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Fishing Report for Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island & Port Canaveral

Capt. Ron Presley
July 27, 2006
Cocoa Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report

Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island Fishing Report

Summer Fishing

Summer patterns continue to rule the day. Try to fish early with top water lures in shallow water and move out deeper as the day goes on. The redfish have been particularly hard to locate and when you do they have been spooky. You have to use stealth techniques to get close. The mullet continue to be present on the flats but just like I said in the last report, they have not been in the same place, they keep moving around. So do you scouting or talk to fishing buddies who have been out there. It may save you some time in locating the areas holding bait.

One client this week was from Connecticut. Dusty was accompanied by his wife as official photographer but non-angler. Dusty caught several nice jacks, one bluefish, and some small trout. Most of the fish came on the 3 inch Rip Tide Mullet. Best colors were glow, electric chicken, and new penny. Since Dusty and his wife get to Florida fairly often, he wanted to learn more about the techniques we use for Lt. Tackle, Saltwater fishing.

On another day I joined my good friend and fellow guide Capt. Terry Lamielle in his home waters around the Indian River north of Sebastian Inlet. He had what turned out to be a seven angler charter and needed another boat. I don’t fish those waters a lot, but always enjoy the experience. Although we didn’t catch any that day, the snook are usually a little more plentiful down there than around Cocoa Beach. But we were not looking for snook on this trip; the charter was interested in Tarpon. We first stopped at a sunken island to catch a few ladyfish for cut bait and then proceeded to the mouth of a creek to look for the tarpon. They were there, rolling and making their presence known. Problem was they just didn’t want to eat – not artificial baits or the cut bait. We did see one tarpon jumped by another angler not in our party, but that was about it. We returned to the sunken islands to finish the day were we caught ladyfish, sea trout, bluefish, and believe it or not had a 4 foot shark buste a Yo Zuri 3D minnow. He didn’t get hooked up but caused a bit of excitement in the foot and a half deep water.

The next trip was back in the Banana River with Roger and his daughter Tiffany and boy friend Justin. Justin was a determined angler and never let up all day long. It was another relatively slow day but we managed to put a couple nice trout, and more smaller ones, bluefish, and jacks in the boat. All were released. Once again the 3 inch Rip Tide Mullet in various colors was the bait of choice. Most of the fish came from shallow flats with glass minnows or mullet nearby.

Finally, an early morning trip on the Banana River included host Robert and his friend Steve. Steve brought his son Ryan along too. We began the morning on a perfectly calm river throwing Zara Spooks for some top water action. The action we got, but not a single hookup. Several nice early morning top water strikes got our adrenalin flowing but to no avail. We switched over to the Rip Tide Mullet and soon put several fish in the boat. When that bite slowed we switched to live shrimp and added some more fish. When the day was done we had caught jacks, ladyfish, sea trout, and snapper. One snapper went about 2 pounds, a nice fat specimen. The crew left with a cooler full of fish and a fish fry on the agenda for the evening.

I guess I should mention the just-for-fun trip I took to Port St. Lucie. Capt. Chris Myers and his wife make an annual trip to the inlet and surrounding area. Chris invited me to join them for a days fishing. After using a sabiki rig to fill the live well with “greenies” along the beach we headed north to the boils outside the St. Lucie Power Plant. Chris had also picked up a few crabs to use on the permit that frequent the plant. When we got there we found an unexpected change in the water temperature. Previous days fishing reports had been very good for permit, tarpon, and kings - we were disappointed to say the least when we found a cold water upwelling had dropped the water temperatures severely. And, the bite was off. We saw a few rolling tarpon but never really got a decent shot at them. We headed back south of the inlet where the water was much clearer and a little warmer. Slow trolling the greenies produced a couple of bluefish and several false albacore (little tunny). We moved in to the jetty when the tide began to come out and Julie picked up a nice snook.

Kids Clinic

For those of you in the Merritt Island area, the next Costal Angler Magazine’s Hook Kids on Fishing clinic will be held on August 26th at Kelly Park on the Banana River. The fun begins at 9:00 and last until 11:00. Co-sponsored by the Florida Guides Association, Bass Pro Shops, Brevard Parks and Recreation, and Fish Florida it promises to be a great event for kids 6 to 16. Call Parks and Recreation at 321-633-1874 to register.

Fish Florida has provided a grant of 50 rods and reels to be given to the kids at the clinic. If you are not familiar with Fish Florida you should visit their website at http://www.ffra.org . What you will find is that they receive the funds from the sale of Fish Florida License Plates, the one with the sailfish on it. Then, those funds are use to provide grants such as the one we received for out next clinic. So, if you have not already purchased a specialty license plate you might give this one some thought, all the proceeds go to educate kids about angling and conservation. Read the quote below from their website.

Fish Florida has been helping kids fish since 1998. You can help, too! For every license plate sold, Fish Florida receives $22.00. These funds are used to buy fishing rods and reels for kids and provide family-oriented fishing activities. Anglers and others purchased 14,486 Fish Florida license plates in 2005. Out of Florida's 100 specialty license plates, we finished in 30th place! It's a great start for a plate that has only been on sale since March 2004. THANK YOU!

Don’t Forget the Rule Change on Measurement of Fish

Well, July 1st has come and gone and you now have to use the pinched tail method of measuring fish. Your fish will have to be measured with the mouth closed and the tail pinched together. The measurement is then from the snout to the end of the pinched tail. You also have to have your tape flat on a surface; you can’t follow the contour of the fish. Fish and Wildlife refer to this a “total length” measurement. For more information, you can visit www.myfwc.com

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’.

Capt. Ron Presley


Phone 321-454-7285


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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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