Mosquito Creek Outdoors Indian River Lagoon Fishing Forecast
Capt. Tom Van Horn
February 27, 2014
Indian River Lagoon - Saltwater Fishing Report
By Captain Tom Van Horn
Events and Seminars:
Saturday March 1, 2014 - Hook Kids on Fishing Program at the Apopka Wildlife Festival. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in conjunction with Birdapalooza at Magnolia Park, 2929 S. Binion Road, Apopka, Florida 32703. Visit www.birdapalooza.com for more details on this event.
Friday March 14, 2014 - Hook Kids on Program at Conrad Academy. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at Conrad Academy, 9580 Curry Ford Road, Orlando Florida, 32825
Saturday April 5, 2014 - Hook Kids on Fishing Program held in conjunction with the Mosquito Creek Outdoors Kids Fishing Day. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Mosquito Creek Outdoors, 170 South Washington Ave., Apopka, Florida 32703.
Saturday April 12, 2014 - Hook Kids on Fishing Program supporting the Kids Fishing Xtravaganza. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Lake X at the Kenneth Kirchman Foundation facilities, 7555 Old Melbourne Highway, Saint Cloud, Florida 34771
Saturday May 17, 2014 - Hook Kids on Fishing Program with the City of Casselberry's Fun Family Fishing Day. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Secret Lake Park, 200 North Triplet Lake Drive in Casselberry, Florida.
March's Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Outlook
Before I get started on my March forecast for the Indian River Lagoon Coast of Florida, I'm obliged to tell you about my unbelievable fishing experience last week. My adventure began several months ago when my good friend Steve Chapman from the Fishing Florida Radio Show asked if I would be interested in tagging along with them to the Bassmaster Classic in Birmingham. Of course, I juggled my busy schedule to attend under my media credentials and was rewarded with one of the most amazing fishing experiences of my life. As a member of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, the B.A.S.S. organization reached out by providing me with complete back stage access throughout the three day event, with the kicker for me being the opportunity to ride as a marshal on Day 1 with Central Florida's professional BASS angler Rich Howes. I've never seen such excitement and enthusiasm expressed by both fans and anglers in my life, and I can only hope that this opportunity is in the cards for me in the future.
After winning the 2003 Bassmaster Southern Open Championship on Lake Toho, this was Rich's first shot at in the Super Bowl of bass fishing and it was a blessing for me to sit beside him on Day 1 of the Classic. It was also my first experience skipping across the surface of Lake Guntersville at 70 plus miles per hour on a crisp 40 degree Alabama morning, and I must say I have a new founded respect and appreciation for what it takes to reach this level of the sport. From Oviedo Florida, Rich is a dedicated family man to his wife Nikki and daughter Nora as well as a successful Allstate Insurance agent. Rich has moved his fishing career to the highest limits off the heels of winning the 2013 Bassmaster Southern Open Championship on Lake Toho. The Bassmaster win follows a successful fishing career over the last few years. A few accomplishments include qualifying for the BFL Regional Championships for 8 years in a row, a runner up finish in 2007 Xtreme Team Florida Championship, a 1st place finish in the 2009 Xtreme One Man Florida Championship, a 1st place finish in the BASS Weekend Series 2012 Lake Kissimmee event, reigning 2012 Kissimmee Chamber Toho Blast Open Team Champion, and the 2013 Bassmaster Southern Open Lake Toho Champion.
Although Rich did not win the 2014 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Guntersville, reaching this level of the sport is a tremendous achievement in its self, and I'm sure we will see him there again in the near future. Starting on March 1st, look for the airing of the 2014 Bassmaster Classic on ESPN TV.
Spring has arrived, and fishing opportunities on the Indian River Lagoon coast have begun to heat up. Spring in Florida is not defined by any specific dates, but more so by temperature and weather patterns. I have also learned over the years to watch for subtle changes in the local flora which signal spring's arrival. These changes can be slight or quite dramatic, they're easy to recognize, and they correspond with the activities and migration patterns of fish. For example, I always watch for the blooms of my lavender Formosa azaleas as a signal of the beginning of the spring cobia run along the beaches and near-shore waters of the Space Coast. Another example is the fragrance of orange blossoms drifting across the Lagoon, which hint to the formation of redfish schools on the flats and beginning of the spring bait migration northward.
By the way, my azaleas are loaded buds, and some good catches of cobia have been reported offshore of Stuart and Sebastian. It won't be long before these fish arrive in the Port Canaveral area as long as the warmer weather pattern holds. Also look for tripletail hanging on flotsam, weeds, and around buoys, and for heavy weight jacks, oversized redfish, tarpon, and sharks shadowing bait pods near the beaches and inlets close to the end of the month.
As the days grow longer and the ocean begins its gradual warming phase, 67 to 68 degrees, the spring fishing bonanza on the Indian River Lagoon coast commences. Increasing water temperatures facilitate the progression of bait pods (menhaden and mullet) from the deeper waters into the near-shore waters bringing predators we love so much with them. Additionally, warmer waters will draw manta rays near-shore with cobia shadowing them. As always, weather, water clarity, and sea conditions will determine the number of fishable days we will experience in March. This is especially true for those of us who target deep-water species from skinny water boats.
Moving out into deeper water, the spring kingfish run is just around the corner, and it should hold solid for the next six months. Look for the kingfish to begin showing up on the near-shore reefs and wrecks around the middle of the month, and then move in close to shore following bait pods. Most anglers, including myself, prefer slow trolling live pogies, but spoons and frozen Spanish sardines dressed with king buster skirts will also work if live bait is hard to find.
Inshore, the water levels should be on the rise, and schools of slot size redfish have formed up ahead of schedule on the shallow flats, with groups of larger redfish holding along the deeper edges of bars. Also look for the larger sea trout to be holding in sand pockets on the skinny flats.
Last but not least, as the American shad run wanes on the St Johns River look for schooling bass to begin feeding on the menhaden in the confluence of the river at first light and dusk.
If you catch them right, these frenzies can produce assume catches of bass on top-water plugs. You have to be willing to get up early or to stay late to enjoy this experience, but it's well worth the effort. Also, as the river level begin rising, look for the larger catfish to move out of the big lakes to spawn in the swifter waters of the river.
In closing, please join me in sharing our passion for fishing with others by volunteering to teach kids to fish in your community.
As always, if you need information or have any questions, please contact me.
Good luck and good fishing,
Captain Tom Van Horn
Visit www.mosquitocreek.com for all of your outdoor equipment needs, it's where your adventure begins!
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