Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast, December 2013
Capt. Tom Van Horn
November 30, 2013
Indian River Lagoon - Saltwater Fishing Report
Mosquito Creek Outdoors Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast, December 2013
By Captain Tom Van Horn
December's Events and Seminars:
Saturday, December 7, 2013 - 11:00 to 2:00 p.m., Free Crappie Rally at Boat Tree Marina Sanford, 4370 Carraway Place, Sanford, FL 32771, phone (407) 322-1610 www.boattreemarina.com . "Free Seminar" Instructed by Captain Tom Van Horn and Charlie McCullough, "Catching American Shad & Crappie". Event includes sponsor displays, giveaways and a raffle with all proceeds going to Anglers for Conservation (AFC), Hook Kids on Fishing Program.
Saturday, December 7th - Ocean Reef Festival 10 a. m. - 5 p. m., Pelican Beach Park, 1525 HWY A1A, Satellite Beach, Florida. For more details visit http://pureoceantv.com/archives/5869
Saturday, December 7th - 09:00 - 3:30 p.m., Renzetti Fly Fishing Fair, 800 Grissom Parkway, Titusville, Florida 32780. Mosquito Creek Outdoors will be at the Renzetti Fly Fishing Fair all day. Come by for a fun day with raffles, fly casting, tying demonstrations and meet the legends, Lefty Kreh, Bob Clouser, Flip Pallot and more. Visit www.renzetti.com for more details.
Tuesday, January 7th - 7 -9 p.m., Orlando Kayak Fishing Club Meeting in the Outback at Mosquito Creek Outdoors, 203 W. First Street, Apopka, Florida 32703. For more details visit www.orlandokayakfishingclub.com
Wednesday, January 8th - 7 - 9 p.m., Central Florida's Bass Anglers Club Meeting in the Outback at Mosquito Creek Outdoors, 203 W. First Street, Apopka, Florida 32703. For more details visit www.mosquitocreek.com
Thursday, January 16, 2014 - Free Shad and Crappie Seminar at Mosquito Creek Outdoors, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. "Free Seminars" by Coastal Angler Magazine's Charlie McCullough and Anglers for Conservation's CaptainsTom Van Horn and Chris Myers - learn what you need to know to catch shad and crappie in the Orlando area and see how easy it is to have fun on the water. Tips and techniques will include fly, casting, trolling, and wading for both shad and crappie.
Saturday, January 18th - C. A. Richardson's Flats Class - 9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p. m. in the Outback at Mosquito Creek Outback, 203 W First St., Apopka, Florida 32703. For only a $59 tuition fee! You'll receive 4.5 hours of professional instruction from Captain C.A. Richardson A premium lure package, 20 Tips from Flats Class (cheat sheet), snacks & beverages plus raffle prizes for select tackle. Don't miss your chance to "Learn what the Pros Know".
Saturday, February 1st - Hook Kids on Fishing Program's Train the Trainer Seminar, 10 a.m. -1 p.m. Come join the Orlando Chapter of Anglers for Conservation (AFC) to learn about becoming a volunteer for the 2014 Hook Kids on Fishing Programs. The AFC Orlando Chapter has five Hook Kids on Fishing Programs scheduled in 2014 and need your assistance. The event will be held in the Outback at Mosquito Creek Outdoors, 203 W. First Street, Apopka, Florida 32703 and lunch is catered by Fish on Fire.
Saturday, February 8, 2014 - Free Shad Rally at Lou Anne's Bait House in Geneva, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., on Hwy 46 in Geneva next to C.S. Lee Boat Ramp and Jolly Gator Fish Camp. "Free Seminar" instructed by Captains Tom Van Horn, and Chris Myers and Charlie McCullough, "Shad Fishing Tactics" Event includes sponsor displays, giveaways and a raffle with all proceeds going to Anglers for conservation (AFC), Hook Kids on Fishing Program. Visit www.cfshadderby.com for details.
December's Fishing Forecast
As winter settles in on the northern two thirds of the country, many anglers can only dream about a location where stretching line is a year round activity. They long for a happy fish tailing in the shallows as the mid afternoon sun warms the flat. Such is the life of anglers in many parts of our country, and thank God we live on the Indian River Lagoon Coast of Florida where catching is a winter sport.
Like November, December is a month filled with outstanding fishing opportunities as long as the wind cooperates. The only significant difference is the impact cooler water temperatures has on the fishery, which is influenced by passing cold fronts. Fluctuations in water temperatures affect both fish behavior and angling tactics, so an understanding of where and how to fish can result is some memorable catches.
Near-shore in both Ponce De Leon and Sebastian inlets, look for redfish chasing bait on the surface during periods of slack tide, or feeding along the bottom during periods of falling tidal flow. At Ponce Inlet, work the bottom in deeper water along the channel ledges. These fish will hit artificial baits, but live pinfish, pigfish, and finger mullet are more productive. Remember, these are large oversized reds, so step up your tackle and handle and release them with extreme care.
Snook fishing will remain steady in the surf and inlets, with Sebastian Inlet proving to be the most productive location. It is best to target inlet snook at night by drifting live pigfish and pinfish through the channel, or fishing bucktail jigs or large swimming plugs from the rocks and catwalks. This type of angling can be quite challenging due to the number of anglers competing for the same fish and impatient and discourteous anglers, so please pay attention, be courteous, stay safe and enjoy the rewards. Also, remember snook season closest on December 15th, so if you plan on keeping one, you need to get busy.
Bluefish and Spanish Mackerel
Large schools of bluefish and Spanish mackerel will be feeding on glass minnows (bay anchovies) along the beaches and outside the Inlets. When targeting these fish watch for bird activity and work small jigs or spoons very fast to avoid cut offs. A small trace of wire can be added ahead of your bait to reduce cut offs, but in some cases the keen vision of these toothy fish will reduce the number of strikes. Also, if you see pelicans diving on bait and then holding their bills down in the water in an effort to strain the water from the smaller baitfish before swallowing, you are in the right spot.
The Flounder run should be kicking in as soon as the water cools off in both Port Canaveral and Sebastian inlets. Anglers utilizing either jigs or live finger mullet fished on the bottom will experiencing the best results. My favorite technique is to slow drift the Inlet passes, bouncing jigs like the 3" DOA Paddle Tail on the bottom. This tactic allows you to cover more ground, and once you have located a hot spot, you can anchor your boat and concentrate on the area.
Tripletail and Cobia
December is also the month when tripletail begins to show up on the Port Canaveral buoy line, and as the water cools the bite should improve. When water temperatures drop below 70 degrees, look for cobia on weed-lines, near-shore wrecks, buoys, and other structure. Once the water temperatures drop below 68 degrees, target cobia on the deeper wrecks and hard bottom where the water is a bit warmer.
Inshore Trout, Redfish and Black Drum
On the inshore flats, both redfish and sea trout will remain in the skinny water as long as
the water temperatures stay in the seventies. Fish in protected areas and sunny spots on
cooler days, and look for fish to be holding in sand spots (potholes) until the sun gets overhead. Now is also the time to target tailing black drum in the Banana Lagoon's No Motor Zone. If you've never seen black drum tailing, it is worth the paddle into the NMZ. Try fishing with natural baits like shrimp and crabs, or shrimp and crab imitation baits. Also, a well-presented black Clouser fly works well for all three species.
American Shad and Speckled Perch (Black Crappie)
Good numbers of speckled perch are showing up in the upper St Johns River south of Lake Harney. Fish structure or slow troll jigs with live minnows near the bottom. Also, look for the American shad to begin showing up around Christmas on their winter spawning run. The American shad is an incredible species to catch on light tackle and fly, and if you have never experienced this fishery, you are missing the boat.
In closing, I would like to thank all of you for your support this past year. 2013 was an incredible year of catching, with too many great memories to mention. Guiding anglers in Central Florida is aa incredable job as I'm always looking forward to our next adventure. Also, if you are looking for a special gift for the outdoor enthusiast in your life, contact me about a charter gift certificate.
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!
More Fishing Reports: