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Fishing Report for Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island & Port Canaveral

Capt. Ron Presley
April 23, 2006
Cocoa Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report

Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach Fishing Report

Still Waiting On Those Mullet

The wind still wants to blow us off the water almost every day. Not that necessarily bothers the fish, but it does make for less comfortable (and easy) fishing). I can always put up with it if the fish are biting but hate it when they aren’t. RipTide 3 inch plastic mullet continue to be top producers in the Banana River even though the mullet run does not appear to have started. It's got to be any day now.

A father son team from North Carolina fished the RipTides successfully last week catching redfish and lots of jacks. The wind blew and tried to make it difficult, but neither Doug nor his son Steven would be deterred. Doug and Steven were both good anglers and managed to keep their pole bent much of the day. I can’t stress how important it is to make good casts if you want to increase your catch ratio. If you can’t be on the water everyday, you can still practice for a few minutes in the back yard before you come fishing. I like to use a hula hoop and place it at different ranges to practice casting. The last place you want to practice is when you’re fishing, so get to it – get out there and hone those casting skills. Doug and Steven are perfect examples of anglers who came ready to fish, not practice and they caught fish.

On another day I had two father son teams, this group from Virginia. Andy and Darren brought their sons – Logan and Joey. Once again, we threw a lot of RipTide mullet at the fish on this day. One of the first hookups was Darren with a nice snook on an electric chicken colored plastic mullet. The fish was a little short at 22 inches, but Darren’s first snook. I joke with him that he had the hard part of a Banana River slam. All he needed now was a redfish and a spotted sea trout.

We continued fishing the plastics with everyone catching fish. By the end of the day we had caught redfish, spotted sea trout, snook, bluefish, and jack Crevalle. Both boys, Logan and Joey enjoyed pulling in those 4 to 5 pound jacks. I think they were getting hooked on fishing! Oh yea, about the slam – Darren did manage to add a nice sea trout and redfish to his total to complete the slam. Congratulations Darren – job well done.

Big Red Fish

Finally I made a trip to Mosquito Lagoon to check out the conditions there. I still can’t believe we are not seeing the mullet near Cocoa Beach and Merritt Island in the Banana River, because they are everywhere at Mosquito Lagoon. My good friend and fellow guide Capt. Chris Myers invited me up on a prospecting trip and I eagerly accepted. I don’t fish the lagoon much and was anxious to return. As usual lately, we were greeted with an early morning wind after a long drive to the ramp. If you are not aware, the road is closed in Titusville that would normally take you to Haulover Canal and other ramps on the lagoon.

Anyway, we ventured out to an area where Chris had spotted some large reds earlier in the week. The wind conditions and cloudy skies made sight fishing rather difficult. We didn’t spot the fish we were hoping for. So, we moved on, prospecting various flats. Chris picked up a nice slot-sized red on a plastic crab and I caught a nice trout on a RipTide mullet (glow). A little later in the morning, the skies appeared to be clearing with the clouds blowing out over the ocean. Both Chris and I commented that maybe it would clear and improve the sight fishing conditions. As it became apparent that conditions were improving, Chris decided to return to the “big fish” area. It wasn’t long until he had them spotted. The skies had cleared and even the wind had died to reasonable speeds. We had stopped earlier and caught a few pinfish to use on the big reds. Chris took his scissors and trimmed the fins and cut off about half the tail and pinned the lively pinfish to a circle hook. He handed the pole to me and got back up on the platform to move us quietly closer. Then the first big red showed himself, then another – and another. I cast the doomed pinfish beyond the first fish where it settled in among several others. The adrenalin began pumping as the jittery pinfish was inhaled by a feisty red. I let the fish eat for a short count and tightened the line to set the circle hook in its intended target.

A few minutes later I guided the redfish into a “sling” created and constructed by Chris to lift these big redfish from the water without injury. With poles on each side and mesh net in-between, the sling worked perfectly. Chris lifted the fish to the boat, hooked his scales to the sling and found the fish weighed in at 18 pounds. We took a couple of pictures, resuscitated the red and returned him safely to the water. We saw the big fish a couple more times but could not get them to eat again.

We moved to some other flats and caught a few more slot sized reds and a couple of trout. There were a lot of reds on the shallow flats and the water was very clear. Wind conditions began to worsen again and we decided to call it a day, and a great day it was. If you want to experience some of those Mosquito Lagoon redfish, just give Capt. Chris a call at 321-229-2848 or email him at info@floridafishinglessons.com.

Go to my website to see a picture of the big red.

Mosquito Lagoon (I am repeating this one final time since it is important that all mosquito lagoon anglers see it.)

For those of you who fish Mosquito Lagoon, you need to be aware that ALL anglers must posses a current signed Refuge Sports Fishing Permit at all times while fishing in the National Wildlife Refuge. The permits are free, and they are self-issued. All you have to do is pick up a brochure and fill out the permit and sign it. The whole idea is that by having the permit, you will have no excuse for not understanding the various regulations related to The National Wildlife Refuge because they are printed on the brochure. To obtain information on where you can pickup a brochure and fill out your permit, call the Refuge Headquarters at 321-861-0667 between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Get yours soon, read up on the regulations, and have fun fishing.

As always, you can visit my website at www.inshorefishingadventures.com to view pictures of the fish we catch. That’s what it’s all about. Good fishin’.

On a scheduling note,

The Costal Angler Magazine Fishing & Boating Expo will be held on May 19 -21 in Melbourne Florida at the Melbourne Auditorium. Mark your calendars and come by the Florida Guides Association Booth and say hi. Let me show you some RipTide lures and how I rig them. Also, we will be holding a kids fishing clinic at the show on Saturday the 20th of May. Plan on bringing your kid or a friend’s kid to the clinic and get them hooked on fishing.

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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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