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Fishing Report for Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island & Port Canaveral

Capt. Ron Presley
May 1, 2006
Cocoa Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing Improving, get ready for May

Lots of mullet have finally made their presence know. They are still not thick as they often are this time of year, but there are many more than a week ago. The water clarity is decent but the wind still seems to want to blow hard most days. The most productive plastic this week was the RipTide mullet in what they call the silver mullet color. The electric chicken and nite glow continue to be close runner ups.

More Fishin' than Catchin'

Two outdoor writers joined me on the Pathfinder this past week for some Banana River fishing. Kyle and his good friend Ray came over to spend a couple of days in the local waters. Both are avid fishermen with most of their fishing done on the West Coast. They are also both members of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association and I was really anxious to give them something good to write about. It turned out to be one of those days when the fishing was really tough. The two anglers fished hard all morning in various locations up and down the river. We fished flats, we fished structure, and we fished boat docks, all without much success. The weather turned out to be beautiful with only a slight breeze to keep us cool. If fact it was the only really calm day I had fished in a while. By the end of the day, and after 100’s of accurate and deserving casts we caught only one redfish, a few jacks, and some small trout. We did a lot more fishing than catching.

California Dreamin'

The next day I had a family from California take a break from their Disney vacation for a day on the water. The group consisted of Mark and his wife Karen and their two sons, 7 year old Zack and 4 year old Nick. They had been checking out my website before the trip and the boys saw lots of pictures of redfish which they decided they wanted to catch. By the time they got to Florida the name redfish had somehow became redhead, and they kept saying they wanted to catch a redhead.

Nick hooked up first with a small trout on live shrimp. Later Zack got in on the game with a nice jack also on live shrimp. All the time Mark is working various plastic baits without success. I think he was getting worried that the boys were going to out fish him, but dedicated as he was, he just kept it up. We pulled in a few more jacks, Zack came up with a sheepshead and Mark got hot for a stretch of time on the trout. He had their number for a while, catching trout after trout on the silver mullet colored RipTide mullet. The best trout of the day was about 24 inches, nice by any standard.

And then, Zack hooked up with a “redhead” that bent his pole and pulled his drag. He was fighting the fish and yelling “I think I have a redhead” as the fish bent his pole back under the boat. It was all he could do to hang on. And sure enough, when we got the fish close enough to the boat to see what it was, it turned out to be the only redfish of the day. Then, a little more 7 year old excitement, “I caught a redhead, I caught a redhead,” he yelled as Karen clicked off some photos. With lots of manatees and dolphin thrown into the mix, the family from California enjoyed their visit to the Space Coast.

Devine Intervention

A couple of days later it was a boat full of pastors. Robert, who has fished with me many times before, brought two pastors from his church, Chris and Ryan. Their church was hosting a pastor from Cuba who came along on the trip as well. Jordanis did not speak any English, but Ryan could interpret. The wind blew 15 to 20 from the NE all day long. There were not many places to hide. We decided to just settle in and fish live shrimp along some rocks and structure. Chris struck first with a nice jack on his live shrimp. Then, as we got everyone baited up and fishing I notice the novice Jordanis with his rod bent over and he was carefully reeling in his first fish ever on a spinning outfit. To every ones delight, he had managed to haul in a nice 23 inch redfish. A nice slot red for the dinner table for sure.

Weather conditions never did improve, but by the end of the day Ryan had added a nice 21 inch redfish, Chris caught two small snook, about 20 inches each so they went back. Chris also caught a couple of trout, one at 17 inches that went in the live well with the reds for dinner, and he added a ladyfish that we chunked up for bait.

After using up all our live shrimp we fished with frozen shrimp, cut mullet, and the cut ladyfish. Jordanis added two really big pinfish; they were about 14 and 16 inches long. Somewhere along the way, several mangrove snapper were also caught up to about 12 inches. It was a day of variety and fun.

Remember, May is the last month to keep a snook before the season closes on June 1 here on the Atlantic Coast and reopens on September 1. And for those of you on the West Coast, the snook season closes down May 1 and reopens September 1. The slot limit on snook is currently 26 to 34 but there is much discussion about changing that slot when we have to start using the “pinched tail” measurement on July 1st of 2006. The pinched tail measurement makes a fish longer, and some are not wanting to take more snook before they have an opportunity to have their first spawn. As for me, I could just vote to make snook catch and release only.

As always, you can visit my website at www.inshorefishingadventures.com to view pictures of the fish we catch. That’s what it’s all about. Good fishin’.

On a scheduling note, The Costal Angler Magazine Fishing & Boating Expo will be held on May 19 -21 in Melbourne Florida at the Melbourne Auditorium. Mark your calendars and come by the Florida Guides Association Booth and say hi. Let me show you some RipTide lures and how I rig them. Also, we will be holding a kids fishing clinic at the show on Saturday the 20th of May. Plan on bringing your kid or a friend’s kid to the clinic and get them hooked on fishing.

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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.

Contact Info:

Inshore Fishing Adventures
516 S. Plumosa St., #19
Merritt Island, FL 32952
Phone: 321-454-7285
Alt. Phone: 321-749-1787
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