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

More Summer Fishing 

Summer patterns continue to rule the day. Try to fish early with top water lures in shallow water and move out deeper as the day goes on. The redfish have been particularly hard to locate and when you do they have been spooky. You have to use stealth techniques to get close. The mullet continue to be present on the flats but just like I said in the last report, they have not been in the same place, they keep moving around. So do you scouting or talk to fishing buddies who have been out there. It may save you some time in locating the areas holding bait.  

One client this week was from Connecticut. Dusty was accompanied by his wife as official photographer but non-angler. Dusty caught several nice jacks, one bluefish, and some small trout. Most of the fish came on the 3 inch Rip Tide Mullet. Best colors were glow, electric chicken, and new penny. Since Dusty and his wife get to Florida fairly often, he wanted to learn more about the techniques we use for Lt. Tackle, Saltwater fishing.  

On another day I joined my good friend and fellow guide Capt. Terry Lamielle in his home waters around the Indian River north of Sebastian Inlet. He had what turned out to be a seven angler charter and needed another boat. I don’t fish those waters a lot, but always enjoy the experience. Although we didn’t catch any that day, the snook are usually a little more plentiful down there than around Cocoa Beach. But we were not looking for snook on this trip; the charter was interested in Tarpon. We first stopped at a sunken island to catch a few ladyfish for cut bait and then proceeded to the mouth of a creek to look for the tarpon. They were there, rolling and making their presence known. Problem was they just didn’t want to eat – not artificial baits or the cut bait. We did see one tarpon jumped by another angler not in our party, but that was about it. We returned to the sunken islands to finish the day were we caught ladyfish, sea trout, bluefish, and believe it or not had a 4 foot shark bust a Yo Zuri 3D minnow. He didn’t get hooked up but caused a bit of excitement in the foot and a half deep water.  

The next trip was back in the Banana River with Roger and his daughter Tiffany and boy friend Justin. Justin was a determined angler and never let up all day long. It was another relatively slow day but we managed to put a couple nice trout, and more smaller ones, bluefish, and jacks in the boat. All were released. Once again the 3 inch Rip Tide Mullet in various colors was the bait of choice. Most of the fish came from shallow flats with glass minnows or mullet nearby.  

Finally, an early morning trip on the Banana River included host Robert and his friend Steve. Steve brought his son Ryan along too. We began the morning on a perfectly calm river throwing Zara Spooks for some top water action. The action we got, but not a single hookup. Several nice early morning top water strikes got our adrenalin flowing but to no avail. We switched over to the Rip Tide Mullet and soon put several fish in the boat. When that bite slowed we switched to live shrimp and added some more fish. When the day was done we had caught jacks, ladyfish, sea trout, and snapper. One snapper went about 2 pounds, a nice fat specimen. The crew left with a cooler full of fish and a fish fry on the agenda for the evening.  

I guess I should mention the just-for-fun trip I took to Port St. Lucie. Capt. Chris Myers and his wife make an annual trip to the inlet and surrounding area. Chris invited me to join them for a days fishing. After using a sabiki rig to fill the live well with “greenies” along the beach we headed north to the boils outside the St. Lucie Power Plant. Chris had also picked up a few crabs to use on the permit that frequent the plant. When we got there we found an unexpected change in the water temperature. Previous days fishing reports had been very good for permit, tarpon, and kings - we were disappointed to say the least when we found a cold water upwelling had dropped the water temperatures severely. And, the bite was off. We saw a few rolling tarpon but never really got a decent shot at them. We headed back south of the inlet where the water was much clearer and a little warmer. Slow trolling the greenies produced a couple of bluefish and several false albacore (little tunny). We moved in to the jetty when the tide began to come out and Julie picked up a nice snook.  

Fish Florida has provided a grant of 50 rods and reels to be given to the kids at the clinic. If you are not familiar with Fish Florida you should visit their website at http://www.ffra.org/ .  What you will find is that they receive the funds from the sale of Fish Florida License Plates, the one with the sailfish on it. Then, those funds are use to provide grants such as the one we received for out next clinic. So, if you have not already purchased a specialty license plate you might give this one some thought, all the proceeds go to educate kids about angling and conservation. Read the quote below from their website.

Fish Florida has been helping kids fish since 1998. You can help, too!  For every license plate sold, Fish Florida receives $22.00. These funds are used to buy fishing rods and reels for kids and provide family-oriented fishing activities.  Anglers and others purchased 14,486 Fish Florida license plates in 2005.  Out of Florida's 100 specialty license plates, we finished in 30th place!  It's a great start for a plate that has only been on sale since March 2004.  THANK YOU!  

Don’t Forget the Rule Change on Measurement of Fish 

Well, July 1st has come and gone and you now 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  

That’s what it’s all about. Good fishin’. 

Summer Fishing 

Summer patterns are definitely here. Try to fish early with top water lures in shallow water and move out deeper as the day goes on. This week we have caught fish on the High Roller RipRoller in electric chicken, the old reliable Zara Spook in white with a red head, and the yellow Top Pup with a white belly. The fish haven’t wanted to fast of a retrieve, so keep it medium. If you don’t get some strikes vary the speed and see if you can determine what they like.  

As the sun comes up and the temperatures rise, we have been moving out to deeper water. In fact, trout that had been striking Rip Tide Mullet in 3 to 4 feet of water had moved way out to 6 feet on the last trip. This can vary a lot, so be sure to check out the various depths in areas where you have caught fish before.  

We have gone over a week without a single redfish, so I am not sure what’s going on with them. There is still plenty of bait, but it seems to be in a different place everyday. You’ve got to do your scouting. Nevertheless, the week has produced sea trout, bluefish, jacks, and lady fish. Tarpon are rolling early, but when the sun peeks over the horizon or the morning clouds they tend to disappear.   

Two nearshore trips produced only on big jack and he broke off. We spotted a school and tossed in a live pogie for the hook up but then got impatient and put a little too much pressure on him and he broke off. When you have light tackle and big fish you have to remain patient and use the rod and the drag to your advantage. Bring them back an inch at a time and you might get a photo opportunity.  

I have heard good reports of big jacks and tarpon south of Sebastian, so expect those fish to show up soon. The nearshore bite has got to get better soon.   

Rule Changes 

Well, July 1st has come and gone and you now 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

Banana River July 2005 The best bite continues to be early in the morning. The hot temperatures are slowing things down a bit. Be sure to plan your trip so you leave the dock early and get back in before the day heats up. Thunderstorms are also likely in the afternoon hours. This week has produced a variety of fish but I still have to say the fishing is slow. Doug and his son Tanner came over for a half-day trip and scored on Spotted Sea Trout, Snook, Bluefish, Ladyfish and Jack Creavalle. The largest fish of the day was a jack that went about 4 to 4 1/2 pounds. Tanner had a blast bringing this one to the boat on light tackle. We also encountered a huge redfish. In fact it was an albino and he would have went about 34 to 36 inches. He swam by the boat, under the boat, away from the boat, you name it he did it. Tanner laid lures in front of him, he laid cut ladyfish in front of him - nothing would make him eat. Doug threw a lure near the big red and although I don't think he ate, he did get hooked just for a moment. Doug said he thought he foul hooked the big fish. As he handed the rod to Tanner the line went limp and the hookup was no more. I have never been around a big red like that which simply stayed in the area so long without spooking.. He didn't even spook when he got hooked. We saw him several more times. He just wouldn't eat!

On another day I had a chance to take my grandson out. We wanted to get one last fishing trip during the week before school started for him. The bite was very slow. I hooked one fish on a CAL paddle tail in electric chicken but failed to get him to the boat. I think it was a nice trout. Robert, my grandson, was fishing with live shrimp. The shrimp are often hard to come by this time of the year. The bait shop said they were getting live shrimp only every other day and about half as many as normal. Keep this in mind if you go out and want some live shrimp you may want to call ahead. At any rate, lets get back to the fishing. We got the last two dozen on this particular day. Robert was fishing the shrimp on a  Eagle Claw 3.0 red circle hook. He had several bites during the morning, missing most of them. I was trying to teach him to just start reeling instead of setting the hook. This is the normal practice when using circle hooks. If you set the hook you often will pull it right out of the fishes mouth. I am sure some of the fish were just to small to hook with the set up he was using, still he began waiting a little longer on the bite and then just reeling instead of setting the hook. He was rewarded with a nice spotted sea trout that would go close to 20 inches. Except for a small mangrove snapper, the trout was the only fish we brought to the boat in a short morning fishing trip. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

Banana River July 2005 The best bite is early in the morning during this hot July weather. A variety of fish have been caught, most of them coming before 9:00 in the morning. The top-water trout bite has been up and down, good one day and off the next. A few snook have been active in the early morning as well. I was fishing with a fellow guide the other day when we nearly ran over a 10 pound snook which appeared to be sleeping in the grass on a flat. The water was about 14 inches deep and the big ole' snook had his head buried in the grass and just laid there as we floated over top. I actually dropped my CAL series split tail vertically on his head before he moved. Caught a small snook that same day on a white Saltwater Assassin.

Some really large bull reds have moved in and the next few days, and hopefully weeks, will be fun to see if we cannot put some of them in the boat. These big fish seem to always be on the move and the best strategy for a hook-up is to locate them and set up in front of their movement and hope to catch one as they go by. They do not tend to linger in any one area and may run the length of the 4 to 5 mile flat that they are working. These big reds will hit top-water plugs if well placed and will also pick up a chunk of mullet or ladyfish when cast in front of them. If they go by you, simply run out a couple hundred yards and then motor down the flat to get in front of them and set up again. Vary your offerings until you find something they want to eat.

Tarpon have also been present, especially around some of the residential docks. We worked a school the other day by casting flies and lures at them without success. Then one of my anglers, Bill, from West Palm hooked one up on a live shrimp. It was a small juvenile tarpon but lots of fun on light tackle and the first tarpon for Bill so that made it special. We caught numerous small trout that day also and added a couple of slot sized trout on flies and live shrimp.

The biggest trout of the week was caught by John who came over from the West Coast with his friend Mike. We caught a variety of fish this day, almost all on live shrimp. They just did not want to hit artificial baits. When the day was over we had caught mangrove snapper, ladyfish, jack creavalle, and had a slam for the boat with trout, snook, and redfish. We also spotted more juvenile tarpon rolling very close to where we caught one earlier in the week but could not get them to strike. Just like other days, the bite was over by 9:00 and you might just as well give it up. It was encouraging  on this trip that there was nearly constant action and we caught fish in almost every area we tried. Mike and John took three nice trout home for the dinner table for them and their family. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

Banana River July 2005 The first week of July proved to be another tough week on the river. Never really had what you could call a good bite. The fish that were caught were caught early before the heat of the day seemed to slow everything down, including the anglers. July is always a month you want to target your fish early and get off the water before the heat and the afternoon thunder storms set in. The mullet are still present in large numbers. You want to fish in the area of the mullet and hope the fish have not already gorged on the numerous bait fish. Top water lures have gotten some action this week but the old standby, the CAL jug head rigged with an electric chicken colored split tail picked up the nicest fish of the week. Steve from Georgia hooked and boated a 27 inch snook that weighed in at 6 1/2 pounds. He caught the fish off of a ledge that went from about a foot to 3 foot of water. The big fish just swam an pulled for a while, like he didn't even know he was hooked. Steve skillfully worked him to the boat, where once he saw it decided to got the other way and Steve had to work him back again. We did a quick CPR session (catch, photo, release). After a couple of pictures we carefully revived the big snook to be sure he would be available for another encounter in the future.

With only a few additional hits in the area where the snook came in we moved to a shallow shoal at the end of a small spoil island where I had been seeing lots of mullet. They were there again. Steve quickly hooked up with an 18 inch trout on the same electric chicken rig. for the second week in a row we were thinking about a Slam, with a snook, sea trout and redfish. Steve had already caught the hard one, the snook and the easy one, the trout. Now if we could just ad a redfish. His wife Anna was fishing live shrimp under a Cajun thunder and had several strikes without a hook up. Then, the Cajun Thunder disappeared and Anna's rod bent over indicating a nice fish on the other end. Anna followed the fish up to the bow and back down the other side as the fish made every attempt to get off. In the end she guided a nice 22 inch spotted sea trout to the net and then to the live well. Later we moved to yet another shallow shoal the drops off into about 5 feet of water and Anna hooked up with about a 3 pound ladyfish that gave us a fantastic display of aerial acrobats before coming to the boat. She caught this Lady and one more on live shrimp under the Cajun Thunder. Both Steve and Anna worked hard to boat the few fish that we caught today. At least the fish were all quality fish. Steve slipped a chewed up electric chicken split tail in his pocket and remarked that he wanted to try the CAL split tail and paddle tail in electric chicken on some Georgia bass. You know what, I think it will work. We had to head back to the dock without the anticipated slam since a redfish never showed up on this day. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

Banana River: July 30 2004 We left the dock about 7:30 with anglers Edward and brother Danny. Neither had fished the Banana River before and wanted to give it a try. Edward brought along daughter Qyara and Danny brought his son Dustin. Both kids were 9 years old and and eager fishermen. In fact, Dustin caught the first fish, a small trout on a live shrimp. In the mean time Edward and Danny began catching trout on CAL split tails in the avocado color. This color was hot as usual. The trout ran on the small side, but there were plenty to be caught. Qyara hooked into a really big fish and fought it for about 5 minutes before it pulled off. We really wanted to know what she had hooked on the live shrimp, but it was not to be. Luck was a little against us today, as both Edward and Danny hooked good fish on the lures but did not get them to the boat. We finally moved to another location and added more trout, some small red fish, and a couple of blues. The reds were hitting on live shrimp. Dustin caught the first one and before the morning was over everyone had caught at least one red. None of the red fish were in the slot. At the end of the day the gang took trout, bluefish, and snapper home to the grill, none really braggin' size, but all fun to catch. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

Banana River: July 25, 2004 Obie and wife Lynn came over from near Orlando to try some East Coast fishing. Obie has years of fishing experience and is a frequent fisherman on the West Coast of Florida. Once again we were  hoping for some redfish action but it was not to be. The trout, however, were still plentiful. We caught numerous trout on lures and live shrimp. Four nice slot sized trout went home to the grill. Obie is a man after my own heart, he says its a shame to freeze the fish when you can eat them fresh. I think that is a tip we should all pay attention to. Just save enough fish to eat them fresh and go catch some more when you want fish again. They just taste better that way. The biggest fish of the day was a big gafttop sailcat. Lynn caught it using a live shrimp. Actually, after thinking about it, I think she caught a trout and while reeling it in the big cat inhaled the trout and the fight was on. The fish acted like a nice redfish and the anticipation was high until we finally got a look at the catfish. It was disappointing to see the catfish, but Lynn had a good time fighting the sailcat. We picked him up with the boga grip and it weighed just over six pounds. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

Banana River: July 22, 2004  The trout continue to he hot. Add in the jacks, ladyfish, blues, and a five pound gafttop sail cat and it makes an interesting day on the water. Started off really early again today. The fog was intense and were it not for GPS we never would have reached our spot. We navigated slowly in the darkness and the fog until we reached the spot as marked by the GPS system. We began fishing in very low visibility. When the sun came up and the fog lifted a little, we were right on the spot we intended. I began the day with Jim from Colorado. Jim is an avid fisherman and willing to go anywhere, any time. We fished early without much success and then returned to the dock to pick up Bob and his seven year old son (and my grandson) Robert. It was another rerun of the previous weeks fishing. The biggest trout of the day came on a piece of cut ladyfish, and who do you think caught it. You guessed it, the seven year old Robert. I love it when kids catch fish! That's what its all about.

Banana River: July 21, 2004 The trout are still hot on the Banana River. Fished with Will from Orlando and his brother Dan from Montana. Dan had son Garrett and grandson Eric along for the trip. Will and Dan had obviously fished a lot before. They were skilled in casting and technique. Garret, nineteen, was also an excellent fisherman. And Eric, at only nine years old, just never gave up. I think he would have fished all day. We began the day on a flat were redfish and trout had both been present. We began to catch trout right away on both avocado colored CAL split tails and live shrimp. We lost track of how many trout we caught this morning, but it was a lot. The reds never did show today. Will really wanted to get his brother Dan on a big red but it was not to be. We tried another spot near some rocky structure and added some more trout to the bag. We also caught jacks, ladyfish, and bluefish, mostly on the same avocado split tail. All in all it was a fun day of fishing. Don't forget, when fishing jigs in the summertime jig them slowly and bounce them along the bottom. The strike will often come as the jig falls back to the bottom.  As you crank your handle and the line becomes tight, be aware of the tension on the line if it is putting a slight bend in your rod. set the hook firmly but not to hard. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

Banana River: July 17, 2004 Got an early start today to beat the summer heat and the weekend crowds. Being on the water at 5:00 am is an experience in itself. Clouds remained from the evening rains and it was extremely dark and navigation was slow. The winds, although reported at 5 to 6, were white capping the river. A good morning to find some shelter from the wind. The hour between 5:00 and 6:00 am produced only two hookups and both pulled loose. One felt like a good fish. It turn out to be a preview of things to come, as more fish were lost today then boated. You always wonder what's going on when this happens. About 6:00 some fish could be seen and heard feeding eagerly on the surface. You could actually see the fish moving under the water as their movement activated the phosphorescent water. You could also see your lure doing the same thing. It is a stirring site. Two or three strikes but no hookups from this school. Finally, several small trout were willing to eat a white jerk-bait. Then, a nice sized bluefish ripped the same white jerk-bait and become air-born. These blues can be great fighters. Many blues came to the boat this day, they just seemed to be around. Many also cut through the 20 pound mono leader and made off with the various lures they bit. They were not particular, they struck white, rootbeer, and avocado without preference.

Finally, a really nice fish. A snook, about 24 inches hit a Capt. Mike's Flats Candy on a weighted jig head. It was the white color complete with beaded eyes. One other snook came to the boat on a rootbeer split tail from CAL. The biggest trout of the morning was a 16 inch fish that also took the white jerk-bait. A rat red took another CAL split tail in rootbeer to complete a snook, trout, and redfish slam. Even though the winds never did improve, it was one of those mornings that was just fun to be on the river. That's what its all about. Good Fishin'.

Banana River: July 7th and 8th, 2004 These two days produced very similar results. In both cases the intent was to fish early with artificials and then anchor up and free line some live shrimp. The only problem was, on the first day there were no live shrimp to be found. This will happen from time to time during the summer when the shrimp are harder to get and the bait shops do not get as many as normal. Fortunately, the fish did not seem to mind the fact that the shrimp had been frozen for a couple of days before being but on the hook. Chris, Diane, Ryan, and Aaron were from Ohio and were anxious to experiencing some salt-water fishing. They all succeeded in catching a variety of fish on the frozen shrimp. When you are fishing with shrimp you can expect to catch almost everything that swims and that was the case. Our catch included mangrove snapper, spotted sea trout, jack creavalle, and of course the always present pin fish and puffers. We did not catch any really big fish but we did catch quite a few. All in all it was a good day fishing.

On Thursday the 8th, the plan was essentially the same. Granddad Frank and his grandson's Jeff and John were vacationing on Cocoa Beach. We started the day off using artificials. Frank caught a nice 17 inch trout on a white jerk bait and Jeff hooked up with a big fish that we never got to identify because he broke off. Jeff's hook-up came on the same CAL avocado with red flake lure that has continued to be productive over the last couple of months. As we settled in to some bait fishing everyone caught a variety of fish. Today's catch included about     different fish, including trout, redfish, mangrove snapper, jack creavalle, pig fish, pin fish, and John even hooked about a 14 inch needle fish. Frank added an ugly toad fish to the tally. The dolphin were plentiful and provided added entertainment to the trip. At one point the manatee were coming by as if they were in a parade. We didn't count them, but as many as twenty swam buy to help us experience the vast variety of God's great outdoors. All in all it was another fun day on the river. Jeff, Frank, and John are shown in the picture with a nice trout. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

Banana River: July 3, 2004 I fished with my good friend Gary Craig today with an eye on some early morning snook and trout. Being a Saturday, we left the dock about 5:00 to beat the crowds and the July heat. The first fish to show any interest was ladyfish. The first one hit the avocado with red flake CAL split tail that I have been talking about all spring and now summer. This bait has been hot! I rigged it weightless this morning using a Daiichi twitching hook with a hitchhiker for attaching the lure. We both caught several more ladyfish throughout the day on various lures. At least one came on a top-water that Gary was casting.

The Jack Creavalle were also hanging around and seemed to hit almost anything that came their way. They were hitting shallow, deep, and in the middle of the water column. Jerk baits are always a good bet for these pole-bending fighters. I bent the barb back on my hooks to make these and the other fish I caught a little easier to release.

Smaller trout were also active. Gary caught trout on a DOA Terroreyz and also on what I call Karen's rig. My wife Karen, fishing with me one day, had something ate the tail off her Terroreyz so she just used the existing terroreyz jig head and slipped on one of the avocado spit tails from CAL. (By the way, if you didn't already know the CAL series is also a product from Mark Nichols at DOA) She proceeded to catch Snook, Trout, and a Flounder on the jerry-rigged bait. Now she won't use anything else. She says you gotta' have them big eyes.

I told Gary the story and he threaded an avocado split tail on his Terroreyz jig head. Wouldn't you know it, it worked for him to. May be something to this combo? If I remember right, Gary caught every species of fish that we caught this day on the rig. This included trout, ladyfish, jacks, and several bluefish up to 3 pounds. I also caught bluefish on the avocado split tail, rigged in the conventional method with a CAL jig head. We stopped fishing this morning about 8:00 and returned to the dock after catching a lot of fish and having a good time on the water.

Gary is the webmaster at Central Florida East Coast Fishing. For lots of great fishing information, including area fishing reports, you can visit him by clicking the link above. Well, that's what its all about. Good fishin'.

Banana River: July 2, 2004 After fishing the beach earlier in the week with out success I was ready for a river trip. The beach had offered plenty of bait, but no hook ups. I saw a couple schools of big jacks but no tarpon. The jacks would not cooperate, they just seemed to be cruising and not eating. The tarpon should be around just off the beach through September, so there will be plenty more opportunities to hook up a big one. Anyway, I fished the river this morning and picked up a real mixed bag. The jacks were everywhere. They even made it difficult to get a bait down to any other fish. I lost track of how many I hooked but it was several and they were, as always, lots of fun to catch on light tackle. The jacks were willing to hit almost anything you threw. I caught them on white jerk baits, rootbeer CAL split tails, and avocado with red flake CAL split tails. The trout were liking darker colors and preferred the rootbeer and avocado lures. A nice mangrove snapper also ate a rootbeer CAL. To add even more variety to the catch, a bluefish hit a white jerk bait rigged on a weighted hook. When you do pick up a blue, don't forget to check your leader because more often than not it will be weakened by the numerous and sharp teeth of the blues. It was one of those fun mornings on the water with a variety of fish coming to the boat. The largest trout was 16 inches; the largest snapper was a nice 14 inch fish; The single blue fish went about 17 inches; and the jacks ran from 1 to 6 pounds. That's what its all about. Good fishin'.

Banana River Report: July 29, 2003 After a beautiful sunrise with light southwest winds blowing, the first fish in the boat was about a 17 inch trout.  Dave from Richmond Virginia hooked the spotted beauty on a plastic jerk bait.  Additional prospecting with top waters and various colors of plastics just had no cooperation from the fish.  A switch to live shrimp changed their attitude and the bite was on.  Jerry, another Virginian, caught a nice mangrove snapper and then several others followed by both fishermen.  The largest trout of the day, about 22 inches, also came on live shrimp.  A few jacks showed to add some more fun to the morning fishing.  One group of ladyfish passed by and bashed glass minnows for about 5 minutes and then moved on.  By 8:30 the light wind had subsided and it began to feel like July. Hot.  The winds finally went calm and so did the bite.  Fish were few and far between after 9:00 or so, especially the bigger ones.  The east side of the river was generally dirty, while the west side was much clearer.  The southwest winds were piling lots of floating grass on the east side and tended to foul top water lures.  The last fish of the day was an under sized trout which ate a 5 inch Saltwater Assassin somewhere around noon.  The thunderheads were beginning to build and we decided to call it a day.  It was another good day on the river with a couple of good anglers from Virginia.  That's what its all about.  Good fishin'.

 
Banana River Report: July 25, 2003  Another great day on the water.  Trout, Snook, and Jacks.  The water in the river is very murky due to recent rains but it has not stopped the bite.  Trout continue to be plentiful and ready to hit plastic jerk baits.  The largest trout, about 22 inches, came on a bubble-gum colored jerk bait.  Also caught trout on a pearl colored Salt-water Assassin.  A nice 25 inch snook took a silver/glitter/pink jerk bait.  There was something going with those pinkish colored plastics today.  Remember this when the water is dirty, and pull out something in pink and give it a try.  The jacks were a little scattered today but managed to catch several.  After hooking and fighting one jack to the boat a dolphin came straight up out of the water about 4 feet from the boat.  What was in his mouth?  You guessed it.  The jack.  I was imagining all the line on the Shimano stripping at any second but the dolphin let go and the jack was retrieved.  It was a "bloody mess", literally as the jack was cut severely.  As soon as the jack hit the water on the release, the dolphin struck again and that jack was history!  That's what its all about.  Good fishin'.
Banana River Report: July 22, 2003  Fished with clients from Ohio today. A really nice family. Mom, dad, and two brothers 11 and 8 years old. All of them good anglers. The eleven year old was the first to score with a small trout on a top water lure. After other lethargic strikes in that area we moved to another flat that had been holding trout. Sure enough after a little prospecting and some help from diving birds, we found both trout and lady fish. Both brothers began to score heavily using lead head jigs with curly tailed plastics. The color of the day was red/white. We had numerous doubles and I think a triple or two as mom displayed her angling skills. Dad finally took time away from the video camera to make a cast or two. He caught a really nice 15 inch trout, the first sea trout of his life. To top off the day a sea cow and calf came gently along side the boat to give our visitors an up close and personal view of what a lot of the boating regulation controversy is all about. It was a great day on the water and I think we will see these Ohioans back again some day. Good Fishin'.
Banana River Report: July 20, 2003 Today was like a vacation day for me.  I took my grandson fishing near the locks.  Actually we started out on the flats without much success.  There were the usual small trout hitting on top water lures, but nothing to brag about.   So, we headed for some action using live shrimp.  One thing about fishing with kids, you have to catch something or they will get bored soon.  After two hours of spade fish, trout, jacks, pin fish, puffers, and one fish which stripped about half the line off his ultra-light spinning rig before breaking the 6 pound test line, we decided to try one more time before heading for the dock.  Kids can be so lucky. He hooked about a three pound blue fish.  When that action was over he said, "wow, my arms are sore, that blue fish could really pull.  I will post a picture of the blue on my website this week if you want to take a look. That's what its all about.  Don't forget to take a kid fishing. 
Banana River Report: July 16, 2003 Started off cloudy after heavy rains on Tuesday.  I did not mention it in my report yesterday, but when those clouds started building and the thunder boomed, it was only one-half hour until the deluge.  Fortunately I made the right decision and headed for the dock at Kelly Park.  I barely got the boat on the trailer and up in the parking lot.  I say this just to remind you that if you are coming to the coast to fish, pay careful attention to the cloud build-up, and if you hear thunder its probably time to exit. These summer thunder storms build rapidly and with the lightning can be extremely dangerous.  Now, back to the trip.  The flats continue to produce trout in early morning.  Top water lures are working fine in most areas although some have so much floating grass it tends to foul the lure.  One flat held a large school of pogies.  Although these baitfish often show up on the flats this is the first school I've witnessed this summer.  Later, while moving positions, we spotted a huge school of pogies moving down the middle of the channel.  This school was as big as a baseball infield.  We fished the edges of the school without success.  It was a little surprising not to find some species around this pod, because they are usually like candy to the fish.  My client from near Atlanta had never seen a live shrimp and wanted to do some bait fishing.  You can probably guess the results.  Everything in the river likes to eat shrimp and he caught a good variety of fish.  His first fish was a jack, which gave him a really good fight as they always do.  Many jacks followed that first one. I think he was hooked on salt-water fishing right there after the first one.  Through out the morning he continued to catch fish including flounder, mangrove snapper, a really nice 18 inch trout, and of course, the occasional pin fish and the ever present "puffers".  Numerous dolphin and manatees were present adding another dimension to his trip.  All in all, another good day on the river.  Good fishin'.
Banana River Report: July 15, 2003 Another calm day on the water but not much sun.  It felt good, for a July day, but the lack of sunshine makes it difficult to see through the water.  Redfish continue to roam the shallow waters close to shore.  Picked up one nice red on a Capt. Mike's top water in green and white.  A second red hit a root beer with silver flake plastic with a paddle tail.  This one is worth talking a little more about.  With a long cast already made the red became visible only 5 feet from the boat moving from the shore towards deeper water in a direct line that would pass under the bow.  The already cast lure was retrieved rapidly towards the boat until it was just in front of the cruising red where it was dropped to the bottom.  A pause, and the red turned on the root beer plastic and inhaled it.  He immediately striped about 20 yards of line and the fight was on.  A 30 inch red on a 7 foot light action rod, Shimmano Stradic 2500 spinning reel, and 8 pound test line.  That's what its all about.  Trout were available again, but still on the small size.  Haven't had a slot size trout this week.  Summer time jacks continue to give plenty of action just for fun!  Good fishin'.
Banana River Report: July 11, 2003 Decided to try the nearshore waters out of the Port today.  As you have probably heard from others, the pogies have been relatively hard to get.  Heavy pressure by many boats related to the weekend kingfish tournament made it look like the Spanish Armada on the beach.  I was targeting triple tail today, around the buoys but had no luck at all.  I talked with one other fisherman who came up and fished the same buoy I was fishing.  He reported no action this morning either.  He decided to head inside the port to the buoy that sets of the south jetty where he had some luck earlier in the week.  He turned his flats boat and headed west.  After a while longer I decided to call it a day and headed for the dock.  I passed this fellow fisherman on the buoy he had headed for and ask if he found anything.  He reported one hook up on a triple tail, but he lost him.  He also reported a hook up on a cobia that swam right up to the back of the boat as it floated near the buoy.  Unfortunately he lost the cobia also.  My only catch of the day was a hammerhead shark in the mouth of the port.  This was an interesting catch to me, not only because it was the first I ever hooked, but because only the day before I had head local guide, Jim Ross, tell of a huge hammerhead he saw while tarpon fishing out of Canaveral.  Same old story, you never know what might be tugging on the end of that line.  Good fishin'.
Banana River Report: July 10, 2003 Fished the river again today.  The water continues to clear up.  There are still areas of murky water on the flats but you can find clear water.  The mullet seemed spooky, but they were present in large numbers.  The winds were mild today and at one time shifted out of the west.  For a moment I thought I should have gone to the Port, the near shore waters may have been smooth.  A good condition for tarpon fishing.  But I didn't , so I continued my plan for the morning.  The trout are still small, but I did catch a couple of 15 inchers.  Today they like the Salt Water Assassin chartreuse / glow in the 5 inch variety. I found several Red's cruising the west bank near Horti Point in very shallow water.  They did not seem to be spooky, but they would not eat anything I had to offer.  An occasional snook would show itself occasionally around the docks.  Caught one snook all day, also on the chartreuse / glow Assassin. All in all a good day, and once again I finished off with some Jack action.  They were not crashing bait like earlier in the week, but I did find them and they were eager to eat.  Good Fishin".
Banana River Report: July 8 2003 Had a lazy trip today.  Did not hit the water until about 8:00 so the chances for a nice gator trout were small.  Actually, I guess they were zero.  The small trout are still hanging around in about two feet of water and the lady fish are cruising the same territory.  Like so many late starts, the fishing was slow.  Thank goodness for those jacks.  They showed up again and provided some great action.  Today, they would hit anything from top water to jig heads with plastic skirts.  They hit every thing from red/white, to tan with silver flakes.  When I find the jacks like this, I will use some of the jerk baits that have been mauled by trout.  It doesn't matter that they don't have a tail, or have a chunk taken out of them.  Simply string the body, what ever is left on a jig head an get ready for some action.  When the Jacks are on a feeding frenzy they hit almost anything.
Banana River Report: July 7, 2003 The water clarity has improved significantly.  The southeast winds have blown much of the floating grass of the flats on the east side of the river.  It is at least possible to use a top water again.  The trout are still biting but they are all small.  Caught about a dozen trout, biggest was about 14 inches.  Caught a 22 inch snook near the shore around some rocks, and finished up on a gang of jacks!  Every fish I caught today was on a pearl white jerk bait.  They just did not seem to want any other color.
Banana River Report: July 3, 2003 The water remains murky and the fishing is generally slow in the river.  Plastic jerk baits are still catching lots of small trout.  Top water fishing, which is generally best early and late in the day, is hampered by floating grass.  This is a normal condition for the summer months and can't really be avoided.  There are a few areas where the surface lures will work, but not many.  Just change your tactics to weedless jerk baits and keep on truckin'.  The redfish have not wanted to hit the artificials, but a juicy shrimp will score a hook-up if you find the reds. There are a few blues showing up on the ocean side of the Canaveral Lock, so it won't be long until we should pick some up in the river.
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