Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Just Fishin Radio DVD On Sale

Ahoy there Anglers,

I want to thank all of you who have subscribed to my Fishing Reports for another year. I know some of you have been faithfully receiving my reports each month now for 9 years. I hope you have all enjoyed reading them and viewing photos of some of the most wonderful people, my customers, and their catches. I'm looking forward to writing them in 2009 and hope you all enjoy them throughout the coming year.

I want to also thank all the listeners to our WOKV "Just Fishin" Radio Show each and every Saturday morning from 6:00am to 8:00am on stations 690 AM & 106.5 FM. Captain Mike, Adam and I enjoy doing the show and we encourage anyone with any questions about fishing, boating, rigging, species of fish, baits, lures, etc. to please call our show at 904-340-0690 or *690 for AT&T wireless customers and let us help you to target your favorite fish. You, the listeners, have made us the "Number 1 listened-to outdoor show" in Northeast Florida again and we appreciate it. Please keep us tuned in on your radios and we'll keep living up to your standards. I'm amazed that we have faithful listeners call from time to time from Lynchburg, Va., South Carolina, Georgia and all the way down to West Palm Beach, Florida even. I want to thank ALL of you!

Also, Captain Mike Darveau and I have our first DVD video out in the Just Fishing Series in case you haven't heard. This first video is our Redfish Series. It's an hour and 14 minutes long with some great footage of how to hook live & cut baits, a couple of ways to hook Gulp baits, what lures we like to use and how to use them. See redfish pushing wakes in 8" of water, redfish working baits, shorelines, and redfish working with the sought after Golden Slipper with his back and tail exposed in 5" of water. See actual top water strikes as we work the lures. This is not your usual 30 minute video. After showing rigging then it's an hour of casting and catching nice redfish to 32" in the shallows. Not the normal "when the camera comes on the fish is already on" video. You see us casting AND working baits, lures and see the strikes.
If you're interested in getting your copy of our first of many Series to come, please call or e-mail me and I can either meet you at the ramp or ship one to you. They're only $20 and if you need it shipped it's $4 extra for shipping and tracking. They've only been on sale for a week and a half and our first shipment is almost gone already. We're ordering more copies today so get your's soon. If you like to catch redfish you'll love this footage.

To ALL my customers. Thank you for allowing me to be of service to you for another great year. I appreciate your business and really enjoy watching people catch nice fish and since I'm fortunate to have some really great customers, I look forward to having you aboard again in 2009.

I hope everyone has a healthy, happy and prosperous NEW YEAR !

You can say what you want about the South but,
you never hear of anyone retiring and moving up North,,,

Captain Vic Tison
Co-Host of WOKV's 'Just Fishing' Radio Show, Saturdays 6:00am to 8:00am
United States Coast Guard Licensed Captain
International Game Fish Assoc. Certified Captain
Regional Director for the Florida Guides Assoc.
Member of the National Assoc. of Charterboat Operators
Member of the American Professional Captain's Association
Sponsor of The Inshore Saltwater Anglers Club

Vic2Fish & Adventures, Inc.
P O Box 28208
Jax., Fl. 32226
Web Site

Neither Captain Vic nor Vic2Fish & Adventures, Inc. claims any responsibility for any injury or loss of property arising out of any party using these Fishing Reports.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Foggy Banana River Fishing

Foggy Morning on the Banana River

With all the holiday activities I had not been on the water for a week and was anxious to see what was cookin’. I took my time getting started because of the heavy fog I saw outside my window. As it began to lift a little I hooked up the Maverick and headed for the dock. I was greeted by a foggy morning as I unloaded a Kiwanis Park on Merritt Island and headed south on Newfound Harbor.

With the wind light out of the west I decide to return to the docks on the west banks of the Banana River. Before Christmas lots of sheepshead (I’m still trying to catch one on fly), black drum and scattered redfish were present under and between the docks.

My first stop was an area that includes an oyster bar and usually has sheepies all over it this time of year. Not today though, so I started south scanning the bank for signs of fish. I found an occasional sheepshead, or maybe two at a time. They were all spooky and did not hang around to play.

One area has a long distance between docks and is characterized by a very sandy and shallow shoreline. About half-way down this section of shore I spotted a couple really nice spotted sea trout. I made several casts with a black fly, but no one was interested. This area, which probably warmed up much quicker than some of the other areas, was populated with at least a dozen nice trout and the only mullet I had seen all morning.

I continued my search in a southerly direction. Along the way there were a few redfish singles, more trout, more sheepshead, one juvenile tarpon (I bet there were some more around somewhere), and two really nice snook. I set a way point in my head for the dock that held the snook with the idea of coming back at lunch time.

The rest of the morning was more of the same as I continued fishing with fly rod only. As lunch time approached I headed back to the dock where I saw the monster snook earlier. The wind had switched around to the southeast, so I positioned the boat where I could float a popping cork back under the dock while I ate my lunch. I had brought some frozen shrimp along just for such an occasion.

I cast out about a foot under the dock and fed out more line so the float would continue back under the dock. With the bail open I laid the rod down and began to eat my sandwich. I guess I was paying too much attention to eating and not enough to fishing. I heard a loud splash only to look up and see a fish and my bobber airborne on the opposite side of the dock.

I quickly laid down my sandwich and reached for the rod, but it was too late! Not much to do but bait up again the send the bobber back under the dock. This time I ate with one hand and held the rod with the other. Almost as suddenly as before the bobber was gone and I began to reel expecting the circle hook to do its job. The hook did its job, but the leader did not. I have to think it had a nick in it or something, because when the line came tight it snapped under the weight of the fish.
I was zero for two and that was the last chance I had that day. Some days you just have to be satisfied with enjoying the beauty of God’s great outdoors.

fogy morning

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

Captain Ron Presley

Monday, December 29, 2008

East Central Florida Fishing

Mosquito Creek Outdoors Indian River lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast,
December 2008

By Captain Tom Van Horn

As we ring in the New Year, it is once again time to reflect back on the events and accomplishments of 2008, and to count our many blessings. We are truly blessed to live in Central Florida where angling and spending time on the water are year round endeavors. I am also thankful for another great year of fishing with my clients and friends on the esteemed waters of the Indian River Lagoon estuary. Thank you all for a year filled with adventure on the water, and many great memories.

In preparation for this forecast, I first reviewed last year fishing photos, and I was taken back by the number of quality fish caught and the enjoyment expressed on the faces of the victorious anglers. My good friend and mentor Captain Rodney Smith always suggest I begin with the end in mind, and the end in this case is conserving and protecting the resource we all love and cherish, the Indian River Lagoon system. This report is not only an expression of my thoughts and experience, but also those of many within my circle of influence, and together we can make the difference in promoting the use, and not the abuse of resources we love and respect.

Doug Elliott with a Mosquito lagoon Black Drum

Before I get started with January's outlook, I'd like to provide a short recap of last weeks fishing. First, the American shad have arrived with the first shad of the 2008/2009 season caught yesterday aboard Three Quarter Time at the mouth of Deep Creek by Andrew McCullough. The crappie bite was also very good on Lake Monroe this past week with a number of reported limits being taken. And last but not least, calm and clear conditions have rewarded anglers with some nice catches of black drum, redfish and sea trout on the Mosquito and North Indian River Lagoons.

Andrew Elloitt with an Upper Slot Mosquito Lagoon Redfish

Winter on the east central coast of Florida cannot be defined by any specific dates, but rather by the temperature differences generated by passing cold fronts as they swing south across the state. These variations are subject to change from year to year, and they are impossible to predict. On the average, daytime temperatures usually range from the 50's in the morning to around the 70's by afternoon. Likewise, water temperatures average in the upper 60's, but they can drop as low as the 50's during extended cold periods. On warm sunny days, water temperatures can increase as much as ten degrees on the shallow flats and sandbars. All of these factors greatly affect the species targeted and the methods used.

Inlet fishing has been good this past month weather permitting, with Sebastian and Ponce De Leon Inlets proving to be the most productive. There are still some reports of flounder moving through the inlets, but the bite has slowed considerably. On the inside at Sebastian Inlet, look for good numbers of pompano, ladyfish, and jacks to be located on the flats both north and south of the inlet cut and in the area of the monument. Also, January is the month when the breeder size redfish move in and feed in the mouth of the inlets during the last part of the falling tide. As the tidal currents slow down, the large redfish push up to the surface chasing baitfish. These monsters are brood stock, so please handle and release them with care.

Along the beaches, pompano will remain the staple for the majority of surf anglers, with a mixed bag of whiting, slot size black drum, Spanish mackerel, and bluefish added in. Try fishing with sand fleas (mole crabs) if you can catch them, cut fresh clams, or freshly peeled live shrimp.

Near-shore, January is the month when the tripletails become consistent on the Port Canaveral buoy line, and their numbers will increase as the month progresses. The other hot item near-shore is king mackerel holding along the 70 to 90 foot reefs of North Pelican and 8A. Also, bottom fishing on deep structure should remain consistent as long as the weather holds. Look for snapper, cobia and sea bass in depths of 80 to 140 feet, and grouper and amberjack along the 22-fathom ridge and deeper.

On the flats during the winter, redfish and sea trout will seek the warmest water they can find. Start out working the deeper edges of the flats in the morning and then move into the warmer wind protected flats around mid-day to late afternoon. An early morning start is not necessary this time of year if the weather is cold. Additionally, both redfish and sea trout love to warm themselves in the shallow water sand pockets "potholes" within the grassy flats. On colder days, focus your attention on the deeper holes using a very slow presentation. When targeting redfish and trout in these deeper holes, I prefer using shrimp imitation baits like DOA Shrimp in the clear or nightglow colors fished extremely slowly. I also like to add the element of sound to the bait by inserting a Woodie's Rattle into the soft plastic bait. Other species encountered in January are black drum, flounder, sheepshead, jacks, Spanish mackerel, and bluefish. Also, January is one of the best months to target tailing black drum on the flats, especially in the Banana River "No-Motor Zone". Both live shrimp and blue crabs are the preferred bait for black drum, but they will eat both artificial and fly when presented properly.

Last but definitely not least, January marks the beginning of the American Shad run up the St. Johns River. Last year, I started catching shad on January 13th and the run remained steady through February, but as stated earlier in this report, the shad have already started to arrive in the Marina Isle, Lemmon Bluff, and Lake Harney areas. As the month progresses, the shad will continue moving south (up stream) into the Econ Creek and Puzzle Lake areas.

Captain Tom Van Horn
Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
407-416-1187 on the water
407-366-8085 office

Visit for your outdoor adventure needs, its Where the Adventure Begins!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Trolling Grouper, Shooting Hogfish

Fishing Report 26 December 2008:

Capt Jay Schroeder of CJ Flats Saltwater Charters turned his attentions from Inshore to Nearshore with incredible results. Captain Jay reported the Nearshore Black and Red Grouper bite continued to be on fire as water temperatures in the Gulf hovered in the mid-60's. Rock piles and ledges from 15' to 45' were holding keeper sized Grouper North of Anclote on Saturday. Trolling with diving plugs like Manns Magnum Stretches continued to work in locating fish and exploring new spots; however Capt Jay stated medium to large sized Pinfish hooked through the nose on a classic fish finding rig with a 4.0 circle hook, 3' - 50lbs fluorocarbon leader, and just enough lead to keep it on the bottom was the set-up of choice for bigger fish. Frozen Spanish Sardines and cut Squid fished the same manner also produced results.

For those who were willing to run a little further Offshore, tackle-busting Amber Jack could be found off wrecks in 80' or greater. Capt Jay recommends vertical jigging or dropping large baits midway through the water column and holding on tight. These bruisers didn't take long to strike and offered white-knuckled action for all on board. Finding keeper sized AJs was easy; horsing them to the surface was the challenge. Fishing Grouper at these deeper depths proved challenging, especially off ledges in 90' of water; American Red Snapper were much more aggressive then the targeted Grouper and put up a fight all the way to the surface. Just remember American Red Snapper season is closed and to handle these fish with care...

And for the crazy few willing to leave the comfort of topside, Capt Jay reported Hogfish were still abundant Nearshore in as little as 25' of water and provided great sport for spear fishing. Visibility was 10-feet plus out of Clearwater beginning at 25' and only improved as depths increased. Hogfish made for a welcomed addition to the dinner plate and in Capt Jay's opinion, are arguably the best eating fish the Gulf Coast has to offer. For more information regarding fishing in Tampa Florida or to book a trip with CJ Flats Saltwater Charters, contact Captain Jay Schroeder at 1-877-463-5420 or visit

Capt Jay Schroeder
CJ Flats Saltwater Charters

Friday, December 26, 2008

Panhandle Fishing Report 12-26-08

Report for 12/26/2008
Salt Water

A few good reports coming in on grouper caught trolling Mann’s Stretch lures around the inshore wrecks of Dog Island and Mexico Beach. Some good amberjack and grouper with a few black-fins caught off the deeper wrecks like the Zinnia. The big redfish have not quite turned on in this area however, around the bell shoals and the buoy line; a few were brought in. Use any big artificial lure like the 5-inch Calcutta flash foil or trolling a stretch 25' will cover more ground. The key for the reds still the birds, just look for any significant bird activity and more than likely you will find the reds working below them.

Capt. White with huge redfish

Capt. Pete White from Port St. Joe with a Redfish

Not much change here, larger trout continue to move into the intercoastal canal. Lots of fresh water influx from the rivers has slowed the trout bite beyond the T and the best catches are from the T to the George Tapper Bridge. The PSJ marina basin offers the most consistent trout bite in the area. Live shrimp Carolina rigged or on a ¼ oz jig-head working well, but the DOA shrimp is working well. In the canal, you can also catch some nice sheepshead. Whiting are still with us and are caught in good numbers using fresh shrimp.

Grouper are being caught more consistently closer to shore. Try areas out to 10 miles. Amberjack are still plentiful over the bridge trusses and large artificial reefs from 8 – 14 miles offshore.


Our very own Gary caught this 30" Gag Grouper approximately 2 miles offshore.

Effective January 1st 2009, the total aggregate Grouper limit will remain at 5 fish. But, Black/Gag Grouper will be reduced to 2; while Red Grouper will remain at 1. The remaining portion of the limit can be made up with other Grouper species including Warsaw and Scamp. Also, Amberjack and Trigger Fish size limits will change in State waters to 30” for AJs and 14” for Triggers.

Bull Reds are being caught with live shrimp and pin fish around the jetties. Trout have moved into the creeks and bayous with the cooler temperatures. The Steam Plant is producing a lot of fish. Live shrimp will produce the most fish.

We are ending a fantastic year of fishing with a bang and looking forward to 2009. At the jetties there have been plenty of Sheepshead, some Reds and surprisingly this month there has been a very good supply of keeper grouper. In the bay the trout have been good in the east end of the bay mostly east of the 331 bridge. On the west end it has been mostly reds and flounder around the bridges with some white trout action in the harbor.

In the gulf the flounder bite is good and some grouper not too far off shore, both Gags and Red grouper. Off at the rigs the tuna bite has been good and a few Wahoo and Dolphin are being caught. The big surprise has been Killer Whales spotted in the gulf. I guess they are coming in for there snapper dinner fix.

Half Hitch Tackle
2206 Thomas Dr
Panama City, FL 32408

Fishing Report prepared by Half Hitch Tackle Staff.

The Captains Corner Fishing Report is provided by local charter captains and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Half Hitch Tackle.

This report is dedicated to the memory of Al Hubbard.
Al Hubbard was a field editor for Florida Sportsman magazine, an outdoor writer for the News Herald and a board member of the Florida Outdoor Writer's Association.
Mr. Hubbard was also the owner of Al's Outdoors Outfitting Services.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Indian River Christmas Fishing

Fishing Report
Fort Pierce - Port St Lucie - Vero Beach - Jensen Beach
December 23, 2008

This year has come and gone so fast and I would like to thank everyone for making 2008 full of great memories and fun adventures on the water. We hope that you and your family has the most wonder of Holiday Seasons and wish you the very best for 2009!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Captain Charlie and Eva Conner

Some great fishing weather awaited anglers this past week on the Indian River. Mild temperatures and very little winds to allow boats to spread throughout the river and ocean in search of their favorite species of fish. It was unusual to have so many great fishing days without another cold front to stir things up again. Even the fish were enjoying the weather and we found them hungry as well.

Big sheephead are around the river now. Each day we caught lots of three to five pound sheephead around docks and structure along the Indian River. Kevin and Gordon had some non-stop action and the next day Jack, Bill and Steve enjoyed the same fun and even caught some snook and grouper as well. Dave and Cody Howard were next to wrestle some of these big sheephead from under the docks. Young Cody mastered it well and also found a variety of fish to keep his rod bending. We had lots of fun this week on the water!

Trout have been holding in three to five feet on the grass flats. We had a number of trout along with all the jacks and ladyfish you cared to tangle with. The youngsters were all smiles this week with the quick and seemingly unending action. There were some redfish caught around some of the docks this week. You can also find some hanging in the shallows under the warmth of the sun. All our fish this week were caught on DOA CAL jerk baits or live shrimp on a DOA jig head. There is some fast furious action awaiting you out there on the river!

Black drum, sand perch and sheephead topped the list on the catwalks and bridges this week. Live or dead shrimp works great for these areas. Pompano around the Power Plant and in the surf has been the catch for those anglers. The jetties continue to hold Spanish mackerel, bluefish and jacks for those with a silver spoon. It's been a fantastic week on the water!

Tip of the Week: It's almost the end of 2008 and many will soon be thinking of resolutions for the coming year. While my usual ones are always to lose weight and keep healthy, I will set a few as well for the water.....

1. Protect our grass flats. Idle speed in the shallows and use a trolling motor or push pole the majority of the time. Prop scars can take years to heal if at all.
2. Pick up some kind of trash from the water on each adventure. There is always something floating around in the river and picking up something can only help in keeping our river cleaner.
3. Teach as many of our youth the art of fishing. Etiquette, casting skills, safe boating and using artificials are only a few of the many things that we can teach our future anglers.
4. Practice catch and release. Safe handling and releasing of fish can help insure a population for generations to come.
5. It's all about having fun! Enjoy your time on the water and make it enjoyable for everyone around you.

As always, remember, fishing is not just another's an ADVENTURE!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
Captain Charlie Conner

(Captain Charlie Conner has been fishing the Indian River Lagoon for over twenty-five years. Specializing in light tackle fishing in Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Jensen Beach, Stuart and Port St Lucie, Florida. His weekly South Indian River Lagoon Fishing Report gives you the latest inshore fishing information for the Treasure Coast area on the Indian River Lagoon.}

Tarpon Springs Trout

Like it or not (I like it), winter has come to Florida. Trout is the name of the game right now and limits of fish between the 2 and 5lb mark have been the norm on good weather days. Unfortunately, the bite slowed to a crawl after the last cold front.. Redfish have been around and on the right tides we've been getting some in the upper slot range; from 5-7lbs. Next week is predicted to be warmer so look for Jan. to have a nice start.

Tampa Bay Fishing
Captain Clay Eavenson

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How To Catch Sheepshead

Fishing Report 12/23/2008 – Capt. Terry Frankford

It's that time of year again, the sheepshead are moving in. Angler's aboard the Reelin & Chillin have caught plenty around docks in the Sarasota Bay area. Inshore redfish, sheepshead, and ladyfish have tightened lines. Offshore little tunny, mangrove snapper, and key west grunts have made it to the live well.

Liz and Stewart Crast with a couple reds.

A couple fish tails enjoyed aboard the Reelin & Chillin:

Pat and Rose Bryne with son Stewart, and daughter-in-law Liz had a fast, exciting start with things slowing down during the rest of the day. First cast to a dock in north Sarasota Bay Liz was fighting a twenty-seven inch redfish. She did manage to get it to the boat, a great battle using only ten pound test line. Later that afternoon Stewart landed a nice twenty-four inch red.

Donald Roupe, daughter-in-law Kim, and grandson George had a great sheepshead run. Donald started with a jack crevalle to get things rolling then he picked up a nice sheepshead, Kim and George also caught several sheepshead. We released several smaller fish, ending up with five nice ones in the live well. A nice bag of skinless/boneless fillets was sent home with this crew to enjoy for dinner.

Captain's Tip - Going for Sheepshead
Go small on the bait when fishing for Sheepshead, they need to munch once or twice and then swallow. If the bait is to large they will only have part in their mouth, when you set the hook it just pulls the bait off the hook, you come up empty. Here are a couple options that work for me:

If I'm specifically targeting sheepshead I will use an Arkie jig head - 1/8th ounce unpainted. I use twenty pound test mono leader tied to my ten pound test line from the reel. Take a regular to small size shrimp - pinch the tail off - thread the shrimp on starting at the tail - you want the jig head at the tail, and the hook coming out under the shrimps belly. They hook barb end should be hidden in the legs. The Arkie jib has a gold hook that matches the shrimps leg color.

Many times I'm still targeting reds this time of year, my standard rig is ten pound test from the reel, twenty pound test mono leader about twenty-four inches in length, a #4 split shot eighteen inches from the hook on the leader, and a #4 MUTU Owner Circle hook. When I run into sheepies I don't want to take the time to re-rig, what I do is buy select shrimp for reds, and regular to small shrimp for the sheepshead. When I run into sheepshead I just use the smaller shrimp, run the hook through the head starting underneath and coming up through the top of the head. The hook point should be pointing the same direction as the barb on the shrimps head. This method works great fooling the sheepshead,the hook is buried in the head of the shrimp, just make sure the shrimp is small. You will be amazed at the size of fish you can catch on such a small bait.

Tight Lines & Good Times,

Capt. Terry Frankford
Reelin & Chillin Charters Inc.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Shallow Grass And Potholes For Reds

Capt. Rick Grassett’s Fishing Report for 12/7 through 12/20/2008

Anglers fishing with me on the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught trout, bluefish, little tunny, ladyfish and pompano during the past couple of weeks. In addition, we had lots of shots at tailing reds in Gasparilla Sound.

Several trips in Sarasota Bay during the week of Dec. 8th had good action on deep grass flats. Nick Reding, from St. Louis, MO, caught trout and bluefish with me at Stephens Point on Ultra Hair Clouser flies and Crease flies. Walt Poxon, from MN, and his brother and sister-in-law, Bill and Sue Poxon, from Sarasota, also fished the same area with me that week. They had fast action with trout, blues and a pompano on DOA Deadly Combos and CAL jigs with shad tails. Mark and Olivia Fisher, from Houston, TX, fished a couple of instructional fly fishing trips in Sarasota Bay with me and became proficient enough to catch a few trout with Ultra Hair Clouser flies.

The following week Glen Urban, from MA, Mike Perez from IN, Jeff Hanna from Englewood, FL and Clark Keator, from Orlando, FL fished several days with me in Sarasota Bay and Charlotte Harbor. Although we spent lots of time targeting reds and had plenty of shots, they didn’t eat for us. We targeted reds in potholes in Sarasota Bay and tailing on shallow grass flats in Gasparilla Sound with flies. We caught and released trout, blues and ladyfish on deep grass flats with Clouser flies.

On Friday, Dec. 19, Sarasota Herald-Tribune Outdoors Editor, Steve Gibson, fished with me. Little tunny and tripletail on flies was our goal and we were successful. We covered a lot of water to find a few fish but it paid off. We found a large area of bait, deep in the water column, with birds rafted up sitting on the bait off Casey Key. We waited them out and eventually small schools of little tunny began to blitz through the area giving us a few shots. We hooked 3 fish on Gibby’s Myakka Minnow and my Snook Minnow fly fished on intermediate and intermediate sink tip fly lines and landed one, about 10-pounds. We also found and hooked a 10 to 12-pound tripletail on a crab trap float in about 30’ of water off Siesta Key. The fish was hooked on a chartreuse Clouser fly but managed to pull the hook loose when the leader snagged the crab trap float line. It was a nice one!

Tides will improve next week as we head towards a new moon on Dec. 27th. Reds should be tailing in shallow grass flats of Gasparilla sound and should be in potholes of Sarasota Bay. The fastest action should be with trout, blues and ladyfish on deep grass flats. I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

Tight Lines,

Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.

FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
(941) 923-7799
E-mail and

Photo DSC04872 (Steve Gibson photo)-Capt. Rick Grassett with a little tunny caught and released in the coastal gulf off Casey Key on a Grassett's Snook Minnow fly.

Fishing Offshore Is Off The Hook

Mosquito Creek Outdoors Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report, December 20, 2008

By Captain Tom Van Horn

After a windy start to the week, the weather cleared up and an Indian summer settled in on the Indian River Lagoon coast in December. While two thirds of the country are dealing with snow and ice, I had to break out my winter shorts again as we experienced afternoon temperatures in the 80's.

Although the wind settled down inshore, offshore seas were a bit challenging most of the week. For those who made it out, the kingfish bite was off the hook on the near-shore reef of 8A, and there have been some really nice tripletail and cobia showing up in the afternoons south of Cape Canaveral once the sun heats the water.

On the flats, foggy mornings have set the stage for some gorgeous conditions with lots of tailing redfish. On Thursday I had the opportunity to pole my good friend Paul Macinnis around the No-Motor Zone where we found tailing redfish right away, but the only luck Paul had was bad luck as he missed the first five fish for one reason or another. Fishing is fishing, and sometimes the fish are the winners. After about two hours, Paul finally connected with a nice redfish and we got the skunk out of the boat. During the same trip, we were joined by Captain John Kumiski who was solo in his kayak. Johns luck was much different as the fish god smiled upon him with six redfish on six shots casting a fly rod nonetheless. John is one of the best fly angler's I know, and he made each cast count, and he schooled us on how it is suppose to be done.

Tomorrow, I'm shifting gears as I'm off to Lake Monroe is Sanford for some crappie fishing with my good friend Charlie McCullough who has been having great success all week. Additionally, Charlie has been catching several American shad each trip, so the shad are moving up the river, just in time for Christmas, more on the crappie fishing in my next report.

With that said, I would like to thank all of you for a great year of fishing in 2008. Thank you for fishing with me and supporting this report with quality up to the minute information. Together we caught a lot of fish and we had great fun on the water. Also, I hope you wishes come true and you get the opportunity to spend some time on the water over the Holidays, and I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas.

As always, if you have any questions or need information, please contact me.

Good luck and good fishing,

Captain Tom Van Horn
Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
407-416-1187 on the water
407-366-8085 landline

Visit for your outdoor adventure needs, its Where the Adventure Begins!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Silver Trout On Beaches

Fishing for the Holidays 12/7/2008

Hello friends. I hope you've had a great year. It's been interesting that's for sure. Gas, the economy, Obama. One thing I know, the fish don't pay any attention to that stuff, thankfully. Although, they may have noticed fewer boats running them over during the middle of that fuel hike. $4.00 plus per gallon kept a lot of people off of the water.

big 'ol trout

Well that's all changed and so has the weather. As the Christmas holidays approach, we are on the roller coaster ride of cold fronts again just like every year previous. This forces us to change tactics to keep catching fish. Live Shrimp, Shrimp imitation baits, and jerkbaits become the norm. Slow movements are the only way to get lethargic fish to interested. That is the biggest mistake anglers make this time of year. Patience is the key here. I have been targeting the Trout in the morning with great success. Big live Shrimp soaking on the bottom in the potholes around oyster bars or off the edges around the spoil islands has yielded large gator Trout. Inshore, this tactic can also get you hooked up to a nice Redfish also. Most Reds are hanging in the deeper canals 5 - 10 feet deep where the water tends to be warmer with the dark bottom soaking up the heat, but on warm days, they will move in a little shallower to forage on pinfish and crustaceans near the bars. Gulp Shrimp is an awesome bait to work slowly around the bars attracting Reds, Sheepshead and anything else that swims. The Silver Trout are showing up on the hard sandy bottom along the beaches, and respond well to the smelly Gulps. These fish are a good alternative to the Spotted Trout until they come back in season in the South region where I fish. Snook are on hold for me 'til the water temp comes up in the spring. I leave these fragile fish alone while they try to survive through the winter.

In other news, most of you know, I no longer have my Silver King flats boat. I have moved up to a Dorado 23 built here in Ozona, Florida. This will be a Tarpon fishing machine for Boca Grande Pass as well as a more versatile boat all around. I look forward to getting all of you out on it for a great day of fishing.

Also, most of you know, I am also a singer/songwriter in the Tampa Bay area. I finally have my debut CD arriving in a couple of weeks from now. I hope you will give it a listen.
Call me at 727-365-7560 to book trip for now or reserve your spot for Tarpon season, May through June. See ya soon!

Capt. Brian

Capt. Brian Caudill

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Jensen Beach Fishing Report 12-13-08


Wind from the south east, wind from the east , the wind was from all direction changing daily. Not sure the day you chose to go but you had to plan around the wind that was a guarantee.
For the surf angler it was either a one ounce or four ounce day, wind from the west it was one ounce any another direction it was four. But it was Blue fish and more Blues from the beach, cut bait or spoons they have been a hungry group all week. The Whiting, Croakers and Mac's were there if you could get your bait past the Blue fish. For the long cast it was Pompano and it was a good bite you just had to get out there, sand fleas and clam strips were the baits of choice. Good bite at the beach, the fish do not mind the wind but it can be tough on the angler.

The causeways were the place to beat the wind. There is always flat water to fish no matter the wind. Lots of Black Drum, Blues, Mac's, Jacks and Pompano. The Pompano this week were there on the incoming tide, the bridges at the east end of the causeways were most productive. Docs Goofy jig for the bridge, strong wind just use a bigger jig, let the jig down, when you touch bottom pick it up and let it down, they find fish. Sheep Head and Drum the favored has been shrimp and clam strips if the Blue fish will leave your bait alone. Snook will take most baits now that the season is closed (12/15 thru 2/1), how do they know?

The boat anglers have had plenty to do tight on the east bank, excellent pompano from Sail Fish flats north to Indian River Plantation using Nylures and sand fleas again catch that incoming tide and it makes no difference what time. Launching your boat at Little Mud Creek, start fishing at the mouth and go north, good Red Fish bite using shrimp, gold spoons and soft rubber swim baits. Reds like the cooler water and again if you can catch the high tide they will rooting around in the tree lined shore. The Pompano are south in the Herman's Bay area, drift slowly across the flats and you will them skip them, now you know where they are the rest is up to you. Plenty of Blues, Macs, Jacks and Lady fish to keep you busy and those pesky Trout are every where.

Off shore the action started on the second color line, small Kings (perfect for the grill), Dolphin in the 15 pound class and plenty of Sail Fish if you were not in the tournament. The wind has made thing pretty sporty out there, check all your weather sources, then you make the call.

In this wind let safety make the call, this is south Florida and tomorrow thing will quiet.......
till next week.....Snook and Trout are closed,,Henry

Snook Nook Bait & Tackle

3595 NE Indian River Drive
Jensen Beach, FL
(Just South of the Jensen Causeway)
(Since 1949)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

ChangeTacticks For Fishing Success

December 12, 2008 – Transition Time
December is the month where autumn gives way to winter in central Florida. With the arrival of a series of cold fronts we are compelled to shift fishing locations and tactics in order to be successful. Sometimes it is as simple as shifting from the shallow shoreline to the three to four foot grass flats and potholes fifty yards away. Other times we are forced to flee into the canals and creeks to avoid the strong winds accompanying the fronts. This month is not as hot fishing-wise as others but it still produces solid results as the following reports will reveal.

Recently 80 year old Reuben Johnson from Tennessee and his son Greg from Ohio fished two days with Capt. Roland in the Sebastian Inlet area. On the first day the duo caught 15 trout, bunches of jacks and ladyfish in beautiful weather. The weather turned on the second with 20 mph northerly winds. Shifting location to a protected area near in the Inlet and the Johnsons managed to get some small fish for most of the day. However, right before they had to leave for their plane ride home the water had warmed and the tide changed and two nice reds, one flounder and a nice black drum were boated. Pictured below is Greg Johnson with one their trout.

spotted sea trout

Capt. Roland was also the Native Sons guide for Don Jones and Henry King from Colorado. On the first day of their two day charter they fished in Titusville chasing reds on the flats in cool windy conditions. Since this was their first trip to Florida they really didn't know what to expect but the reds didn't let them down. Henry hooked up early with numerous slot fish, but Don stole the show late with this 30 lb. monster. The second day started with winds 15-25 mph so they headed south to fish some protected canals and islands. Although the fish were not as large as day one there were numerous fish hooked including and landed snook, trout, redfish, ladyfish, and bluefish all on artificials. Pictured below is Don with his monster from day one.

big redfish

Another charter guided by Capt. Roland in late November was a half-day trip involving Steve Steinhatch from Kansas. Again the winds didn't allow the party to venture far from the mangrove canals near Sebastian Inlet. However, it didn't stop Steve from catching fish including big sheephead and black drum both which have started to move into the canals for their annual spawn. These fish love to get up into sub-surface structure putting added difficulty to the fights. Steve caught lots of both and also had a giant grouper showed up for a surprise.

In late November, my good friend Craig Konicek and his son-in-law, John Parker, went on a trip to the Sebastian/Grant area. The charter started slow but ended with an incredible bang when the water finally warmed and the tide finally turned. In the last hour, the two from Ocala caught six trout to eight pounds and six bluefish to five pounds. Pictured below are John and me with one of the ‘gator’ trout.

big trout

Hoping to get a break from the 10 degree Minnesota weather, Kyle White and his dad Jeff, along with little brother Mitch and buddy Bart chartered two days over the Thanksgiving weekend with Capt. Roland. The weather definitely didn't disappoint them and neither did the fish. On Friday, under 75 degree sunny conditions, they caught fish after fish in the Sebastian Inlet area including grouper, mango snapper, bluefish, black drum, sheephead, trout, and mutton snapper. However the best was yet to come. On Saturday under warmer but windier conditions, the group moved to the Titusville area to look for redfish. They did not have to wait long before finding them. The quartet landed seven reds from 22 to 40 inches including an exciting double hook-up. Mitch is pictured with the biggest one after which he exclaimed, "This is the biggest fish I've ever caught."

huge red

slot redfish

Posted by Rocky Van Hoose on December 12, 2008 at 03:37:13 PM

Native Sons Fishing Guides
Captain Rocky Van Hoose

Captain Brad Jones

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Grouper And Snapper Overfished? WHAT!

Ahoy there Anglers,

Merry Christmas to everyone! I hope you all enjoy the Holidays with your family and friends. Thank you all for being subscribers to my fishing reports this year and I hope you all continue to enjoy them in 2009 as well as our Just Fishin Radio Show. Our listeners made us the "Number 1 Outdoor Show in 2008" in the ratings and we really appreciate it !

No, I didn't get lost at sea if any of you have been wondering what happened to my reports. I know I'm late in getting this report out. I completely skipped November's report but I've had my 92 year old father in the hospital plus my daughter's been in the hospital both in November and have also been taking advantage of working whenever I can, (when the wind let's me) anyway, my father and daughter are doing much better and are back to normal.

Lately, on our WOKV Just Fishin Radio Show I've been telling anglers that we have to be heard and heard in numbers if we don't want one of our favorite recreational pastimes to be taken away from us altogether. It's dwindling down faster and faster here lately it seems. The South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council are saying that the grouper and snapper fisheries are in trouble while on the other hand people are telling me AND showing me at the dock that both the fisheries are doing better last year and this year than they have been in the last 20 years. What's up with that? When they started the size and bag regulations years ago, they helped both the grouper and snapper to be able to grow and spawn and now they're here in such great numbers that you can hardly catch anything else while fishing offshore. It worked! Now let us have a few. Don't close the season from 4 to 6 months. People are getting their limits in an hour or two of fishing and having to release a bunch of legal-sized fish and a whole bunch of smaller fish. Now does that sound like a fishery in trouble?
When I talk with people at the bait shops, the dock, etc. about showing up to these marine meetings or asking them to write e-mails to these councils, the FWC and the Governor, most anglers say, "that's not a species I target so it doesn't matter to me." Well, when that species is closed due to "overfishing" then another species is going to be concentrated on and then that species will be closed due to "overfishing" and the list goes on and on. What species will be next? Will it be the one you're targeting then? I know of a lot of anglers that sold their offshore boats when the fuel pieces went way up and they bought inshore boats saying it costs too much to tow a large boat to the ramp and then go offshore and only get to catch a few legal fish. I don't blame them. Now they're targeting other species inshore which if the councils find out they will say these species are being "overfished" now. It's a bad cycle that's only getting worse. We all like to fish and most of us like to take fresh seafood home to enjoy. Since people like it so much, anglers are not going to just stop fishing altogether. They're going to fish for something. We need to protect our resources but yet protect our sport! The fish don't belong to the marine councils, the Feds, the FWC, or the environmentalists even. They don't belong to any certain group. Everyone should be able to enjoy them.
Please, if you hear of another Marine Protected Area trying to be started up by the environmentalists, or another proposed rule to keep us from harvesting "our fish", please let every angler you know hear about it. We need numbers. The environmentalists beg big donations from corporations to pay their lobbyists to wine and dine and beat on the doors of the people involved in making the rules. Anglers don't have that luxury. We need numbers to show we're concerned and we love our sport. Why keep us from harvesting our own seafood right here but allow the foreign countries to fish right off our coasts and then ship "our" seafood back to us? Something is just not right about that.

big sheepshead
Redfish are mostly off and on right now. Most days we're catching 6 to 12 slot-sized reds in the creeks and then some days, especially just after a front, we can hardly find slots feeding. I think it's mostly all these back-to-back cold fronts with wind and record low temperatures. What happened to global warming? I thought our winters were supposed to be getting warmer each year. Why is it you can always find 'rat reds'? Because they eat more often and are growing at a faster rate than the larger fish that can eat larger baits. There's still a few flounder in the creeks but not many. We find one here and there usually while redfish fishing. Spotted trout are doing good now with a whole lot of small ones but when you find some slots they're nice sized ones. Black drum from 12" to 18" are biting in the creeks better than I've seen in years.

Sheepshead and black drum are the main players at the rocks this time of the year. Nice catches of sheepshead to 8 pounds are being caught and then in the deeper water the drum have been from 14" to 28" with an occasional huge sheepshead mixed in. This past week we're managed to catch a 9 pound sheepshead, a 10 pound, a 10.5 pound and a 12 pounder while drum fishing. That's a bonus I can deal with anytime. Bull redfish along with a few slot-sized ones are chewing at the rocks also. I wouldn't go all the way out there just to target a slot red as most of them are 30" and larger. There is still a few black margates, some legal sea bass, whiting and a bunch of ringtails out at the jetties too. We even caught a 17" flounder out there while drum fishing with dead shrimp. Whiting are doing better now than they've done all year.

Black drum, yellow mouth trout and spotted trout are the main characters in the rivers. Work grass lines at higher tides with Bomber Long A's, crank baits of many kinds, top water lures, slip-float rigs with live shrimp or Cajun Thunders with live shrimp for the spotted trout. Dead shrimp on the bottom are working for the drum and yellow mouth trout. There is a very few croakers around but are small. Large redfish are being caught by drum fishermen at the time they're targeting the drum. Mangrove snapper are still around and are so good to eat and there are some sheepshead on the rock banks, bridge and dock pilings too. Whiting are doing pretty good in the sandier areas of the rivers especially Nassau Sound and Ft. George Inlet.

Spotted trout, black drum, redfish, whiting and a few flounder are being caught in the Cove right now. I like catching spotted trout on lures or slip-float rigs. Heck, I just like catching fish! High tide along the grass edges with a Cajun Thunder and a live shrimp 16" under the float is working real good right now.

Whiting down at the "picnic tables" are doing so good right now. Catches of 50 to 75 are being reported and they're nice sized ones too, finally. Black drum mixed in with the whiting and I've heard of a lost pompano or two down there but don't bother going down there to target pompano. They're quite a bit further south now. Small bluefish are also being caught in the surf. The Jax. Beach Pier anglers are doing real good now also.

My offshore report is brought to you each month by Captain Chad Starling of Team Buck Rogers. The red snapper are biting better now than they ever have. The information the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council has supporting the closure of the snapper fishery, including vermillion snapper, is hogwash. Thursday we limited out on red snapper with 8 and threw back between 15-20 legal fish up to 9lbs. We also threw back several undersized fish. We limited out on vermillion snapper up to 3lbs with 40 and threw back several more vermillion snapper up to 3lbs. We caught a 20lb amberjack, 14 black sea bass, and several sharks. The rods stayed bent all day with fish that the experts say we don't have. Thursday I heard reports all day over the radio of people catching lots of red snapper and vermillion snapper so local fishermen continue to prove that we have a strong snapper fishery off our coast. I'm not the only boat that was throwing legal fish back after we got our limit. If you get the chance to have your voice heard, tell the SAFMC that closing the snapper fishery down completely for 6 months because they are being overfished is hogwash. You can quote me if you like! Keep those rods bent!!

Also, a friend of mine has a great web site to shop from. Please visit If you are an online shopper please use BigN Marketplace on Nancie Cribb's website to link to over 100 stores and services like Sears, Target, Best Buy, Bass Pro, Cabella's and her two favorite's Carrot Ink and Just click on the red & yellow Big N Marketplace link on the left for a list of the stores. She receives commissions from these stores if you link to them through her site. If you would like to do the same please e-mail her at to find out how. Nancie Cribb, Independent Marketing Director, Cross Road Enterprise, 904-517-9585.

Remember, bring your cut off line, paper, can and bottle trash back to the ramp. There's trash cans there.

You can say what you want about the South but,
you never hear of anyone retiring and moving up North,,,

Captain Vic Tison
Co-Host of WOKV's 'Just Fishing' Radio Show, Saturdays 6:00am to 8:00am
United States Coast Guard Licensed Captain
International Game Fish Assoc. Certified Captain
Regional Director for the Florida Guides Assoc.
Member of the National Assoc. of Charterboat Operators
Member of the American Professional Captain's Association
Sponsor of The Inshore Saltwater Anglers Club

Vic2Fish & Adventures, Inc.
P O Box 28208
Jax., Fl. 32226

Web Site

Neither Captain Vic nor Vic2Fish & Adventures, Inc. claims any responsibility for any injury or loss of property arising out of any party using these Fishing Reports.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Windy Weather Fishing Tips

Fishing Report

Fort Pierce - Port St Lucie - Vero Beach - Jensen Beach

December 12, 2008

With all the cold and flu that goes around this time of year.....I finally got hit and it decked me out all week. No fishing....just bed and rest to try and shake this bug. And I am not one who enjoys just laying around! The fishing has been pretty good out there and anglers are catching a variety of fish. With the latest cold front upon us, the winds will be blowing most days this week.

Around the river, anglers are catching quite a few grouper while trolling along the channel edges north of Fort Pierce. Pompano fishing down around the power plant has remained consistent most days. The trout and redfish have continued to come in shallow as the sun warms up the water. We were finding them in one to three feet of water. Bridge anglers are still enjoying lots of sand perch, black drum and sheephead out on the catwalks. Ladyfish and jacks are everywhere! Mackerel, jacks and bluefish are around the inlet. I had some reports of snook catches, but most have been shorts of late with a few slots being taken. Remember......snook season CLOSES on December 15th and trout season won't re-open until January 1st.

Tip of the Week: Windy Weather Fishing
We can expect some windy days so plan your trips around the direction of the wind and enjoy your adventure. Setting up your drifts by using the wind directions can give you more fishing time and less time worrying about keeping the boat positioned. Drifting a flat in a zigzag pattern can allow you to cover a larger area while letting mother nature assist you. Fish ahead of your drift or to either side of the boat. If using live bait, I like to use popping corks and fish them ahead and re-cast as you drift up on them. You can use a drift anchor to slow down or use a small mushroom anchor like I do. I drop the anchor and fish an area. After some casts, I lift the anchor and drift ahead a little and drop it again. When you start catching fish, just keep the anchor out and fish that area longer. Once you are finished with a drift, move back across the flat at an angle to give your next drift in waters that you have yet to fish. It's an easy way to fish in windy conditions. Let the wind be your friend!

As always, remember, fishing is not just another's an ADVENTURE!!

Good Fishing and Be Safe,

Captain Charlie Conner

(Captain Charlie Conner has been fishing the Indian River Lagoon for over twenty-five years. Specializing in light tackle fishing in Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Jensen Beach, Stuart and Port St Lucie, Florida. His weekly South Indian River Lagoon Fishing Report gives you the latest inshore fishing information for the Treasure Coast area on the Indian River Lagoon.}

Snook Season Closed

Snook season is now closed in all Florida waters. It will remain closed in the Atlantic Region through January 31. In the Gulf of Mexico, Monroe County ( The Keys), and Everglades National Park the season will remain closed through February.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Panhandle Fishing Report 12-12-08

Report for 12/12/2008

Salt Water

High winds and bad weather have kept most fishermen off the water this week. However, Grouper are being caught more consistently closer to shore. Try areas out to 10 miles. Amberjack are still plentiful over the bridge trusses and large artificial reefs from 8 – 14 miles offshore. Effective January 1st 2009, the total aggregate Grouper limit will remain at 5 fish. But, Black/Gag Grouper will be reduced to 2; while Red Grouper will remain at 1. The remaining portion of the limit can be made up with other Grouper species including Warsaw and Scamp. Also, Amberjack and Trigger Fish size limits will change in State waters to 30” for AJs and 14” for Triggers.

Bull Reds are being caught with live shrimp and pin fish around the jetties. Trout have moved into the creeks and bayous with the cooler temperatures. The Steam Plant is producing a lot of fish. Live shrimp will produce the most fish.

brothers with redfish

“Big brother Will McNab holds a beautiful Redfish that little brother Jake caught 3 miles offshore!”


The Pompano are still in the surf. There have been some reports of a few good fish being caught. Best baits remain live or frozen sand fleas and live and frozen shrimp. Most fish have come from the other side of the sand bar. Pompano jigs will catch them too. The Bonito are in the surf as well. Any bright colored lure worked fast will catch them. As the water continues to cool the Spanish Mackerel and Skipjack will start to move south. There are still a fair amount of Bluefish to be caught. Bright spoons, Gotcha plugs, Straw Rigs, Top Water and regular plugs will catch them. Live and frozen Shrimp is always a good bait choice. Redfish have showed up on the beach. Some will be slot size fish but for the most part they will be over the slot. Live, frozen and cut baits, especially cut mullet will catch them. There have been reports of Flounder being caught, some will be some nice fish over five pounds. Best baits are Tiger, Bull minnows and live finger Mullet. Don’t forget about the Whiting. The bull Whiting can get up to two pounds and make great table fare. Try peeling your shrimp when fishing for the Whiting.

Trout have started to migrate up the rivers, canals and into the bayous. You can still catch your biggest Trout early and late in the day on top water baits and on live baits in the bayous and bayou channels. Live Shrimp and Mullet are the best baits to use this time of year to catch these Trout. Try fishing the deeper holes and bends in the rivers as the water gets colder. A jig tipped with a shrimp tail or a GULP shrimp or standard curly tail will catch these fish. As the water gets colder don’t forget to work you jig very slowly. Redfish will remain in the sound and bays a little longer. Don’t overlook the shallow flats either. Redfish can be caught on the same live baits. Artificial lures will take their share of fish too. Work all visible and underwater structure to increase your chances at hooking up with a red. Flounder and Sheepshead can all be caught in the bay this time of year. Finger Mullet, Bull Minnows and Tiger Minnows are hard to beat for the Flounder and Sheepshead can’t resist a small fiddler crab or live shrimp. Tie on a 12” piece of 12# to 20# fluorocarbon leader, a #1 hook, ¼ to ½oz sinker and a live shrimp or live Fiddler crab. This rig is a Sheepshead killer. The upper part of east Bay has been good for Redfish and Trout. Try fishing around the power lines and the surrounding oyster bars.

There have been some reports of the Flounder showing up over the near shore wrecks within one or two miles of the beach. Live finger Mullet, Tiger Minnows and Bull Minnows are great baits to use. The big Redfish are in the pass. Jigs, cut bait and live bait all take these fish. You may encounter a slot Red while fishing, but be sure to put the big ones back. This is a good time of year to look for the big schools of Redfish to be on top in the pass, just outside the pass and within one or two miles of the beach. Try looking for birds working the schools. Throw top water baits for some great action or a large spoon or jig. For the fly rod enthusiasts this is prime time. Any pattern that imitates a large baitfish will serve you well. Live baits will catch them to.

The bottom fishing for Amberjack and Grouper remains very good. Live bait and frozen bait will work on the Grouper. Jigging with a Butterfly jig or fishing with live Hardtails remains a good tactic to catch the Amberjack. I have had some good reports of Yellowfin and Blackfin Tuna being caught around the offshore oil platforms. Jigging, chumming and trolling are all effective in taking these fish

Half Hitch Tackle
2206 Thomas Dr
Panama City, FL 32408

Fishing Report prepared by Half Hitch Tackle Staff.

The Captains Corner Fishing Report is provided by local charter captains and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Half Hitch Tackle.

This report is dedicated to the memory of Al Hubbard.
Al Hubbard was a field editor for Florida Sportsman magazine, an outdoor writer for the News Herald and a board member of the Florida Outdoor Writer's Association.
Mr. Hubbard was also the owner of Al's Outdoors Outfitting Services.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mosquito Lagoon Fly Fishing

Central Florida Sight Fishing Charters Capt. Chris Myers Fishing Report and Newsletter December 11, 2008

Although we are currently under a tornado watch as a strong cold front approaches central Florida, we have had some great weather during the past week.

Last week, I fished three days with my friend and fellow guide Capt. John Kumiski. Capt. Tom Van Horn joined us on the third day. Wednesday, John and I piled on the layers and headed out to Mosquito Lagoon with morning temperatures in the 40's. I think the best position in the morning was on the poling platform where you can quickly warm up and John climbed up there first. I'm going to blame my errant casts on my frozen hands as I proceeded to spook several tailing redfish. We found some black drum which were more than willing to eat our small black flies.

black drumWe took turns, each catching two drum before we moved on to look for something different. Redfish were spotted tailing here and there before we came upon numerous large trout basking in some shallow sand holes. Most of them spooked before we saw them but John got his black and purple bendback fly in front of one before it took off. The fish struck instantly and raced across the flat jumping and thrashing its head. The hook stayed put and we got a few pictures of the trophy sized trout before setting it free.

speckled trout
trout with bendback fly
I took my turn and cast my bendback to a sand hole containing three nice trout. An unseen redfish grabbed the fly before the trout saw it, not a bad problem to have. John landed a redfish to complete his slam. We finished the day catching a few more reds and seeing more big trout. A fun day on Mosquito Lagoon.

The following day, I joined Capt. John for a kayak trip to the Banana River Lagoon. We paddled several miles with little to show for our efforts. I saw a few tailing redfish and stopped to cast to them while John continued on. By the time I was finished, I saw John about a mile ahead of me. I made my way up to him and immediately saw why he had stopped. There were tails in every direction. John told me he had released three redfish over twenty pounds and as I was climbing into the water, he hooked up again. As soon as I took out my camera, the hook pulled. I immediately grabbed my flyrod and was faced with some difficult decisions; which tail should I cast toward. Most of the tails I saw were from black drum but there were plenty of redfish mixed in. The black redfish worm fly worked well for both of us. We had a lot of bites and caught plenty. Perfect weather and great fishing. We were both so busy casting, neither of us too any photos.

Friday, I joined up with Capt. Tom Van Horn in his canoe for another trip to the Banana River. Not just a canoe, this fishing machine is complete with a poling platform, casting deck, stabilizers from Kay-Noe paddle products (, and rod holders. Capt. John went with us in his kayak. We returned to the spot where John and I had such great action the previous day. As soon as we arrived, I made two casts to a tailing redfish and was hooked up. My hopes of a record breaking day were quickly dashed as the tails from then on came few and far between. The highlight of the day was a big school of giant black drum and redfish finning near the surface. I made cast after cast with my fly with no takers.

The problem was the fish were in deeper water and my fly was not getting to the bottom quickly enough. While I had heavier flies on board, they were not where I could get to them quickly. Not wanting to chance spooking the fish, I didn't change flies. Capt. John patiently watched and took photos from his kayak. When he could stand it no more, he tied on a weighted brown crab pattern and cast in front of the school. A huge redfish ate the fly but broke the 12 pound tippet a minute later. He tied on another fly and this time it was a monster black drum that bit. Now it was my turn to take pictures as the fish towed John off the flat.

fighting a monster drum from kayak
When he managed to get the over 30 pound fish under control, John realized he would be unable to lift it without tipping over.

We decided to try and tow the fish back to the edge of the flat but the fish had other ideas. With a powerful surge of it's tail, it took off, straightening the #4 hook. The big school vanished and Tom and I went our own way finding a few tailing redfish here and there that were willing to play. Tom caught his fish with a DOA shrimp while I used flies and a DOA crab.

Monday, I was back in Mosquito Lagoon. The water level had dropped significantly and I was curious to see where the fish had moved. The first few hours of the day revealed plenty of tailing redfish. Unfortunately, I could not convince them to eat any of three separate flies I tried. I picked up the DOA FiGi Chix shrimp and fired off a cast at the next tail I saw. The fish ate immediately. I checked various spots, seeing both redfish and big trout in all of them and catching a few more along the way.

Tuesday, I had Rich and Dean on board for a full day of sight fishing the flats. Withing minutes of arriving at our first spot, we saw a tail. For the next two hours, we saw tails quite regularly as well as running over many fish we did not see. For a short while, we had clear skies and no wind. Using 4 inch DOA CAL tails, Rich landed the first redfish and then Dean followed up with two in a row. Hoping to take advantage of the perfect conditions, I suggest we make a move to look for some bigger fish. On our way to the spot, the wind went from zero to fifteen in an instant. It never let up and brought with it numerous clouds which made sight fishing difficult. We hit several spots seeing fish at all but one. Unfortunately, many of the fish saw us before we saw them. Both guys caught a few redfish and trout and certainly had more fun than a day at the office.

I will be off the water for the next ten days or so but I anticipate more great tailing fish action when I return.

Capt. Chris Myers
Central Florida Sight Fishing Charters

Banana River No-Motor Zone Tailing Drum

Mosquito Creek Outdoors Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report,
December 11, 2008

By Captain Tom Van Horn

With thunder rumbling outside on the leading edge of a strong cold front, it's fitting that I tell you about some of the best fishing I've experienced on the Indian River Lagoon coast all year. We all live for those unforgettable days on the water with crystal clear calm conditions and tailing fish everywhere, but in most cases those days only exist in our dreams. Well I'm here to say that not only did we have one of those days last week, we had a week of such conditions, and as this strong weather front pushes through, we may again be blessed with comparable circumstances by this weekend.

My good friend Captain Chris Myers on the pole as I cast to a tailing redfish from my Kay-noe. Photo by Paul Macinnis.

My adventures this past week were shared between friend and clients, and on each occasion we paddled into the Banana River No-Motor Zone, and we were rewarded by good numbers of quality black drum and redfish. At first, the fish were few and far between, but as the water warmed up they became more abundant, and on each occasion we found plenty of black drum and redfish mixed in together. For me the bait of choice was the D.O.A. Shrimp and Crab in darker colors, but fly anglers also connected as well. Although the fish were tailing happily, there were not always eager to take our presentations, but we still manager to find a few takers, and the sight of all of those happy fish was still very rewarding.

Captain Chris removers his fly from an eager redfish.

All in all, the fishing was outstanding this past week, and I'm looking forward to the passing of this most recent front and some more great fishing next week.

As always, if you have any questions or need information, please contact me.

Good luck and good fishing,

Captain Tom Van Horn
Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
407-416-1187 on the water
407-366-8085 landline

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