Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report May 18, 2015
Capt. Tom Van Horn
May 21, 2015
Indian River Lagoon - Saltwater Fishing Report
This Week's Fishing Report
On fishing adventures this past week we were greeted before sunrise with training bands of heavy rain pushing in from the southeast off of the Atlantic, remaining soggy for most of the day. As a result, water levels have increased some on the Lagoon making access to the shoreline a little easier for anglers, and that's where we found redfish, tarpon and sea trout feeding this week. As Lagoon water levels rise, redfish love to feed on shoreline crabs and minnows. Another noticeable change this week was the return of bay anchovies (glass minnow schools) with ladyfish, gafftop catfish and spotted sea trout pushing them up to the surface and terns and gulls working them from above. These schools are great fun fishing with top water plugs, but gang hooks make releasing these fish uninjured a challenge. When fishing these schools, I've found it easier to switch to a 3" DOA CAL paddle tail on a ¼ ounce jig. These jigs are effective and will catch just as many fish, but the single hook dose less damage to the released fish and will allow for more lure time in the water. The only challenge with using plastic lures this year is the increased numbers of toadies (puffer fish) which make short work of your plastic bait, so make sure you have an ample supply of plastics or switch to a hard bait or spoon. Also, please retain and recycle your damaged soft plastic baits, and please do not discard them into the lagoon.
This past week I had the pleasure of spending several days fishing with David Cook and his son DJ on the IRL, and we caught quantity and quality fish on both days. Our first trip was an afternoon charter where we found a very large school of glass minnows and we spent our first hour warming up on fast and furious ladyfish and sea trout action. Although, the sea trout feeding on these schools are normally small, I was surprised at the number of slot size trout brought to the boat. David and his son are from North Carolina, and they were impressed by both the numbers and size of our sea trout. Next, we moved into shallow water where we finished the evening catching larger sea trout on top water plugs.
On our second day, we launch at 3am and ran to the eastern shore of the lagoon and commenced to wearing out the sea trout on top water plugs in the early morning darkness and returning to the dock by 7am with 18 sea trout and one 30-inch redfish under our belts. Fishing in the darkness of early morning during the summer is something most anglers have not experienced, and they don't know what they are missing. Dawn is the most enjoyable and coolest time of the day, and there's something to be said about ending a great day of fishing with breakfast and a cup of coffee.
On another charter adventure I had the pleasure of fishing with father and son team Ken and Jeremy Brown from Central Florida and again we pushed away from the dock at 5 am only to be greeted by the fore mention deluge, over and over again throughout the morning. We spent the first 20 minutes seeking shelter under a bridge, and then said the heck with it and went fishing, rain or shine. For whatever reason both anglers had trouble sticking the fish as they busted top-water plugs, and the highlight of the morning was an aggressive school of 30-pound class tarpon that exploded on the plugs for a good 30 minutes, and neither Ken or Jeremy could keep one on for more than three jumps. It was unbelievable action with miserable results.
On the St Johns River, water levels are raising some. I bass fished this week with my good friends John and Mark, and we found that the menhaden schools have begun to spread out, but still managed to catch some nice bass of top-water plugs. After the bass bite slowed down, we switched gears focusing on catfish. For the next several hours we soaked bait, managing 11 nice catfish with John catching the largest channel cat in the 8 to 10 pound range. As water levels increase and current returns to the river, the larger catfish will begin moving up the river to spawn.
All in all it was a great week on the water, and the weather is shaping up for the holiday weekend, so please be safe on the water and wear your lifejackets and let's go fishing.
As always, if you have questions on need more information, please contact me.
Good luck and good fishing,
Captain Tom Van Horn
Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
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