Captain Ron's Fishing Reports (May)
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Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island Fishing Report, MAY 2006

RipTide Electric Chicken Continues to be Hot Lure

My good friend Cliff joined me for an early morning venture during the last open days of snook season. Remember, the snook season closes June 1 and does not reopen until September 1. If you have been fishing on the Gulf side, you know the season closed May 1 but the reopening is the same September 1 date. Cliff and I were on water by 4:30, fishing under the lights with the hopes of finding a snook or two. Bottom line, no snook. In fact it was a very slow day altogether. The only decent fish of the day was a nice 10 inch sea trout that fail prey to a RipTide 3 inch mullet in electric chicken. Cliff caught this fish after hundreds of accurate casts to points, rocky shore lines, docks, and bars. See the photo at the right, you can see the electric chicken still in the trout's mouth. It was one of those days where the fish had lock-jaw. We ran across Tom Williams, owner of Destination Bound Marine Transport on the river. He was having the same experience. Except for a school of jacks cruising the shore line under some docks, we did not find any concentration of fish on this day. Overall, I continue to have most of my success on the electric chicken, the nite glow, and the silver mullet colors.

My next trip included 4 anglers from Texas. Bob, Dennis, David, and John were all related in one way or another, either by blood or by marriage. At any rate they were all avid experienced anglers who as a group possessed many of the attributes I consider a plus for fishing.

Bob was highly experienced and cast with stunning accuracy. Bob probably caught the most fish and definitely the most variety. With his skills Bob boated sea trout, sand trout, mangrove snapper, bluefish, and jacks.

David had the patience of Jobe and would wait until that precise opportunity came before making his casts to a likely area. David was the first to put a limit of sea trout in the boat. David's patience paid off for him, as he probably caught more trout than anyone else.

John was the most persistent. I will guarantee you he had his bait in the water more times than anyone else. He stopped for nothing. Even when we would move in on an area to untangle someone from some structure, John would probe the surrounding area for another fish. John was rewarded for his persistence with the largest sea trout of the day, coming on, (I know you get tired of hearing this) a RipTide 3 inch mullet in the nite glow color.

Dennis proclaimed to be the least experienced of the group. However, I am reluctant to believe it. The thing about Dennis was his eagerness to learn! He had questions about various methods we were using and listened well to instructions. (Any guide loves this when an angler will actually listen to what he is saying and tries to perform accordingly.) Dennis’s reward – the only slot sized redfish of the day.

At the end of a very productive day they were all planning a fish fry at their time-share in Orlando.

The last thing I want to comment on with respect to this group is their ability to fish together. It is difficult to blind cast shore lines, docks and structure with four anglers in the boat. This group did it quite well. Anytime you are in this situation, the rules are simple. If you are the middle two anglers you must cast a right angles to the boat. The angler on the front fishes slightly ahead of the boat, and the angler in back can fish slightly behind the boat. Finally, just use common sense and respect for your everyone else and your entire fishing experience will be improved.

Thank about it – SKILL AND EXPERIENCE – PATIENCE – PERSISTENCE – WILLINGNESS TO LEARN. Add in the element of respect for your fellow anglers and the circle is closed. If you develop these attributes you to WILL be a better fisherman.

If you don’t have a RipTide dealer in your area, their online store is designed for you. Give it a visit and give the electric chicken, nite glow, and silver mullet color a try. You will find it online at www.culpritstore.com.

Rule Changes

Don’t forget, starting on July 1st you 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

HOT TROUT BITE CONTINUES

Ed traveled all the way from Canada to do a little Banana River Fishing. An excellent angler such as Ed expects to catch fish and that’s the way it should be. Always think positive and make the casts and you usually catch fish. On this trip Ed caught sea trout, bluefish, jack crevalle and mangrove snapper.

Ed limited out on trout up to 20 inches as he culled them along the way. But when we got to the dock at the end of the day he culled them again to only three by returning the biggest ones after a photo op and just keeping enough to eat while he was here visiting. We could all take a lesson from this conservation minded angler. Most of his trout came on the RipTide 4 inch mullet in electric chicken. All sizes of trout were willing to eat the RipTide today. There were more than twenty trout fooled by the RipTide’s today.

Early in the morning Ed had a nice snook slam a Captain Mikes top water lure. After a couple of jumps and right at the side of the boat the snook gave us a final aerial demonstration and shook the plug loose. A nice 3 pound bluefish also fell prey to Captain Mike’s top water. Later in the day we switch to live shrimp for a while and caught more trout, a couple of jacks and numerous mangrove snapper.

If you read my last report I had mentioned the new Blast Shrimp Flavored Fish Attractant that RipTide came out with. Today I tried it by spraying it on a 3 inch mullet and casting it out on the bottom. It was no time until a nice little trout picked it up and ran off with it. That’s right, just laying there on the bottom. Don’t take my word for it, try it.

All the while the weather was threatening as black clouds crossed overhead. We got sprinkled on a little, but nothing serious. We manage to get a half day in before the rains came a little heavier. Too me it seems like a long way to Canada, but Ed is already talking about coming back.

Weather Changes Everything

The next day, after a great trout bite with Ed, a cold front came through and changed everything.  I had another excellent angler on board with lots of saltwater experience. We left the dock early, around 6:00 in the cool air created by the front. The anticipation of another banner day of fishing was soon quelled as nothing seemed to work to produce a fish. The bite was off and George and I had to return to the dock without even having a photo opportunity. Sometimes I hate the phrase, but it is true. “That’s why they call it fishing not catching”.

A couple days later I was joined by Bill and Carol. They had fished with me a couple of times before and Carol wanted to catch a nice redfish. Since the last trip in the Banana River did not produce any good fish, I decided to take Bill and Carol on the Indian River. Turned out it wasn’t much better. We caught a lot of fish, but not the varieties we were looking for. By the end of the day we had logged catfish, mangrove snapper, whiting, pinfish, and spotted sea trout. Bill had a really nice 18 inch trout and lost one at the boat that was even bigger. Both trout came on a 3 inch Rip Tide mullet in the chartreuse color. The plastic bait was sprayed with the new shrimp flavored Blast fish attractant made by Rip Tide.

Final Notes

The Coastal Angler Fishing and Boating Expo in Melbourne was a great success. Thanks to those of you who came by the Florida Guides Association booth to say hi and talk about fishing. One visitor mentioned that he was looking for the silver mullet color that I have been having good luck with this spring and he could not find it. We checked a catalog and sure enough it wasn’t there. Turns out to be a new color and was not in the catalog yet. However, if you go online at www.culpritstore.com you will find it listed. If you don’t have a dealer in your area, this online store is designed for you. Give it a visit and give the silver mullet color a try.

Rule Changes

Don’t forget, starting on July 1st you 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

 Cocoa Beach and Merritt Island, May 2006

With a lot more mullet on the flats and channels, the trout bite has picked up considerably. It always happens this time of year when the spawn is on. Most of the fish have been coming on plastic mullet. The RipTide 3 inch or 4 inch model has been most productive. The favorite colors continue to be silver mullet and nite glow. Just like last year, the electric chicken is also a good color. Fish the plastics near the bottom and relatively slow. Retrieve them at a speed that will keep them swimming just off the bottom in 2 to 3 foot water around schools of mullet.

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.

If you are not producing strikes, just stop the retrieve occasionally and let it settle on the bottom and then twitch it up and continue the retrieve. Change colors as the day goes along to test out the patterns. There are lots of fish above the 20 inch slot, so don’t forget you can only keep one if you are keeping them at all.

I had several different anglers with good trout catches this week. Unfortunately in a couple of cases it was the old story of “the big one got away”. In one case we just did not coordinate the net and the landing very well. This is something you should not take for granted. Keep your concentration level high with the person holding the net simply placing it in the water as a target while the angler leads the fish to the net. Once the fish is above the net, raise the net and boat the fish. You can often loose a fish by making passes at him with the net.  

In the other case, a huge trout followed the RipTide Nite Glow right up to the boat and the strike occurred with only 6 or 7 feet of line between the angler and the fish. Wow, what a commotion! There is not much you can do about a situation like this, just hope your drag is not too tight and your rod limber enough to give the fish some play. In this case, the fish was there just long enough to give the angler a view of, in his own words, “the biggest trout I ever caught,” and he was gone. Like I said before, there is just not much you can do under these circumstances, it all happens so fast.

New Fish Attractant Spray

One angler, Berry, was experimenting with the new Blast Fish Attractant Spray that RipTide has formulated for their plastic lures. It is a specially formulated Shrimp-flavored spray that bonds to the plastic and releases a feeding stimulant for up to 30 minutes following application. Shortly after applying the Blast attractant he caught the two largest trout of the day. You might want to try it. Just go to their website at www.riptidelures.com to check it out.

So, for this week, cousins Jim and Bob, and father son team Berry and Mike, the trout bite was hot on the Banana River. They have all indicated they were ready to come back for some more.

 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’.

Banana River May 2005 I met Paul and Rhonda Sue at the ramp at 6:00 am. We were greeted by a cool northeast wind and a pretty good chop on the water. Fished one area where some snook had been holding without a hookup. Paul got a couple of bumps on a High Roller Rip Roller but the fish just did not seem to be hungry enough to slam it. Rhonda got a couple of hits on the old reliable, but again, no hookup. Paul switched over to a CAL paddle tail in electric chicken and quickly started getting strikes. One nice fish finally pulled off but it wasn't long until his pole was bent over again and he was pulling back. Turned out to be about a four pound Jack. Paul hooked several more on the same electric chicken color and Rhonda Sue added a Jack of her own.

The wind actually died down a little and we headed for the flat that we had intended to fish earlier but decided not to because of the wind. We got a decent drift from East to West, using the trolling motor occasionally to keep us on track. Rhonda Sue and Paul both picked up numerous trout on the drift, but the largest was probably only about 16 inches. We did not spot the redfish that had been in the area earlier in the week.

Now, we motored South to a small spoil island that had been producing nice trout over the last couple of weeks. Same result. Several trout, but nothing to brag about. Now the bite was mixed on the electric chicken color and the avocado with red flake.

Time to move again. We decided to go fish some docks where redfish, tarpon, and trout had been holding. We fished several, picking up a few small trout. Then I ask Paul about skipping some lures under the docks. He said he never had really fished that way, although he had seen Capt. Blair Wiggins do it on his Addictive Fishing Television Show. By the way, Blair's show is now seen on the sunshine network locally two or three times a week. Blair is a local guy making quite a splash with his show. (And, believe it or not, the first guide I ever fished with. He put me on a nice redfish and I was hooked. I blame him, or credit him I guess, for doing what I am doing today. When I hooked the big red Blair says, well I guess I will have lunch. He was through before I was! Thanks Blair.) Check out the listings and check out the show. Its a great fishing show. Oh yea, we were talking about skipping lures under the docks. One of my favorite skipping lures is a 5 or 6 inch jerk bait rigged on a Capt. Mike's jig head. I showed Paul and Rhonda Sue how to rig it and demonstrated a couple of casts. You just have to think like you were skipping rocks as a kid. Get some good back bending pressure on the rod with a quick wrist flick while sweeping the rod near the surface of the water. Attempt to land the lure just outside the dock and let the momentum skip it back under. Paul developed this technique quickly and about 5 docks later he was pulling on a nice snook. A few docks further and he hooked the biggest trout of the day, about an 18 incher. If you have never used this technique before, get out there and practice because it can pay big dividends. I especially like this technique in the summer when the fish like to be back under the docks in the shadows. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

I really have to compliment my anglers today. Paul was making outstanding casts all day long and Rhonda Sue can thread the needle with one of the smoothest casting styles I have ever seen. I think in the numbers game Rhonda Sue may have barely been ahead, but Paul's snook was the best fish of the day. It was one of those days where there never was really a good bite, but persistence on the part of Rhonda Sue and Paul put a lot of fish in the boat. They even doubled up a few time on trout. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

Banana River May 2005 This has been a week for kids. Early morning winds continue to be the rule. The winds did not bother Mark and his 15 year old daughter Kali who come over to do some fishing. We pulled away from the dock just as the sun was rising over the river. Mark has developed good techniques with lots of fishing experience and was able to make nice long casts all day long.  I have said before how important this becomes as the water clears up. We kind of lost track of how many trout were caught, but none of them were easy. It was another day of working hard for what we got. The avocado/red flake CAL split tail was again the best lure. There are still lots of glass minnows around and many of the trout that we boated would regurgitate them on the deck. So, imitate the glass minnows. Down size! Marks biggest trout was about 20 inches and it came on the CAL split tail. It really looks like the summer pattern is starting and if you want to catch big trout you probably need to be out before sun up. This is also the best time to catch the gators on top waters like the High Roller Rip Roller.

Banana River May 2005 The next day I was greeted at the dock by Erin and his nine year old son George and his fiancé's 15 year old daughter Whitney. Finally, it was a nice calm morning with all the expectations of a hot morning bite. It was hot alright, but it was the temperature not the bite. The kids really wanted to catch a redfish but it was not to be. We had a day of variety, catching trout, ladyfish, flounder, puffers and catfish. I have never seen two kids fish as hard as these two did. We were out there for 6 hours and neither every quit fishing. In fact, George was not ready to quit when we did decide to call it a day after the bite just seemed to end completely. This was a bait fishing day where we suspended live shrimp under a Cajun Thunder. Most of the fishing was on the flats with the bait at the end of about 12 to 15 inches of leader and placed on a 3/0 circle hook. We fished about 4 different places to catch the fish we caught. George started our with a spincast outfit but before the day was over he had indicated a desire to use a spinning rig. We set him up, gave him a few instructions and he was gettin' after it.  (Later he ask dad if he could have one.) Whitney was already schooled in spinning equipment and did a great job with it. The best fish of the day were George's 21 inch trout and Whitney's 12 inch flounder. You notice that I have not even mentioned Erin yet. That because his emphasis was on seeing that the kids had a great day on the water. I hope they know how lucky they are to have a day like Erin. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

Banana River May 2005 The hot trout bite slowed down a little this week but there were still quite a few around willing to bite. The old standby CAL avocado with red flake continues to be the hot color and it does not seem to matter when you fish it. Early, late, and in between it continues to produce. The bigger trout are an early bite, as usual, but a few have been taken later in the day. It you want to target the big trout, get out early and get after it. And please, if you do not plan to eat them right away, why not just practice catch and release. Just take enough for a meal and leave the freezer space for chicken. Those big sows are going to produce a whole lot more little trout for our future.

One day this week, it was windy at daybreak and it never let up. The trout were not in the places we had been finding them earlier. Carol and Bill fished hard for most of the first two hours of the trip with little to show for our efforts. We tried artificials, we tried live shrimp - the fish just did not want to cooperate. Then, a couple of hours into the trip we began to get a few strikes on live shrimp and before the day was over we had caught snook, ladyfish, flounder, jacks, and mangrove snapper. It was one of those days were the artificials simply did not produce! The only fish of the day on artificial bait was a nice little snook that Bill caught on an avocado with red flake split tail. Thanks goodness for the shrimp. Bill and Carol ended up with a good variety of fish, all caught and released. A four pound ladyfish gave Carol quite a tussle on a light 2500 Shimano reel and a 7 foot medium action rod. A jack, tipping the scales at just over 4 pounds gave a pretty good fight also.

The next day I was fishing with John and twenty year-old son David. It was a day not that much different than the one described above, only without the wind. The fish just did not want to bite. John and David both fished really hard. I crossed paths with a fellow guide up south of Hwy 520. He had experienced about the same thing except he had spotted one school of red's but they were unwilling to eat. He always keeps a small barometer on board to keep track of the barometric pressure. Most people will tell you that the best fishing occurs when the pressure is either rising or falling. On this particular day he reported it was steady, no rise or fall. This, he interprets into NO BITE. I do not usually pay that much attention to such, because most people want to go fishing when they can go fishing, but you have to wonder!

Once again, later in the day we begin to pick up a little action. David hooked up a nice snook but it broke off at the boat. We spotted several other snook cruising along but could not get them to eat. Then Bill hooked and boated about a 3 pound bluefish which ravished a CAL split tail. David hooked a  nice Jack and the fun began. Although it was not what I would call a hot bite, it was steady and it was fun. For the next hour or so we caught and released several more bluefish and jacks. During that time we also lost a couple of fish to broken lines worn thru on structure.

I also have to continue my tale of my new Power Pole. In my last report I had told you that Paul over at Boater's Exchange in Rockledge had called and it was in. We scheduled the installation for Saturday to be picked up on Monday. Everything went smoothly and I picked my Pathfinder up on Monday afternoon with the new accessory firmly connected to the transom. It was a beautiful installation. Vince, the mechanic responsible for the installation is also an experienced aircraft technician and is very particular about getting stuff just right. When I picked up the boat he explained how and why it was mounted where it was. He said it had to have this particular clearance of the trim tabs, and had to clear the engine when it was turned hard to starboard by at least 3 inches, and he explained how and where he mounted the pump and the remote sensor and the dash switch, etc.  The point of this is just to say, I'm impressed. All the wiring was tucked neatly in little bundles, the connections were treated with corrosion resistant materials and then taped for added strength and protection. Vince showed me the remote, which looks just like the one for my car doors, and gave me a demonstration. A click of a button and the Power Pole quietly, smoothly  begins its decent into the would be river bottom. It does this with good penetrating power too! Click the up button and just as smoothly the Power Pole retracts and returns to its stored position. Now, I just have to get on the water and try it out. By the way, if you need accessories for your boat, or service, drop by and see the folks at Boater's Exchange. They are located at 2101 Hwy 1 in Rockledge - or, give them a call at 321-638-0090. They have about everything you need for your boat. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.       

Banana River May 2005 May continues to be hot fishing for speckled sea trout. Day after day, the trout bite just keeps coming. On one day with angler Ronnie using the old standby CAL 1/4 ounce jig with avocado/red glitter split tail around 20 trout were caught and released up to 23 inches. The trout were found close to schools of finger mullet near a small spoil island. A quick drop off of a shallow flat into about 1.5 to 2.0 feet of water seemed to produce the best. A steady retrieve with an occasional twitch seemed to make the CAL exactly what the trout were looking for. I think, on this particular day all the fish came on the same lure.

On the next day trout were found on the same small island as well as on several other flats were deeper water was near and mullet were present. The CAL paddle tail worked well this day as well as the split tail. Some fish were also caught on the electric chicken color, which incidentally is probably my second favorite color this time of year. The water remains really clear and necessitates longer casts. The further you get from the boat the better. All fish on this day were trout, however several redfish were seen and the elusive spring tarpon were hanging around some docks. Three possible hookups did not materialize. The first possibility was on a white salt-water assassin jerk bait. The tarpon rolled up, took a look and just kept on going. The next came on a DOA shrimp with about the same result. The tarpon came up on it, kind of nosed it and then disappeared. Finally, on a live finger mullet a tarpon came out from the dock, appeared to eat the mullet a return to the debts below the dock. A swift hook set came up empty. Still no spring tarpon but at least they seem to be willing to look!

On day three, the trout bite continued. And the weather, it was flat calm. I had been waiting months for a morning like this. Angler Jim started the day with a nice trout, but just under the slot. This turned out to be one of only three trout all day that were less than 15 inches. Out of a total of 18, six were over 20 and the rest were at the top of the slot, ranging from 17 to 19 inches. All trout were released with a couple of photos along the way. Two colors produced fish again today. The CAL avocado/green flake and the electric chicken all produced trout. The paddle tail version out did the split tails today.

We also netted a few finger mullet to try and tempt the tarpon that have been around but still not to eager to bite. The first cast with a 6 inch mullet rigged on a short piece of 20 pound fluorocarbon leader and a number 5 circle hook landed midway between two docks. The mullet was doing his thing trying to bury his head in the grass. A slow lift on the rod to pull him back to the surface was executed perfectly by Jim. By holding the rod vertical and pulling, the mullet is pulled from the grass and made to gyrate on the surface. Then, bam, bam, bam, the mullet disappeared and the line became tight. Be ready to bow when he comes out of the water, I told Jim. He never came up. The hook was set and the fish was pulling hard. Jim pulled back and guided him away from the nearby dock. I ran the trolling motor out to open water to improve Jim's chances of landing the fish. He still never jumped. Then I saw the bronze back shine in the morning sunlight. It was a nice 23 inch slot sized redfish that had chomped down on the mullet. We landed the fish took a picture and released him. It was a perfect hook set with the circle hook doing its job and catching the red right in the corner of the mouth.

We baited up again, cast the mullet back to the center of the opening between the two docks. Jim worked the mullet slowly up from the grass each time he tried to bury his head. Then, a three to four inch wake formed 4 feet from where the bait was struggling on the surface. The wake was made by a charging tarpon. As the fish neared the mullet we heard gulp, gulp, gulp, the sound of a tarpon eating bait on the surface. The white flash of the mullet disappeared and the line cut through the water heading for the nearby dock. As quick as it started, it ended. Jim was holding a limp rod with no hook or leader. The tarpon had cut him off on the dock. We saw only one other tarpon this morning, and he spooked without offering to play. The rest of the day produced a couple of jacks and a bluefish. We were back at the dock about 11:30 with a pretty successful day of fishing under our belts.

Last week I told you about getting a new accessory for my Pathfinder 2200 V. I got a message from Paul, over at Boater's Exchange today that my Power Pole was in. As soon as I can schedule a time they will install it right there in their shop. If you have not stopped by Boater's Exchange in Rockledge, you need to do so. They have all kinds of stuff for your boat, plus a service center for repairs. You can talk to Jerry or Paul at 321-638-0090 for any of your boating needs. In fact, their slogan is "We love to see you boat!", and they do. They are located at 2101 South Hwy 1.

Wow, day four. More good trout fishing. The angler on board today was Lairn. We got an early start to see if the terrific trout bite was still on. I have got to say, it was. We caught about 20 fish today with all but 3 being slot sized or bigger. Two fish were just over the slot at about 20 1/2 inches. The bigger trout continue to come in shallow water. Less than a foot deep. The other ingredient is finger mullet. Usually the big trout are hanging close to the schools of mullet. Today's best lure continued to be the avocado with red flake paddle tail or split tail rigged on a 1/4 ounce CAL jig head. Lairn did catch a few trout on a white paddle tail however. Lairn also managed a bluefish during the day and also hooked up on two snook. Both came up out of the water with a headshake that dislodged the hook. The last one look to be a slot sized fish, a real nice one. We also checked out the tarpon, but the higher winds, compared to the day before, made the fishing kind of difficult. Add a cloud covered sky to the waves and the visibility was just not good. We did not spot any tarpon. We also made a stop on a flat near a fellow guide who motioned to us and alerted us to a school of big reds coming our way. We slipped the anchor over the side to wait a few minutes to see if we could get a cast. The school continue and passed between the our two boats. A couple of casts did not hook up and the reds moved quickly out of range. They did not show again. Lairn decided to take a limit of trout for dinner and commented several times on the fact that he could not believe he was throwing back 18 inch trout. It was one of those kinds of days. Well until next week, that's what its all about. Good fishin'.

Banana River May 2005 May is here and the wind is still blowing. I wish I could quit complaining about the weather, but after a couple of days of heavy rain and the continuing wind I just keep hoping for some calm spring fishing. The jack creavalle are still here and willing to bend a pole. I love catching these underrated fish just for the plain fun of it. Several in the 5 to 6 pound range were caught in this first week of May and we should have plenty around for the entire summer. The water level is up a bit with all the rain and the glass minnows are everywhere. I am a little surprise we have not run across a few more ladyfish. This is another fish that is underrated. These "poor man's tarpon" are a kick to catch on light tackle. Their aerial fanatics and speed rank them high in my book as a fun fish to catch. A quick hint on both the jacks and the ladyfish may help you catch more. If you get into either species they are most likely feeding on glass minnows this time of year. Take that same CAL jig head and instead of rigging with a full size paddle tail (avocado with red flake of course) bite off about 3/4 to an inch before rigging. This "size down" just may give you a few extra strikes.

The Trout bite is still on. Put a nice limit of 4  trout from 17 to 22 inches on the boat one day. Remember, you can only keep one fish over 20 inches. I personally don't keep any at all unless they have been gut hooked or simply do not show signs of recovering after a fight. All four keepers, and some others too, came on the old reliable CAL Jig head with the avocado paddle tail rigged on behind. The bite was not fantastic, but the trout could be tempted to strike with enough presentations. With the warmer water temperatures you can definitely speed up your retrieve. I would call it a medium fast retrieve with an irregular jerking movement of the wrists to make the lure dart-fall-dart. Just keep repeating this pattern and if there are any fish around they will show themselves. There was cloud cover on this particular day which ads credence to the darker avocado color, and it also normally allows for a later big trout bite.

All of the fish in the picture were released alive and kicking, I actually kept them in the live well until I decided to take a couple of pictures and then placed them back in the livewell to resuscitate again before release. I have been doing this lately when dolphin are in the area. I saw too many nice trout get ate by the dolphin. The dolphin can sense the weakened condition of the trout, or any other fish for that matter, and they lay in wait for us to release them just so they can have an easy meal. I have managed to foil their plan a little by using the livewell and releasing the fish fully resuscitated and sometimes in a different location. Those trout are just too beautiful and too much fun to catch to let the dolphins get them to easily.

Finally, I am having Christmas in May this year. My Pathfinder 2200V is soon to be equipped with a Power Pole anchor. If you have not seen the Power Pole flats anchor you won't believe your eyes. If you have seen them you know why I am so excited about getting one. They are available right over in Rockledge at Boater's Exchange. Give them a call at 321-638-0090 or drop by and talk to Jerry or Paul at 2101 South Hwy 1. I can hardly wait, no more dropping anchors and lifting anchors. The Power Pole just adds up to more fishing time and less hassle. I am also going to get the remote control so I can lower the unit from the front deck while running the trolling motor. When you activate the Power Pole a composite spike is driven into the lagoon bottom to hold your boat in place. If you are drifting or trolling along a flat and you either catch a fish while prospecting or sight some fish just activate the unit and you are positioned for fishing. You can also go to the Power Pole website at www.powerpole.com to find out more about this great accessory. Well, until another week rolls around, that's what its all about. Good fishin'. 

 

 

Banana River: May 20 and 21, 2004 The mornings have been a little calmer the past couple of days. Early morning fishing has been pleasant without the high SE winds which have been so common of late. The past couple of days has produced a variety of fish on a variety of baits. This is a good sign that Spring fishing is finally here. Thursday produced catches of trout and jack creavalle. The best fish of the day was a 23 inch spotted sea trout. The catch came on a white jerk bait rigged on a red Daiichi hook. The bait was tied with a loop knot and fished slowly near the surface of the water. The big trout hit aggressively and just inhaled the bait. After a quick photo the trout was released to fight another day. Unfortunately I deleted the photo in the download process so you have to take my word on this one. 

The next day I had a chance to take my grandson fishing to celebrate the fact that school was out. Only two species were caught on this day, but one was unexpected. When fishing with kids, by the way my grandson is seven years old, you want to be sure and catch something. For this day I was targeting some jacks near where I had caught them the previous day. Sure enough, it did not take long until a 4 pound jack was in battle with a seven year old boy. The boy won the first one but lost several others afterwards as the overpowering jacks would find structure and cut him off. Leaving the jacks we moved to a spot where the ladyfish had been hitting in the Indian River. Hoping to hook him up with a jumping ladyfish I rigged up with a lead headed jig and dressed it with a plastic chartreuse curly tail. The first fish was an unexpected pompano. Again, after a brief fight, not as long as with the jacks, the fish was boated, photoed, and released. All in all it was a great day fishing with my grandson. By the way, when you take a kid fishing don't push it. They get tired after a few hours and are ready to move on to something else. That's what its all about, Good fishin'.

Banana River: May 14, 2004 The wind continues to blow hard. Started the morning with 16 mile per hour winds at 6:30 a.m. Fortunately the winds were out of the SE which meant we could find some refuge on the East side of the river. After riding the waves to the East side, we began working a small point that had bait fish present. It produced one short strike and one small jack. The jack hit a CAL jerk bait in the root beer color. We moved to another location and began to catch small trout on DOA shrimp. The first trout came on a Chartreuse, then on root beer, and finally on the "glow" shrimp. The "glow" shrimp produced more fish than the other colors on this particular morning. The shrimp were tied to  20 pound leader with a loop knot and worked very slowly. After catching 20 plus trout ranging from 12 to 14 inches we moved on to another area hoping to find some larger fish. Even with the protection of the East shore, the winds continued to make the fishing tough. After prospecting a long stretch of this usually productive flat only one trout was hooked. We had a shot at a really nice jack that was cruising the flat. My client made a cast at the jack with a plastic jerk bait. The jack turned on the bait but failed to eat it before swimming away. It was a fairly tough and windy day of fishing. We caught plenty of fish, but they were all relatively small. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

Banana River Report: May 25, 2003 The Banana River Reds have been very active from mid-morning on.  The reds like the hot weather and are schooling up on the flats.  Top water action has been good.  Use lures like the Zara Spook, Captain Mike's Li'l Dogs, or a similar top water.  Change colors until you see what they are hitting.  Clear water often requires a different color than cloudy water.  Vary your retrieve speed also until you get some action and then try to duplicate the same action again.  Fish are often looking for a particular speed or flash or even noise so don't be afraid to experiment.  You better have some plastic jerk baits along just in case they want something different.

Don't forget, these same top water lures are deadly on sea trout, especially early.  It is the general consensus that if you want gator trout you need to be tossin' by first light (or sooner) and can usually expect the bite to end by around 9:00.  The big ones will be back in the evening, but during the heat of the day you are going to have to change your tactics and probably your species.  Actually, after nine would be a good time to start looking for those reds.

Near Shore Report: May 29, 2003 If you want to try something different this month think about going out of Port Canaveral.  The pogies are stacked up and easy to castnet.  When the bait is thick, the predators will come.  Recent reports of kingfish within a mile of the beach should be enough to get you excited.  Personally, I decided to check out the tarpon.  Sure enough, in only 20 feet of water off Cocoa Beach, the tarpon were rolling.  A west wind made the ocean flat and visibility was great as the sun rose higher.  I would estimate seeing at least 50 rolling tarpon.  They were not all bunched up, but would be in two sees and three sees.  Most of the ones I was seeing were headed in towards the beach.  I was marking bait all over the place and it was evident what the big boys were looking for.  One huge problem though.  I got one pick-up on a big ole pogie, but no hook-up!  Well that's the way it is some times but it won't stop me from being right back out there the first chance I get.  Those big T's just get my adrenaline pumping.  Try this sometime, when you hook up there is nothing like it. (By the way, you should be working out at the gym for a least a month before challenging one of the really big T's)
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