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East Central Florida Report

St. Marys River to Jupiter Inlet

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East Central Florida Report

Postby Capt. Chris » Sat Sep 09, 2006 4:35 pm

Last Sunday the seas had calmed after having been roughed up by a tropical depression. Paul Huffman joined me for what we hoped would be a tarpon and kingfish catching adventure out of Ponce Inlet in New Smyrna Beach. Although we had perfect weather, the fish were nowhere to be found. We covered about forty miles of ocean and saw neither gamefish nor baitfish schools. We never even put a line in the water.Tuesday, I went to both Sykes Creek and the Banana River to search for tarpon. Although there was clean water and baitfish, the bigger tarpon were nowhere to be found. I did find some smaller tarpon and had several bites but none were landed. While fishing along some mangrove shorelines for the tarpon, I did catch several redfish, a trout, ladyfish, and a black drum all on a rootbeer DOA TerrorEyz and a Tiny TerrorEyz in the same color.

Wednesday, it was back to the Mosquito Lagoon to look for some fish for an upcoming charter. The morning began with some ominous clouds and wind making sight fishing difficult. I ducked into a secluded spot and landed two juvenile tarpon on the Tiny TerrorEyz. A short time later, I was able to find some slot sized redfish along the leeward shoreline. After trying several lures which were totally ignored, I moved on to look for some more cooperative fish. The skies cleared and the wind calmed by mid morning. As the weather improved, so did the fishing. During the next several hours, I caught five reds and five trout. All the fish were located in clean grass flats less than two feet deep with an abundance of mullet. A gold DOA Baitbuster, a gold Capt. Joe's shredder, and a gold DOA CAL jerkbait accounted for all the fish.

Thursday turned out to be a day I will not soon forget. After a fish less morning checking several spots in the north Indian River, I went back to Mosquito Lagoon to see if the redfish were still in the same spot as the previous day. After finding that they were, I left to look for some more. My next spot held some upper and over slot redfish. As I was getting out my flyrod, I saw a huge tail sticking up out of the two feet of water I was in. The fish was cruising slowly towards the boat. To my surprise, it was a tarpon in the 100 lb class far from any deep water. With a 7wt flyrod and 15lb bite tippet, I didn't even bother casting at the beast. I did, however, get out my bigger rod I keep on board during tarpon season just in case an opportunity presents itself. I watched the tarpon as it cruised the flat, occasionally stopping to demolish a baitfish. To my delight, the fish decided to make a u-turn and began swimming back in my direction. I quickly picked up my bigger rod rigged with a DOA Baitbuster and 50lb leader. I cast it out in front of the fish and kept it moving so that it was just in front of its face. The tarpon tracked the lure until it was less than five feet from the boat. Just as I was about to give up hope of getting a bite, I watched as it opened its mouth and engulfed the small mullet imitation. Within the next 15 seconds, the huge fish stripped almost all of the line from my reel. With no deep water around, all the fish could do was make run after run. I was able to get the fish boatside and had the leader in the rodtip several times. As I was alone, I was unable to handle that fish without having to fight it to total exhaustion. I finally popped the leader leaving only a hook in the top lip and followed it for a while as it cruised away looking no worse for wear. This was, by far, the biggest fish I have ever caught in less than three feet of water.

Friday did not yield any spectacular catches and I was again disappointed that the space shuttle launch was canceled when I would have had a spectacular view. I did, however, have an enjoyable day fishing the Mosquito Lagoon with the always entertaining Capt. Joe Hebert. We saw a few tarpon in the morning but got none to bite. We saw even more redfish but only caught two. Most of the reds we saw were buried in the grass and would run off when we got near. They clearly had no interest in feeding. It could have been the full moon or the five degree drop in water temperature from the four inches of rain that fell there Thursday afternoon. Capt. Joe caught several trout using his shad tail and I caught one using his chartreuse Beavertail lure. A pearl jerkbait accounted for my only red.

The flats of all three lagoons are filled with mullet of all sizes. Water levels are much higher than they were a month ago. Although this is a great time for topwater baits, much of the flats are covered in floating grass making topwater fishing impossible. I found some of the redfish to be very picky about what they would eat. If you are being met with refusals, try using a small bait. If I present a lure to three fish and none of them eat, I change it out.

Capt. Chris Myers
Central Florida Sight Fishing Charters
Capt. Chris
Cabin Boy
Cabin Boy
Posts: 44
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2006 8:18 pm
Location: Titusville

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