Captain Ron's Fishing Reports (April)
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Cocoa Beach and Merritt Island, April 2006

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.

Notice

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.

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.

Still Waiting On Those Mullet 

The wind still wants to blow us off the water almost every day. Not that necessarily bothers the fish, but it does make for less comfortable (and easy) fishing). I can always put up with it if the fish are biting but hate it when they aren’t. RipTide 3 inch plastic mullet continue to be top producers in the Banana River even though the mullet run does not appear to have started. It's got to be any day now.  

A father son team from North Carolina fished the RipTides successfully last week catching redfish and lots of jacks. The wind blew and tried to make it difficult, but neither Doug nor his son Steven would be deterred. Doug and Steven were both good anglers and managed to keep their pole bent much of the day. I can’t stress how important it is to make good casts if you want to increase your catch ratio. If you can’t be on the water everyday, you can still practice for a few minutes in the back yard before you come fishing. I like to use a hula hoop and place it at different ranges to practice casting. The last place you want to practice is when you’re fishing, so get to it – get out there and hone those casting skills. Doug and Steven are perfect examples of anglers who came ready to fish, not practice and they caught fish.  

On another day I had two father son teams, this group from Virginia. Andy and Darren brought their sons – Logan and Joey. Once again, we threw a lot of RipTide mullet at the fish on this day. One of the first hookups was Darren with a nice snook on an electric chicken colored plastic mullet. The fish was a little short at 22 inches, but Darren’s first snook. I joke with him that he had the hard part of a Banana River slam. All he needed now was a redfish and a spotted sea trout.   

We continued fishing the plastics with everyone catching fish. By the end of the day we had caught redfish, spotted sea trout, snook, bluefish, and jack Crevalle. Both boys, Logan and Joey enjoyed pulling in those 4 to 5 pound jacks. I think they were getting hooked on fishing! Oh yea, about the slam – Darren did manage to add a nice sea trout and redfish to his total to complete the slam. Congratulations Darren – job well done. 

Finally I made a trip to Mosquito Lagoon to check out the conditions there. I still can’t believe we are not seeing the mullet near Cocoa Beach and Merritt Island in the Banana River, because they are everywhere at Mosquito Lagoon. My good friend and fellow guide Capt. Chris Myers invited me up on a prospecting trip and I eagerly accepted. I don’t fish the lagoon much and was anxious to return. As usual lately, we were greeted with an early morning wind after a long drive to the ramp. If you are not aware, the road is closed in Titusville that would normally take you to Haulover Canal and other ramps on the lagoon.  

Anyway, we ventured out to an area where Chris had spotted some large reds earlier in the week. The wind conditions and cloudy skies made sight fishing rather difficult. We didn’t spot the fish we were hoping for. So, we moved on, prospecting various flats. Chris picked up a nice slot-sized red on a plastic crab and I caught a nice trout on a RipTide mullet (glow). A little later in the morning, the skies appeared to be clearing with the clouds blowing out over the ocean. Both Chris and I commented that maybe it would clear and improve the sight fishing conditions. As it became apparent that conditions were improving, Chris decided to return to the “big fish” area. It wasn’t long until he had them spotted. The skies had cleared and even the wind had died to reasonable speeds. We had stopped earlier and caught a few pinfish to use on the big reds. Chris took his scissors and trimmed the fins and cut off about half the tail and pinned the lively pinfish to a circle hook. He handed the pole to me and got back up on the platform to move us quietly closer. Then the first big red showed himself, then another – and another. I cast the doomed pinfish beyond the first fish where it settled in among several others. The adrenalin began pumping as the jittery pinfish was inhaled by a feisty red. I let the fish eat for a short count and tightened the line to set the circle hook in its intended target.

A few minutes later I guided the redfish into a “sling” created and constructed by Chris to lift these big redfish from the water without injury. With poles on each side and mesh net in-between, the sling worked perfectly. Chris lifted the fish to the boat, hooked his scales to the sling and found the fish weighed in at 18 pounds. We took a couple of pictures, resuscitated the red and returned him safely to the water. We saw the big fish a couple more times but could not get them to eat again.  

We moved to some other flats and caught a few more slot sized reds and a couple of trout. There were a lot of reds on the shallow flats and the water was very clear. Wind conditions began to worsen again and we decided to call it a day, and a great day it was. If you want to experience some of those Mosquito Lagoon redfish, just give Capt. Chris a call at 321-229-2848 or email him at info@floridafishinglessons.com. 

Mosquito Lagoon (I am repeating this one final time since it is important that all mosquito lagoon anglers see it.)

For those of you who fish Mosquito Lagoon, you need to be aware that ALL anglers must posses a current signed Refuge Sports Fishing Permit at all times while fishing in the National Wildlife Refuge. The permits are free, and they are self-issued. All you have to do is pick up a brochure and fill out the permit and sign it. The whole idea is that by having the permit, you will have no excuse for not understanding the various regulations related to The National Wildlife Refuge because they are printed on the brochure. To obtain information on where you can pickup a brochure and fill out your permit, call the Refuge Headquarters at 321-861-0667 between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Get yours soon, read up on the regulations, and have fun fishing.  

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.

April Fools Day on the Indian River - It was the fish that where in for a foolin' on this day. As much as I like to avoid the lagoon on weekends, I made an exception this day to take some friends fishing. I keep my Pathfinder at Destination Bound Marine Transport in their boat yard. The company hauls all the Pathfinders, Hewes, and Mavericks for the Maverick Boat Company to the various dealers who sell the boats. In fact, Destination Bound can haul your boat if you need a lift, to almost anywhere in the continental U.S.  At any rate, Tom, the owner, mentioned that some of his drivers would like to go fishing so we planned an afternoon trip on April Fools day. Ed, Jeremy, and Cliff  met me at the Destination Bound facility, we hooked up the boat and headed for the water. Leaving out of Lee Winner Park in Cocoa about 2:00 we fished one spot without success before moving north along the West shore. We found some small trout and some nice ladyfish willing to eat our RipTide 3" mullet. The glow color seemed to be popular but we also caught fish on the electric chicken.

After playing with the ladies and the trout for a while we decided to motor on down to the power plants. This was actually the first day you could enter inside the buoys that mark the manatee zone in the winter. In fact, the zone inside the buoys is off limits to boats  from November 15th to March 31st. We motored in to the first plant and Ed almost immediately hooked a nice 21 inch spotted sea trout. We hooked up a few small ladyfish in this same area. Then we moved on to the other plant were, I think it was Jeremy or Cliff that hooked up a nice fish that just crunched the plastic mullet. Turned out to be about a 4-5 pound Jack Crevalle. Over the next hour of so it was fairly constant action with the big jacks on a feeding frenzy and everyone in the boat was catching their share. We kind of lost track of how many we caught, but it was a pole-bending, drag screaming kind of day. Good friends, good fishermen, cooperative fish. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

Variety Continues

All the fishing trips over the last week seemed to have a lot in common. Lots of wind, a little better water clarity, and a variety of fish - all were experienced this week. Everything from redfish to snook, jacks to ladyfish, there was something to be caught most every day.  

The best producing lure of the week was the 3 inch RipTide mullet. I have been fishing these lure a lot lately and they are making believers out of my clients. The overall favorite color has been the glow color. A close second is the electric chicken. These lures have been responsible for putting redfish, snook, sea trout, ladyfish, bluefish, and jack Crevalle in the boat on recent trips. Easy to rig and easy to fish, I can’t wait until the really good trout bite gets started because these lures are going to fill the boat. 

The water has been clearing up from the long term dinginess we have experienced over the winter. I think that alone is responsible for putting more trout in the boat – plus it’s just time for the trout bite to begin anyway. The next few weeks should be hot. Winds have been a factor on most days although occasionally we would experience a light wind day.  

A father son team from up north, the Hoopers, put a ton of fish in the boat on one early morning trip. Father Dean and son Andy (I hope that is the right name) were taking a day off from baseball. Andy is playing on a minor league team and working out in Florida. We ran upon a huge school of Indian River Jacks just outside the boat ramp and had continuous action for a couple of hours. We finally decided to leave em’ and traveled south out of Lee Winner Park. We found a few trout willing to take the RipTide mullet and also added a few ladyfish.  

On another trip Wayne and Russell came over from Wildwood Florida to experience some East Coast fishing. Wayne’s wife had given him the trip as a Christmas present and friend Russell was designated driver. Wayne hooked up early on a nice snook. He had thrown one of those RipTide mullet up in a rocky corner when the rod bent down. He had the fish long enough for us to identify him, but then, as those snook will do, cut through the leader and it was gone. Definitely looked like a keeper. Minutes later Russell hooked up in the same rocky area and boated a short, about 20 inch, snook. The remainder of the day included some dock fishing which produced sea trout and redfish.  

The next trip was a group from Michigan. Jim and Travis, and Travis’s 2 boys made up the angling crew. The variety continued, with everyone catching some fish. Today, most of the fish came on the same old RipTide 3 inch mullet (Why give up a good thing) but we did stop long enough to do some bait fishing as well. At days end we had caught jacks, redfish, trout, bluefish, and even a black drum to add to the variety. 

None of the trips this week gave us any bragging rights on big fish, but given the variety and numbers coming to the boat it just speaks well to the next few weeks. The mullet run is still in the future and if it will just get going, so will the fishing. I am expecting some really super fishing on the Indian and Banana River this spring. That’s what it’s all about. Good fishin’. 

Mosquito Lagoon (I am repeating this from last week since it is important that all mosquito lagoon anglers see it.) 

For those of you who fish Mosquito Lagoon, you need to be aware that ALL anglers must posses a current signed Refuge Sports Fishing Permit at all times while fishing in the National Wildlife Refuge. The permits are free, and they are self-issued. All you have to do is pick up a brochure and fill out the permit and sign it. The whole idea is that by having the permit, you will have no excuse for not understanding the various regulations related to The National Wildlife Refuge because they are printed on the brochure. To obtain information on where you can pickup a brochure and fill out your permit, call the Refuge Headquarters at 321-861-0667 between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Get yours soon, read up on the regulations, and have fun fishing.  

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.

Reds, Trout, Snook, Jacks, and Bluefish

Cobia are still on my mind, but haven’t had an opportunity to get out again. Best conditions require relatively calm seas and lots of sunshine. On days I could go, these conditions were not present. However getting out on the river has been a little easier.

On a recent trip out of Kelly Park I hosted Dave and Bill from New Hampshire for a half-day of fishing on a rain threatening day. The weather man was predicting afternoon showers, but Dave and Bill wanted to take off after a morning business meeting and bend their rods before heading back north to New Hampshire. We ignored the weather man and set out to catch some fish.

The first couple of hours were fine, and we found a couple schools of jacks to entertain us. They were hitting 3 inch Rip Tide Mullet in the copper penny color best, but would also take the electric chicken and white. We also picked up a nice trout on the white Rip Tide Mullet.  

The really good news was the water was much clearer than it has been for a while. Still no sign of the Spring mullet run though - hardly any bait at all was sighted. Nevertheless, the clearer water was a welcome sight. After the first couple of hours produced trout, bluefish (also on Rip Tide copper penny 3 inch mullet) and a boat load of jacks up to 5 pounds, we decided to venture further south, hoping not to get wet.  

We ended up fishing some 2 to 4 foot water where reds had been present a week or so ago. We baited up with live shrimp this time and began to hook small (17 ½ inch) reds. The rain finally began and we got a little wet. During the rain a hungry snook decided to eat one of the live shrimp to add another variety to the days catch. So, we then had an East Coast Slam in the boat. That is the first snook I have seen this spring, and I am hoping there are a lot more to come.  

The rain began to get a little harder and we decided to head for the ramp. We only got in a little more than 3 hours but it was a very productive time. In the end, we did get wet, but we had caught Redfish, Sea Trout, Snook, Bluefish, and Jacks. Not bad for a short afternoon trip.  

Mosquito Lagoon 

For those of you who fish Mosquito Lagoon, you need to be aware that ALL anglers must posses a current signed Refuge Sports Fishing Permit at all times while fishing in the National Wildlife Refuge. The permits are free, and they are self-issued. All you have to do is pick up a brochure and fill out the permit and sign it. The whole idea is that by having the permit, you will have no excuse for not understanding the various regulations related to The National Wildlife Refuge because they are printed on the brochure. To obtain information on where you can pickup a brochure and fill out your permit, call the Refuge Headquarters at 321-861-0667 between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Get yours soon, read up on the regulations, and have fun fishing.  

Banana River April 2005 The wind continues to be a major factor in fishing as April comes to an end. The last week of the month has produced a variety of fish including Jack Creavalle, Flounder, Bluefish, Lady Fish, Redfish, and Sea Trout. Each day we seem to be looking for places to hide from the winds, and with much of the wind being from the south it can be difficult to do. The residential canals are one possibility and the leeward side of a causeway another. The flounder we have caught have come on CAL jig heads and a paddle tail plastic worked slowly on the bottom. Jacks have been willing to hit various lures including the CAL's and High Roller top waters. The Jacks have not been as aggressive as in the previous weeks and their size seems to be a bit smaller. With glass minnows by the millions and plenty of mullet, the fish have plenty to eat and it is important to be there when they are feeding. The fish can eat when they want to and the bite simply is not there all day long. The Ladyfish and Sea Trout are more likely to be in open water and sometimes the only decent fishing was very early before the winds ran us to cover.

Two out of the last three trips on the river have include kids. I always enjoy seeing them catch fish. When you take your own kids or someone else's, try to be sure they catch something. First, try to match them up with an outfit that matches their size. For most younger kids a Zebco 33 with a 5 1/2 to 6 foot rod will work just fine. Then, set them up with a live shrimp and it usually won't be long until they hook into something. This was the case on both recent trips. One trip was with Ron and his 6 year old son. They were visiting Florida from Michigan. The six year old was able to hook up with Sea Trout and Ladyfish on his first salt water excursion. 

On another trip Uncle Robert treated his brother Dan and Dan's son Parker to a fishing trip. As usual for this month, it started out with high winds and white caps. We boated slowly to a leeward side of a causeway to find some protection and started dipping live shrimp. When it is windy like this it is important to keep a tight line to stay in touch with your bait. The wind and waves will cause the line to sweep and lots of slack is created. If you do not keep the line tight, you will miss your fish as you try to set the hook and get nothing but slack. Anyway, we got the routine down we managed to hook up on a nice Jack and later a Ladyfish. We missed several other fish and had a break-off of a really nice fish, which of course we will never know what it was. Parker fought the Jack for quite a while before bringing it to the boat for pictures. The bite was slow and we decide to move. We crossed the main part of the river and sought cover in the barge canal where we picked up one more nice trout before calling it a day. Boy, am I ready for this wind to stop.

On a final note, if you read South Florida Sports Fishing Magazine I have an article in the recent issue on chunking for redfish. If you would like to read in detail about this great method of catching redfish be sure and take a look. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

 

Banana River April 2005 It just seems like the wind is one of the ingredients of fishing so far this month. Made a trip with friends Gary and Ronnie hoping to locate the tarpon that have been present lately. These juvenile fish are a perfect match for a 2500 reel and a medium action rod. Unfortunately we did not see a single tarpon on this trip. We caught redfish, trout, and jacks but the tarpon would allude us today. The lure of the day was a spoon. Gary boated the first redfish on a silver spoon and then added a couple more during the morning trip. He also caught several trout on the same silver spoon. One highlight of the day was Ronnie's first redfish. He caught his on a Capt. Miles gold spoon. With either color, silver or gold, you want to retrieve the spoon relatively slow. Make sure it does not spin and just try to dust the tops of the grass or other bottom. Let's face it, the spoon is the old standby when it comes to redfish.

The next day I fished with Rory and Brad. They had driven down from South Florida and spent the night for an early start and some Space Coast fishing. This was Friday, and if you remember it was windyyyy. The forecast was for 15 to 20 with gusts to 30. Are hope was to get a little fishing before the really high winds set in. We left the ramp at 6:00 am and the wind was already blowing hard. As we approached the causeway I spotted a pelican diving in the morning darkness below a light which marks the East side of the bridge. I handed Rory a gold spoon and Brad a CAL split tail in the , you guessed it, avocado with red flake. Rory immediately hooked up a small silver trout. Brad commented that he had a strike. With the wind already making it difficult to fish the open waters we did not stay long but Brad also hooked up to the same species, a silver trout. This variety of trout resembles the spotted sea trout, only without the spots. We hooked 4 or 5 before continuing on our way. It was nice to get that first fish in the boat in a quick fashion, even if they were only 10 to 12 inches.

After quite a bit of fishing with various artificials baits without success we decide to try some live shrimp. Rory suspended a live one on a Cajun Thunder float while Brad soaked one on the bottom. The first fish came on the float and turned out to be a small jack. Brad was consistently getting bites on the bottom, but had not hooked up yet when the Cajun Thunder went down and Rory set the hook on a nice 19 inch spotted sea trout. Actually the hook set itself as Rory just started reeling to take up the slack and let the red  Eagle Claw circle hook do its job. It did, it set perfectly in the corner of the trout's mouth. Brad picked up a small trout and then a small red before switching over to the float. They caught a couple more trout, the biggest being just longer than Rory's first trout by 1/2 inch at 19 1/2. These trout were fat and healthy that have come from  the river this week and they have been willing to bite on both bait and artificials.

The wind continued to blow and build. Since it was coming from the N.W. we decided to try a spot on the West side of the river where we would be protected from the wind. We fished some docks and open flats without success. With the wind slowly changing to the north we motored across the river to the thousand islands area of Cocoa Beach. We fished several different spots and caught some more small trout and redfish. No keepers. We lost a real nice fish without ever seeing what it was and also lost a flounder right at the boat. The wind continued to howl thru the palms and we decided to start back to Kelly Park where we had started the day. It was a long choppy ride with the north wind hitting us head on. We fished one other spot before returning to the ramp, but the winds were so high it made any fishing difficult at best and the bite seemed to be off. So, we called it a day and made it for the ramp. This was a day for die-hard fishermen, which both Rory and Brad were. Considering the conditions, we had a pretty good day. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

Banana River April 2005 Another windy start on an April day. Winds were blowing a 6:00 a.m. out of the S.E. at about 8 to 10. Not terrible, but we come to expect a few more calm mornings in April than we have experienced this year. At least the wind did not bother the trout bite. It was a morning of steady although not constant action on spotted sea trout. Fishing with one other angler, Jim, we managed together to boat 10 sea trout, all coming on DOA shrimp. I should remind you again just how slow you need to work this bait. Cast it out and let it sink. Then just lift up the tip of the rod to move the bait and let it fall again. Take up your slack as the bait falls in the water column. This method is deadly on trout if there are any around.

The great thing about this morning was that 9 of the 10 sea trout were in the legal 15 to 20 inch slot limit. The largest was 19 1/2, the smallest in the slot was about 16. One undersize trout at 14 inches was also boated. All these fish were "catch and release", so they are still out there for someone else to catch. Actually, when I told my wife about the days catch she ask, "Why didn't you bring a couple home?" She makes these great fish tacos, served with pineapple salsa, that are out of this world. Made me think maybe I should have kept a couple. In reality, I seldom do unless they have been gut hooked or other wised injured to the extent they would not survive. Of course this does not apply to my clients, who sometimes do want to keep some fish for the table. Nevertheless, today's catch all went back in the water. We took a few pictures just for proof, a couple of them are shown on the right. You can click on the picture to get a larger view. 

Keep in mind, all the trout today came on the same DOA glow shrimp in the 1/4 ounce size. And, along the way I managed to tempt a nice flounder with the glow shrimp as well. Add a couple of jacks that also ate the artificial shrimp and you see we had kind of a mixed bag. It would have been "mixed" a little more if the numerous redfish and tarpon that we saw but could not get to eat had just been willing. But they didn't. With the water continuing to clear up it is very exciting to see those roaming reds and tarpon around some of the docks on the river. They will eat sooner or later, I just hope I'm there when they do. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

Banana River April 2005 April has continued the windy conditions that were so prevalent in March. Even the early morning hours have been windy most of the week. The trout bite continues to improve with the favorite color of avocado with red flake. If you have read my reports before, you already know how much I like the CAL split tails or paddle tails in this particular color. The electric chicken color has also produced some fish. On the northern end of the river, the water, although clearer than I have seen it in a while, is still a little murky. I think this is why the dark silhouette produced by the avocado color continues to work well. The fish just pick it up better. I rig these tails on the CAL jig head, using 1/8 size when I can get enough distance with it, or 1/4 ounce when I want more distance, or just a deeper retrieve. These lures will catch about anything in the river. The other day, a six pound bluefish fell victim to a 1/4 ounce. Redfish, trout, jacks, even flounder have been taken on the same rig.

Shrimp are always a good bet for bait. They too will catch about anything that swims in the river. Sometimes you have to put up with the smaller fish a lot when using shrimp, but sooner or later a better fish will come along. When you are free-lining shrimp in a toss and retrieve presentation, I like to hook them shallow in the head, just under the horn. To keep them lively longer, be careful not to penetrate the little black dot which is the brain. If you are casting out and leaving the bait lay, such as you might for redfish, start the hook in the end of the tail and string the shrimp on just like you would a worm, making the tail bend around the hook until it comes out the bottom. This hides the hook more and makes it a little more difficult for the small fish to rob you. Regardless of how you hook them, shrimp are always going to be a great bait, evidence by the nice sheepshead in the picture.

The jack creavalle have continued to go wild. When fishing with Jeff and wife Beverly from Ohio last Thursday, we literally lost track of how many jacks we boated. They were hitting top water plugs like the High Roller "RipRoller" in the Rainbow Trout color, as well as the split tails from CAL. We also caught some on a Gambler curly tail in a grey color. The "RipRoller" is also a great lure for Redfish, Trout, Tarpon and Snook. I will be quite happy if the Jacks hang around for a while, they always provide some great rod bending action. Hopefully the water will continue to warm and the winds will die down so we can do some serious flats fishing under better conditions. Spring has sprung and there is no where to go but up as far as the fishing is concerned. That's What its all about. Good fishin'.