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

A Change of Strategy

Almost any fishing trip starts out with high expectations of lots of fish and big ones too. Last weekís trip with Jim, David, and Greg was no different. With high hopes of finding the tarpon, kings, and jacks nearshore we motored through the port and out along the beach looking for bait. We had monitored the radio and was not getting many good reports on finding bait, seemed everyone was having trouble and there is nothing worse than spending time looking for bait when you would rather be fishing. 

About this time a friend and fellow guide, Richard of Lagooner Charters, pulled around us and motioned to follow. He had got the word of some bait south of the pier and away we went. Sure enough, there were several boats circling a school of pogies. Richard already had his net in the water when we got there and he pulled in a net full of bait. I threw once and got a few just as Richard pulled up alongside and handed us a bucket full. We were ready to go fishing.

Unfortunately the fish were not going to cooperate. After slow trolling a few pogies around for a while and no knock-downs we decided to go back into the Banana River and try our luck. After talking to some other captains later, it was a good thing we did. The fish just have not showed up back on the beach like they were before Alberto. They will however, any day now! Be Ready.

We finished the morning throwing RipTide mullet around a few trout haunts and put a few in the well for dinner. Add a few nice 4 to 5 pound jacks and we finished strong after a disappointing time in the ocean. We caught most of our fish on the 3 inch RipTide in white, electric chicken, and new penny. The lighter colors seemed to a little better. We also caught a few fish on the live pogies we had left over from our nearshore excursion. Greg even caught a snook on one of the pogies. Donít forget, snook season is currently closed.

The next trip was with Matt, his dad Ken and sister Erica. After a couple of hours of slow fishing we had only kept one slot-sized trout and one nice blue fish. Then we found a bunch of schoolie trout, up to about 14 inches,  to play with. They were hanging in about 3 feet of water on a grassy flat. Best bait was the RipTide 3 and 4 inch mullet in nite glow. Dark colors did not produce and cut mullet and shrimp were also left wanting. If we had not found the trout on two different flats, it would have been a really slow day.

Thunder storms threatened us about half the morning but we only got wet once and it was not bad as attempted to stay south of the storm cell. We also had numerous jacks follow lures without ever taking one. That is the first time I can remember finding jacks that would follow but not eat a lure. All in all it was a slow week, but it only makes be think it will be better next time. Plan your trips early this time of year and get off the water before those afternoon storms come up.

Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island Fishing Report

Nearshore Possibilities

Given the reports of pogies stacking up on the beach, many anglersí thoughts go to Tarpon, King Fish, and Big Jacks. As the upcoming nearshore season begins, two fellow guides, Capt. Keith Kalbflieisch and Capt. Chris Myers and myself decided to do some early season prospecting. We started along the beach looking for baitfish and it wasnít long until we spotted a few pelicans diving, indicating the bait was there. Capt. Keith made a perfect cast with a 12 foot net and captured all the bait we would need for the day of slow trolling. The pogies were very large, about 9 and 10 inches.

We rigged three rods and began trolling in about 20 feet of water in a slow zigzagging route until we reached 35 feet where we would work our way back to the beach. The long line was well back behind the boat, a second rod was trolled mid-way and a third was barely outside the prop wash.

By the end of the day we had jumped one tarpon, had one humongous strike which buried the braided line in the spool and broke off where we could not even see the end of the line. Hooked another big fish, which acted like a jack Crevalle, that broke off also. We continued the troll, spotting a few more rolling tarpon and boating 3 sharks up to about 3 feet long. It was just the right kind of day to get our hopes up for the nearshore season that hopefully will last through August and into September.

The next day Capt. Chris and I repeated the process only spending a little more time close to the beach looking for rolling tarpon to cast to. Chris got one relatively early hook-up on a rolling fish about 20 feet from the boat. The big tarpon ate the pogie and become air borne, as they tend to do, and came off. We continued seeing and casting to several more tarpon before Chris got a solid hook-up. After several aerial displays and long runs Chris brought the fish along side where we took a quick picture and clipped a fin to send in for research. The rest of the day produced another break off on a trolled bait and a nice 44 inch Jack that I threw a pogie to as a large school simply showed up off the stern, heading right for us. Given the long hard fight of this strong and determined fish, the mono on the rod was completely destroyed and twisted.

On a third day my angler Jim and I met early to try the whole process again. As we motored up to a bunch of pogies and I readied the net to throw I heard a call from a nearby boat. It was Capt. Keith and he motioned me over. He had already thrown his cast net and captured enough pogies for both of us and released many more. Thanks Keith for that gesture of sportsmanship and camaraderie. Then, Jim and I continue down the beach looking for rolling tarpon. We only say a couple, so we decide to begin the slow troll method moving in and out along the beach in 15 to 25 feet of water. Soon the starboard rod took a hit and being closest I picked it up and began the fight on a large fish. I fought the fish a while, then gave the rod to Jim who finished the task. This time it was a 48 inch Jack Crevalle. These big jacks fight so hard, you just wonít believe it until you experience it and I hope you get to soon. Jim complained a little about using some muscles he hadnít been use to using, but it didnít hurt as much as if he got the pain from yard work.

Then, tropical storm Alberto changed everything. So, I havenít been able to get back out there yet but am looking forward to the next opportunity. The bottom line is, the time is right, the nearshore season has begun and there should be plenty of good nearshore fishing ahead.

Capt. Chris can be reached at: 321-229-2848, or at

Capt. Keith can be reached at: 321-279-1344, or at

Rule Changes

Donít 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 canít follow the contour of the fish. Fish and Wildlife refer to this a ďtotal lengthĒ measurement. For more information, you can visit

Banana River June 2005 Well it was another rainy, wet week on the river. During the week I fished with Artie and his wife Peggy; Iris brought her dad and dad-in-law from Alabama; Brad from Nevada met up with nephew Adam and friend Rod both from Florida; and David brought his father-in-law Keith over from Lakeland. The week started off really slow but improved some by the end of the week. When there was a bite at all it occurred relatively early in the morning. With Artie and Peggy it was a less than average day on the water. And, it wasn't their fault, because both were experience anglers and did not give up even though the fish were few and far between.

The next day was the group from Alabama and the bite was about the same. The day did produce a new nickname though when Iris caught a catfish while fishing a flat for redfish. I have to admit, that is one of the drawbacks of chunkin' for reds. At any rate, I got a message from Frank, Iris' dad, that they now call her "catfish". Iris, you just need to get out there again and show em' what you can do. This was a fun loving group and claimed to have a good time even though the fish were not cooperation much.. I'd have to say I had a good time too - they were just a great group to go fishing with! You always wonder why the fish bite one day and not the next. Right now, I am thinking the fresh water from all the rain has change the way the fish are acting. A fellow guide friend took a reading the other day and told me the salinity of the water is currently very low.

Things picked up a little the next day with Brad, Adam, and Rod. It was one of those days that most of the luck went to one person, Brad. Everyone caught some fish, but Brad seemed to have lady luck on his side today. Brad caught several jacks and several nice trout. He also had the misfortune of losing several fish. Most of his catches came on a shallow running plug with an orange/bronze color to it. Rod also added a really nice 20 inch trout which he caught on a shrimp. Adam, hooked up several times with some nice fish but as luck would have it lost them in the battle. At least the fishing picked up some and the anglers were able to take some trout home for dinner.

The next day we got started at 6:00 to a rain threatening morning. The cloud cover was heavy and there were showers around the area. Fortunately the rain never came and the cloud cover kept it cooler than normal. The clouds did make it more difficult to sight fish on the flats however. The morning got off to a great start when Keith hooked up on a nice snook. The early morning snook hit a Rapala X-rap that Keith had thrown along a rocky bank. This bait was similar in color to one Brad had used earlier in the week with such good luck. Keith caught the feisty snook on a medium weight rod and a Shimano 2500 reel. After some drag screaming action Keith brought the snook skillfully to the net. We conducted a CPR (Catch, Photo, Release) session on the snook and continued our search for fish. Both David and Keith caught some jacks and trout during the morning venture. Keith was really thinking about an three fish slam since he already had what is usually the hard part, the snook. As I mentioned, he had also already caught a nice trout. We traveled to a flat that has been holding redfish lately to see if we could seal the deal on the slam. A friend was already on the flat and I called him on the cell to see where I might entered the flat without disturbing him and his clients. He was working down one side of a shoal with the wind at his back. He suggested an entry point for me in the path of his pursuit. We were going to try to "tag team" the school he had already spotted. We moved into position and I lowered my Power Pole to stake out our position and wait and see if the reds would come our way. We had baited up with mullet heads on a circle hook as an offering to the fish. Not long after staking out we saw a school of mullet shower out of the water and I told David and Keith to get ready, the reds were probably about were the mullet showered. My friend called about the same time and said, "their coming right at you". We waited patiently but the wind had risen and the waves coupled with the cloudy skies made it impossible to actually see the school. They did approach, but turned before getting close enough for us to make our offering. We finally moved on and finished the day catching a few more jacks and had to go to the dock without the anticipated "slam". That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

Ft. Pierce June 2005 Like I said in my last report, I was headed for Ft. Pierce for a little fun and relaxation. Stayed at the Dockside Inn which is right on the inlet. The rain was no different there than it has been here. Did not get on the river until Friday afternoon and then didn't get back to the dock before getting drenched. Saturday morning did turn out ok, but the fishing was slow. Finally got about 5 or six hours total fishing out of Friday and Saturday together. The results, one 18 inch gag grouper, one 20 inch trout, several small jacks and mangrove snapper, and two snook right at the dock where we were staying. Both of the snook broke me off on the dock.. I really liked the area, much deeper water around spoil islands, and on smooth days I can see where the inlet would be fun to fish. I will be going back in July for the Mogan Mania event with Capt. Blair Wiggins and the addictive fishing crew. Had a good time but nothing to brag about. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

Banana River June 2005 Left the dock about 7:00 on another rain threatening day. Lots of clouds and a wind at about 6 to 8 out of the North East. Jerry, his son Austin, and Grandpa Frank were in Orlando from Indiana hoping to catch enough fish for a fish fry. They are all pictured with me in the middle picture along the right side of the page. Turns out that was not to be even though we had a pretty good day fishing. Jerry and his dad Frank were experienced fisherman and eleven year old Austin is coming into his own as an angler. Austin actually hooked up first with about a 4 pound jack which he landed with all the enthusiasm of an eleven year old boy. We kept telling him to relax and take it a little slower but he just wanted to get that fish to the boat, and he did! We took a couple of pictures and threw him back. The next hook up was by Jerry who tied into a 32 inch snook on a CAL paddle tail in the electric chicken color. Turns out the electric chicken was the color of the day, beating out my usually favorite avocado. The snook weighed in at 7 1/2 pounds. A lot of great eating fish, but remember, snook season is closed since June 1. Are you getting the idea of how we had a good fishing trip but nothing to cook? The next hook up came on a skitter walk top water bait that Frank was throwing. Something rolled and missed and then blew up on it again. This time Frank set the hook and the fight was on. The big fish headed for structure and Frank put some backbone to it but to no avail. The line went limp and we all new the big fish was gone, along with the skitter walk, and we would never know for sure what it was.  We just know it was a nice one. Jerry caught a nice bluefish on the same electric chicken and Frank added a 14.99999999 inch spotted sea trout. For those of you who don't know the trout have to be 15 inches to be legal so this guy escaped the frying pan also. Austin added mangrove snapper and a catfish to the count. Then he tangled with about a 3 pound ladyfish that made one and a half runs around the boat before coming aboard for a quick picture. That eleven year old enthusiasm came to the fore again as Austin chased that lady around the boat with no intention of losing it. The rest of us just had to get out of the way. During the day several more short trout came in and we lost a few other fish as well. So, at the end of the day we had caught some fish but it looked like the gang would be eating out tonight. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

I am heading for Ft. Pierce this weekend to do a little fishing on my own with my wife. I will let you know what we find down there. I have never fished the area before but we always hear about a good snook fishery in that part of the world. Then we will return in July for Mogan Mania with Capt. Blair Wiggins and the Addictive Fishing crew. Sounds like it will be a blast. If you are not familiar with the Addictive Fishing Show, check it out on cable channel 31. Times are listed on Blair's site,

Banana River June 2005 And the rains came. Wow. June has featured lots of afternoon showers and some morning showers as well. I have been on the water and chased back in by thunder storm. After waiting them out and returning to the water only to be ran back in again. The jacks are very willing to bite on the Cal Series split tails and paddle tails. Snook have also been hanging around when you can stay on the water. Erin came over from the West Coast around Crystal River to experience some East Coast fishing with hi son George and his fiancť's daughter Whitney. It was a tough day of fishing but at least the rain never got to us before we returned to the dock. George and Whitney were real troupers and stuck with the fishing to the end. I think George may have stayed even in the rain. We managed to catch mangrove snapper, ladyfish, jacks, trout, mostly on shrimp. Erin caught the nice snook pictured at the right. That's Whitney on the left and George on the right. Erin's snook came on the old reliable avocado with red flake. You can see it hanging on the rod George is holding.

On yet another rain threatening day, Brett from Ohio, his wife and three kids came over from there stay in Orlando to fish. Brett and I fished in the morning and then came back in around 10:30 to pick up the rest of the family for the remainder of the day. It was another hard day of fishing with a dedicated fisherman. Brett has had lots of fishing experience, just not in salt-water. We caught redfish, trout, and ladyfish on the morning excursion. Brett caught the 22 inch redfish pictured at the right on a skitter walk top-water. The red really blasted the lure for a beautiful top-water bite. Then he gave a really nice fight on 4000 Shimano Stradic placed on a medium action 7 foot rod. Brett would get him to the boat and he would turn and take line trying to return to the mouth of the canal were he hit. Brett did a great job of fighting the fish and this one he wanted to take home for dinner. It was a perfect slot sized fish.  A little later we ran across a school of ladyfish on the drop off side of a shallow flat. There were lots of mullet and glass minnows present. Brett was throwing the CAL Series avocado with red flake paddle tail and I was throwing the same bait in the electric chicken color. I soon switched to the avocado since his strikes were almost every cast but I would pick up a lady only every once in a while.  Brett caught numerous ladyfish up to 3 pounds and a gaft-top sail cat at about 2 pounds in this area. After picking up the rest of the family we hooked into ladyfish, snappers, and trout. Most of these fish were caught on shrimp under a Cajun Thunder float. Just as we headed for the dock the clouds were building heavily in the West. We barely made it in before the rain came again. Looks like June is a month for early morning trips before the showers arrive. That's what its all about. Good fishing.


Banana River: June 22, 2004 The morning started off with a little more wind than normal at 6:00 AM. Chuck from Satellite Beach and his son Craig from the Washington D.C. area were on time and ready to go. Both were exceptional fishermen with lots of experience. We began the morning tossing Saltwater Assassin jerk baits and CAL split tails. Chuck caught the first fish on a rootbeer split tail. Craig followed quickly with another on a salt-n-pepper paddle tail with a chartreuse tail. Both lures produce additional trout during the morning trip. Chuck's first trout was the largest trout of the day, measuring 21 inches. The winds had made the river pretty rough by 10:00 and there were few places to avoid it since it was coming mostly from the south. After several other spots turned out to be unproductive we change tactics and began to free-line live shrimp. This resulted in a couple of redfish, both caught by Chuck. It seemed dad was showing us how to do it on this particular day. As we gathered up and headed for the dock, Craig made a last cast with the salt-n-pepper lure and hooked a really nice Jack Creavalle. The Jack would go about 4 or 5 pounds and provided a rod bending end to the days fishing. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

Cape Canaveral: June 18, 2004 It was a busy morning launching out of Cape Canaveral this morning. Looks like everyone has heard the word. "The big tarpon are off the beach." Well I rigged up my 20 pound rods and headed for the beach. One rig was prepared to flat line a mullet out behind the boat. Another rod was rigged with a sliding weight system to get a little depth. I was using circle hooks as I usually do now days. Yet another outfit was rigged with an artificial bait that could be tossed at rolling tarpon should I get lucky enough to be that close. All rigs were using 60 pound mono for leader material. After about an hour of trolling at idle speed the deep rod went off. I was only trolling two rods but as you can expect, that's all it takes to have a crossed line. The big fish curled around to the left and went under the flat line so I immediately had to do a little dance to clear the lines. By the time the lines were clear the fish had continued to come toward the boat and actually passed me on the starboard side. I quickly took up the slack and came to this momentary feeling that I was hung up. The pull was straight and solid. It wasn't long that the distinct feel of a large fish was transmitted up the line, I knew I had hook a really big fish but the fish didn't know he was hooked. The fish slowly, powerfully, continued swimming south. I had come to fish for tarpon, but I was thinking large shark because the fish had not performed the normal early tarpon jump. I was now following the fish at idle speed and trying to take in as much line as possible because the fish had taken a lot of line early in the battle. There were about 20 boats out this morning in the general vicinity of the Cocoa Beach Pier. I had hooked up in about 30 feet of water and the direction I was going to follow the fish changed slowly towards the east. Two boats were in my path. With a fish that size on tackle that light you don't have a lot of control. The first boat would pass directly in front of me and it looked like I would parallel the other. The fish still did not know it was hooked and still had not jumped. Then, as I got closer to the first boat the line began to rise and a huge explosion informed me and the anglers in the other boat that I had hooked up with about an 80 pound tarpon. Three quick jumps were responded to by three salutary bows on my part and the fight continued. The anglers in the boat ahead of me reeled in their lines, in an appreciated sign of courtesy, and gave me all the room possible for fighting the fish. The fish went deep again and began to take line again. I added throttle in an attempt to regain lost line. Then, an error in judgment, I let up for a moment to find the fighting belt with thoughts of putting it on. The big T came out of the water again and I was not prepared to bow. He crashed back to the water and the line went limp. My heart sunk. It was over. By this time I had reached a position near the second boat where the other anglers saw what happened and gestured with raised hands as if to say sorry. It didn't help. For approximately 15 minutes I got exactly what I came looking for. Gaining my heart rate back I did what any dedicated angler would do. I checked my gear, baited up, and began the process all over again but there would be no more tarpon today.

Banana River: June 1 - 4, 2004 This week has been some of the best fishing this spring. Snook, trout, redfish, flounder, and bluefish were all caught. Tarpon were seen but they would not eat. Check out the reports below.

Tuesday June 1:  This was an early morning outing with most of the fishing done by 8:00. A nice 24 inch snook on a white jerk bait, a 27 inch snook on a CAL avocado with red flake split tailed jerk bait, and a 24 inch trout were the best catches of the day. I was back at the dock around 9:00.

 Wednesday June 2:  Another early day of fishing produced numerous trout, jacks, snook, and a flounder. All were taken on CAL series jerk baits in white or avocado with red flake. Once again it was an early bite, back to the dock by 10:00. You can tell by the pictures below the sun had not yet come up when the flounder and trout were in the boat and it had not been up long when the snook and jack were caught. As the weather heats up, be sure to get out there early.

Friday June 4: The good fishing continued! Tom and his son T.J. from Texas joined me at the dock early on Friday. It was going to turn out to be an East Coast Slam kind of  a day. An East Coast Slam is catching a redfish, a snook, and a trout on the same outing and this was going to be the case today. Tom started the day off with a nice jack which he caught on a Capt. Mike top water lure. I think it was T.J. who caught the next fish, a spotted sea trout on the CAL avocado with green flake split tail. This bait was hot all week long.. The trout were on that day and Tom and T.J. both caught several.  Tom caught a nice snook, also on a Capt. Mike Lil' dog. This was Tom's first snook ever. After this early morning action we motored south and fished the west bank of the Banana River where I had been spotting tarpon all week long. We saw several but could not get one to eat so we moved again and used some shrimp to fish the bottom. This is where we added two redfish to the days catch. All in all it was a really fun day on the water. T.J. caught his first sea trout and his first redfish. Tom caught his first snook and flounder. Tom's catches were well deserved because he could thread the needle with his accurate casting. By the way, the flounder also hit the CAL avocado split tail. T.J. and Tom are pictured with their first spotted sea trout and first flounder.

Saturday June 5: Wow! After a great week of fishing, Saturday was a whole 'nother ball game. Had another Texas family on board. Scott, his son Cameron and wife Jackie. Both Scott and Cameron have fished quite a bit and were diligent in their fishing. We worked really hard all morning long with various lures and presentations. The fish that would bite seemed to be striking short and they just were not aggressive. We picked up a few trout and landed one pretty nice jack, but that was about it. The tarpon were not present in the same numbers as earlier in the week. Most of the fish we did catch came on the same avocado with red flake split tail that had been hot all week. In fact I used the last of my stock on Saturday. On the good news side, Cameron did catch his first spotted sea trout which we photographed before the release. It was a long ride to the dock and a disappointing day of fishing after such a productive week that had proceeded this day. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.


Banana River Report: June 25, 2003 Since I didn't find the tarpon earlier this week I fished the Banana river between 528 and 520.  The water is very dirty due to the recent rains.  Caught a lot of trout, most of them small with a better one now and then.  Best color was green and white.  This particular day my best results was on Captain Mikes Flats Candy on a weighted hook.  Second guessing tells me I should have fished some culverts where the run-off usually provides some good fishing opportunities when rains are heavy.  Saw several other boats on the flats but the fishing just seemed to be slow.
Cape Canaveral Near Shore Report:  June 23 The pogies are scattered and hard to net.  Water is clear.  Spent the morning searching for near shore tarpon without success.  Still hearing reports of Cobia in the area.  You just have to get out there and look.
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