Capt. Tom Van Horn
February 1, 2012
Indian River Lagoon - Saltwater Fishing Report
Mosquito Creek Outdoors Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report, February 2012
By Captain Tom Van Horn
Upcoming Seminars and Events
February 4th, 10 a.m. to Noon, Fundamentals of Flats Fishing Series, Class 1 of 8, instructed by Captains Chris Myers and Tom Van Horn. Located at Mosquito Creek Outdoors, 170 south Washington Ave., Apopka, Florida. Visit www.mosquitocreek.com for more details.
February 11th and 12th, Old Florida Outdoor Festival in Apopka, Florida. Come out and spend some time visiting with the Coastal Angler Magazine Orlando Captains and writers. We will also have a meet and greet on Friday February 10th from 4 to 5 p.m. at Mosquito Creek Outdoors in Apopka where we will welcome Mark Sosin, Mark Nichols, Jerry McBride, Patrick Sebile, Blair Wiggins and our local celebrity captain and professional anglers to Central Florida.
Central Florida Shad and Crappie Derby Dates
Saturday February 25th, 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Shad Rally and Seminar at the Jolly Gator Fish Camp on the St. Johns River and HWY 46 east of Geneva. This event features free fishing seminars on both crappie and shad fishing by local pros, food, raffles sponsor booths and more. Come out and join in the fun, and learn how easy it is to catch these two species.
Saturday March 17th, Shad and Crappie Derby ends at dusk.
February Fishing Forecast
As winters go here in Central Florida, we certainly can't complain about the great weather we experienced thus far. With the exception of a few cold days, gorgeous fishing condition has prevailed and we experienced so excellent fishing as well.
The fresh water bite on the St. Johns River has been on fire, with excellent catches of American shad, crappie, sunshine and largemouth bass, catfish and much more. In addition, redfish, black drum and sea trout have been off the hook in the Lagoons.
Inshore on the flats, water levels have fallen to our winter lows, and it's starting to clear up some. These low water levels force the redfish, black drum, and sea trout into the deeper pockets on the flats where they become trapped in some cases. These concentrations make for a good number of tight schools, but shallow conditions also make access both difficult and dangerous for those not familiar to the area. Also on colder days, falling water temperatures force most fish to seek deeper locations in search the warmest water they can find and they become very sluggish. As the sun warms the water, all it takes is a degree or two of change, and the fish will begin to move and feed in the shallows. On the sunny mornings, it is not uncommon to find redfish and trout holding in the sand pockets or potholes within the shallow flats where water temperatures raise faster. Additionally, warming water temperatures combined with sunny spring days and crystal clear water make February one of the best months to site fish for redfish, large sea trout, and black drum on the lagoon flats. Also, now is the time to target tailing black drum in the Banana River Lagoon "No Motor Zone". For larger sea trout, fish at first light, sunset, or at night with natural baits, and target areas where mangrove edges, docks, and other structure are adjacent to deep water dredge holes, sloughs, or canals. These same areas will also hold concentrations of small trout which can be caught throughout the day on small jigs and shrimp imitation baits like DOA Shrimp fished very slowly along the bottom. Also, when fishing in deeper darker water try using nightglow colors with Woodies Rattles inserted in them to add the element of sound.
Offshore, kingfish will be active along the inshore reefs and wrecks, and they will remain there as long as the water temperature stays above 68 degrees. When targeting kingfish this month focus your efforts on the areas of 8A Reef, Pelican Flats, and Bethel Shoals to the south for best results. Look for cobia and amberjack to be present on the inshore wrecks like the Carol Lee, Dutch, and Sub Wreck out of Port Canaveral. Additionally, live bait is tough to find this time of year, so always carry a box of frozen Spanish sardines with you as backup.
Near-shore, look for tripletail concentrations to improve greatly along the Port Canaveral buoy line and under floating weeds and structures, and for cobia to move in shadowing manta rays if the surface water temperatures reach the upper sixties. Now is also the time for shore fisherman to target pompano, bluefish, weakfish, small black drum, sheepshead, Spanish mackerel and whiting in the surf and larger redfish and flounder around the inlets and jetties.
Last but not least, windy days in February are a great time to check out those freshwater fishing holes on the St Johns River. Currently good catches of American shad, speckled perch, warmouth perch, and largemouth bass are being reported. The shad run has been really kicking this year with more fish then we have seen in years. This past week, good reports of shad came from the Marina Isles to Mullet Lake section of the St. Johns River, as well as a good number shad being taken south of Lake Harney. As the run progresses the shad are moving into the shallows flats south of Hwy 46, so fly anglers don't haste.
In closing, be sure to sign up for the Shad and Crappie Derby (www.cfshadderby.com) and I'll see you at the Shad Rally on February 25th were I will be raffling off a free fishing charter to one lucky angler, but there is a catch. To receive your free raffle ticket, you will need to bring me some trash from the river bank. So, I'm looking forward to seeing you at the rally with some trash in hand, and then taking you fishing.
As always, if you have any questions or need information, please contact me.
Light tackle saltwater fishing guide service on Florida's east central coast. Come fish the Mosquito Lagoon, the Indian River Lagoon and the Banana River Lagoon for redfish, sea trout, snook, tarpon and much more, all less than one hour frome the Orlando theme parks.