Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast for November 2014
Capt. Tom Van Horn
November 6, 2014
Indian River Lagoon - Saltwater Fishing Report
Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast, November 2014
By Captain Tom Van Horn
Events and Seminars:
Thursday November 6th - 6 pm - Orlando Kayak Fishing Club Meeting at Mosquito Creek Outdoors, 170 South Washington Ave., Apopka, Florida. Meeting topic is "Preparing for the American Shad Run" presented by FWC Biologist Reid Hyle. For more details on this event visit www.orlandokayakfishingclub.net.
Saturday November 8th - Safe Light until noon - Central Florida Shad and Crappie Derby Tournament at Highbanks Marina, 488 W Highbanks Rd, Debary, Florida 32713. This tournament is free for anglers with a 100.00 cash prize for the largest crappie at the live weight in at 12 noon. To pre register call Highbanks Marina at 386-668-2350 or register on site the day of the event.
Saturday November 15th - 5:30 pm - Anglers for Conservation's Protect Our Waters Fund Raising event benefiting the Indian River Lagoon and other critical marine habitat. The event will be held at Heritage Isles Clubhouse, 6800 Legacy Blvd. Viera, Florida. Visit Anglers For Conservation.org for tickets and more information.
Saturday November 22nd - AFC Gumbo Wars held at Fish on Fire Restaurant, 7937 Daetwyler Drive, Orlando, Florida 32812. Come out and enjoy all the gumbo you can eat for just 10 dollars and all proceeds benefit Anglers for Conservation Orlando and other youth and children fishing programs in Orlando. For more details go to the Gumbo Wars Facebook page.
Tuesday November 25th - 7pm - Florida Fly Fishing Association Meeting -
at Kay's Bar-B-Q on State Road 520, Cocoa Florida. The event topic is 'Fly Fishing the American Shad Run" presented by Captain Tom Van Horn of Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters. For more information on this event contact Captain Tom Van Horn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 2014 Fishing Highlights
With the exception of a few less gray hairs, I welcome the arrival of fall and the changing seasons brought forth by falling temperatures on the Indian River Lagoon Coast of Florida. The cool crisp morning air in my lungs and on my cheeks is a refreshing change from our hot and humid summer.
As the sun rises and sets further to the south, both anglers and game fish celebrate the tail end of the bait run; gathering in the inlet passes on the falling tides to fulfill their natural gratifications, one of indulgence, the other contentment. As the steady migration of mullet, pilchards, threadfin herring, and other baitfish pack into the IRL's inlets, an overabundance of hungry gamefish lay in waiting. When tide is right, the inlets explode in a flurry of feeding gamefish, fleeing baitfish, and aggressive anglers.
Although November is notorious for greeting us with howling easterly winds as our first significant cold fronts pass, fishing in and around the inlets will remain outstanding until water temperature drop below 70 degrees. In the inlets of Ponce De Leon, Port Canaveral and Sebastian, snook fishing will remain excellent during low light periods and at night as the remaining baitfish traveling down the beach are forced in close to the jetties and other structure with the best action occurring during slack tidal periods, especially the end of high tide. During these periods hungry gamefish take advantage of slow currents and feed heavily. As the tide begins to fall, gamefish move into their ambush locations to finish off their frenzy. Breeder Redfish, jack crevalle, bluefish, ladyfish, Spanish mackerel, sharks, and tarpon all share in the fury, so step up your tackle size and hold on.
My favored technique is to cast net live mullet, and drift them through the passes on a sliding sinker rig. Look for areas of feeding activity, birds diving and fish busting, and adjust the size of your weight based on current. The rig I use starts out with a Daiichi Bleeding Bait circle hook proportionate to your bait size to allow a natural swimming appearance. In simple terms, small bait small hook, large bait large hook. Next, I attach a 30-inch section of 30 to 40 pound test fluorocarbon leader to a 20-pound test braided mainline. If large tarpon are your target, add 18-inches of 80-pound test tippet. Before I tie on my hook, I slide a slip sinker on to the leader, then attach the hook, and finish the rig off by using a split shot located between the barrel sinker and the hook adjusted to keep the weight off of the hook. As I drift through the passes, I like to cast parallel to my drift with just enough weight to keep the bait in the feeding zone, and increase the barrel sinker size as the current picks up. Additionally, as we near the end of November and finger mullet diminish, switch to pinfish on pigfish as bait. Finally and most important, pass fishing in November can be dangerous, so as I drift through the inlet, I keep the helm manned with my engine running, keeping a close eye on boat traffic and sea conditions, and always be prepared for evasive action if needed.
As the first significant cold front passes and surf temperatures reach the 68-degree mark, flounder slide into the inlets on their annual spawning migration out to sea. The exodus usually begins with the arrival of the smaller 1 to 3-poung gulf flounder (three spot), which are later joined by the doormat size 2 to 14-pound southern flounder. Many anglers prefer to anchor up and fish live finfish on the bottom, but I favor drifting the lagoon side of the passes bouncing a DOA ¼ ounce jig and DOA Paddle Tail tipped with a shrimp on the bottom. I've also learned adding the element of sound to my jig by inserting a Woodie's Rattle Capsule improves my catch. This vertical jigging technique allows me to cover more area and catch a wider assortment of species. Likewise, as lagoon temperatures cool, pompano are another likely target as they congregate on the lagoon side of the passes before moving out to their winter haunts along the beaches to feed on their favorite winter food sand fleas (mole crabs).
Cobia and tripletail fishing can be very good this time of year depending on ocean temperatures (71 to 74 degrees is best) and winter weather conditions. To target them, head east out of Port Canaveral or Sebastian Inlet looking for rips, sargassum and flotsam pushed in by the easterly fetch. Once you have located the floating structure, work the rip with the sun to your back looking for fish suspended underneath, and catch then on spinning tackle or fly, or a live jumbo shrimp on a jig.
Inside the lagoons, falling water levels and cleaner conditions will facilitate increased sight fishing prospects for both redfish and sea trout. On warner days, focus your attention on shallow flats and shoals, and if the chill sets in and water temperature drop, work the deeper edges a little deeper and slower. Lastly, inshore species are in a transitional feeding period so consider switching from a finfish presentation to one of shrimp or crab.
As always, if you have any questions or need more information, please contact me.
Good luck and good fishing,
Captain Tom Van Horn
Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
407-416-1187 on the water
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