chris and Sara were off to Disney and planned to join us the next day. Dennis is an avid fly fisherman and wanted to target the wily redfish on this trip. It was another cool start to the morning with a north wind keeping it cool. It turned out to be one of those days where you say something like ďitís just nice to be out on the water.Ē Well, it is always nice to be out on the water but itís nicer if you can catch some fish. We didnít. One small sea trout gave in to one of Dennisís many presentations of several different fly patterns. And that fish felt like an ice cube when I removed him from the hook. Knowing that you need to know when to fold emí, we headed for the dock looking forward to tomorrow when Chris and Sara would join us for another Banana River trip.

Given the cool conditions and the lack of fish on the previous day I ask Dennis to meet me at Kelly Park about 10:00 am. This was the latest scheduled time in recent history for beginning a fishing trip for me. However, when you get those morning lows in the 40ís, day after day, it is not a bad idea to just sleep in a little and start your day after the sun has had an opportunity to warm the water some. Since Chris and Sara were joining us Dennis ask me to concentrate on getting them some fish and he would work in a fly presentation from time to time.

The first spot we stopped at produced a nice 15 or 16 inch trout for Sara and about a 15 inch rat red for Chris. Both fish came on live shrimp. A couple of other locations produce nothing. Then, abut noon we found a spot that began producing redfish and trout in a fairly consistent manner. Similar to a couple of days earlier, once the bite started Dennis brought out the fly rod and hooked up a couple of nice trout. Sara and Chris continued to catch their reds and trout on live shrimp free lined near a small but adequate drop off about 20 feet from shore. One of Saraís reds was a multi-spot red that would have been a great spot tournament fish. The wind was relatively strong out of the northwest all day long so we had been hiding along the west bank of the river to gain some protection from the wind. When the bite slowed we moved again to a relatively deep hole hoping for a few more fish before the trip ended.

This area ranges from 6 to 9 feet deep and often holds fish on some of the cold winter days. When we arrived another boat was already positioned on one side of the area. We carefully motored by and worked our way into the opposite side of the hole without disturbing the already present angler. We ask how he was doing as we passed by and he responded with a smile that he had caught about 20. We soon discovered that what he caught was small schoolie sea trout which had congregated in the deeper water.

In this spot we caught all our fish on artificials. Dennis had worked the fly rod to his advantage and caught several of the schoolie trout while Chris caught hers on plastic.

As always, you are invited to visit my website to view some pictures of the fish we have been catching.

Thatís what itís all about. Good Fishiníí.

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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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