Fishing Report for Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island & Port Canaveral
Capt. Ron Presley
December 12, 2006
Cocoa Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report
High Winds, Cold Fronts, and Fire Trucks
High winds and cold fronts have slowed the fishing in my area lately. One trip was cancelled and others probably should have been. Tomorrow, however, is another day and it seems like no one is more optimistic than an angler so we just keep going anyway.
This week I have had anglers from Tennessee, Ohio, and Illinois. They just kind of look at me funny when I talk about it being cold. They know what cold really is! The wind however they do recognize as a factor in angling. On our north-south rivers, when that wind comes from the north there is not many places to hide.
Speaking of hiding, I think the fish were too. We never got skunked on any of the trips but the bite was slow and regardless of how hard we tried it was tough to catch a fish.
Andy from Tennessee was an excellent angler. The kind of guy you like to fish with. He could make the needed casts with accuracy and worked the lures with skill. Yet, with the cold front moving in the day before we hooked up only two fish before calling it a day. We caught one jack and one trout.
The next day brought Pat and his 9 year old son Brenden from Ohio. Fishing was slow again, but at least Brenden got to catch his first redfish and his first spotted sea trout. Both came on live shrimp and Brenden handled them like a pro. His dad has had him fishing for a while in the fresh water back in Ohio so he new how to handle the rod and reel. Pat added a redfish to the days catch, also coming on a live shrimp.
The next trip we cancelled because of 30 mile per hour winds and rescheduled for the following Monday. Monday came and the winds had subsided to 15 so we rocked and rolled our way to a bridge where Brian and Scott from Chicago had hooked into some big black drum last year about this time. We had hooked six big guys on that day, got two of them out of the pilings and one to the boat. Those big bruisers were just tearing us up. Brian landed one of about 40 pounds and Scott lost a similar fish right at the boat. This year was different. Scott and Brian also brought their friend Mike along this year hoping to hook him up with one of the big drum. It just wasn’t to be on this day.
We found no drum in the usual place so we ventured on to a couple other places. We caught ladyfish, snook, and trout all on Riptide 3” mullet. None of the fish were photo opts, but at least they bent our poles and added a little excitement.The first ladyfish came on a Riptide electric chicken color. We put the same color on everyone’s jig head and all ended up hooking ladyfish. We moved up a canal where we hooked the snook and a couple trout still using the Riptide 3 inch mullet. One more stop and we added several more trout on the same lure. This time however we also caught some on the Riptide watermelon with red tail, chartreuse, and the electric chicken colors. We tried the bridge one last time with no further success.
Now comes the part about the fire truck. Just when you think you’ve seen it all! In between Pat and Brenden from Ohio and Scott, Brian, and Mike from Chicago were Robert, Dan, and 10 year old Parker from good old Florida. Robert is Parker’s uncle and Dan is Parker’s Dad. They were bringing him over as a birthday present for his 10th birthday, hoping it would be a day to remember. As I waited at the ramp and the scheduled departure time passed, I begin to worry as Robert has fished with me before and he us usually early, not late. It wasn’t the greatest of days again, a little cool and windy. I had already talked to one guide whose clients had cancelled because of the wind. Then two anglers came up waiting on another guide. They told me who they were waiting for and I new him so I gave him a call. I found out that he had called and left a message that he was cancelling the trip due to the weather. The clients did not get the message, so had to leave without fishing.
As I was talking to them a sheriff patrolman drove up asking for Capt. Presley. I identified myself and he informed me that my guys had car trouble just up on Hwy 528 and ask if I could pick them up. I said sure, I would be pulling an empty trailer but could do it. He ask how many there were, I replied three, and he said he would get them.
I go to the boat to continue my preparations for the trip. I glance up at the entrance to Kelly Park hoping to see the Sheriff’s car pull in. What I see is a fire truck. I said to myself, this is going to be them. I grabbed my camera and waited for the fire truck to approach the dock. Sure enough, out come Robert, Parker, and Dan. It turns out their car had caught on fire and the firemen had more room in the truck then the patrolman so they brought them to the ramp.
I ask them what they wanted to do and they replied in unison. “Go Fishing.” And we did. It wasn’t the greatest of days but we did bring in a couple of fish, one being a black drum that would weigh in at about 7 plus pounds. Parker was thrilled at pulling in his “birthday drum.” What a day for this 10 year old out to celebrate his birthday. His uncle’s car catches on fire, the firemen bring him to the dock in the fire truck, God blesses him with a big black drum, and he gets to ride home in a snazzy little rental car.
I just don’t know if I would have made that fishing trip if it would have been my car that had caught on fire. What can I say, life is certainly an adventure.
Winter Fishing Tip
The colder weather is the time to slow down your presentation. When you cast those Riptide mullet or Realistic Shrimp out, let them settle to the bottom and work them very slowly. Change colors often until you find the most productive color. By trying different retrieves and color combinations you should be able to find the one the fish are looking for.
Other Notes of Interest
Don’t forget that snook seasons closes soon. The winter closure is December 15 – January 31.
Spotted Sea Trout are closed now and won’t reopen until January 1, 2007.
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.