Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Helping More Important Then Fishing

Mosquito Creek Outdoors Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report, June 14, 2009

By Captain Tom Van Horn

Events and Seminar Schedule:
July 25, 2009 "Free Fishing Classes" Introduction to Saltwater Flats Fishing Series, Class 4 of 8, "Hard Bait Applications" 10 am-12 noon at Mosquito Creek Outdoors, 170 S Washington Avenue in Apopka. Instructors are Captains Chris Myers and Tom Van Horn. For more details or directions, contact Mosquito Creek Outdoors at (407) 464-2000 or visit their website www.mosquitocreekoutdoors.com.

If you spend enough time on the water you will eventually run into trouble. It may be something as simple as a hook in your hand or a life threatening situation like a severe storm or capsized boat. You never know what situation Mr. Murphy will deal you, so it's extremely important to pay attention to detail while you're on the water, and to assist others when they are faced with perilous situations. Will Mr. Murphy was defiantly on the water this past week, and thank God he was riding in someone else's boat in most cases as I faced three different boat related incidents, and oh yes a hook in the hand.

Capt. Van Horn with redfish

My week started last Saturday on the North Indian River Lagoon. I knew it was going to be a challenging day when my clients insisted on meeting me at 8 am instead of the 530 am as I suggested. Although it was only a half day charter, storms were predicted to develop by mid day. So I met my clients at the Parish Park ramp at 8 am and we were fishing within 20 minutes, and that's when I learned my clients casting and angling skills were limited. Although we were on fish right away, connecting the top-water strikes they were receiving was a challenge for them, plus the fish were just popping at the plugs instead of eating them.

After spending some time fishing top-water plugs with plenty of missed fish and a few small trout it was off to the flats for and attempted to sight fish. Once in passion I soon realized sight fishing was fruitless due to a crew of three anglers and their limited ability to cast, so we struck out at location number two and it was off to location number 3 for another shot at top-water plug fishing. As we reached my third chose of locations, we received some success and actual caught several respectable sea trout in the 3 to 4 pound range and things were looking better. Soon the wind began to pick up, so I made the decision to head back in the direction of the ramp in case the weather turned for the worst.

While in transit to our forth location we spotted something red floating off in the distance so I veered to the port side to investigate, and as we approached we soon learned the red object was a floating fuel tank attached to capsized skiff. The skiff was drifting bottom up in the ICW about two miles north of the railroad bridge near Titusville with a fuel and debris slick stretching to the east towards Haulover Cannel. After notifying the Coast Guard we began searching for victims in the water to no avail, and we were advised by the Coast Guard to stay with the vessel until relieved. Many boaters fail to realize that as Captains and boaters we are legally and morally obligated to render assistance, and helping others is way more important than catching fish. So, for the next hour and a half we stayed with the capsized vessel relaying information to various emergency responders before being relieved by the Brevard County Sheriff's Department. Fortunately in this case, we learned the boater swam ashore at Jones Landing and was safe.

Once released we were off to our fourth spot where we attempted to soak some bait with only catfish to show for our efforts, and that's when the sky began growing dark and ominous and we quickly pulled anchor and headed to the ramp for safe harbor. As we approached the ramp, I hurriedly realized it was Saturday and about 20 other boaters were fleeing the storm and attempting to load their boats with only one dock and one ramp in service. As the storm grew closer the winds picked up from the west blowing straight into the ramp and lightning started popping in the area. The best I could do was squeeze into one of the condemned docks and unload my clients, sending them to the safety of their vehicle and then turn back into the storm to ride it out. As the winds increased to about 40 knots, the swells grew and began pounded all of the boats piled into the ramp, swamping two more vessels. With the ramp blocked and congested, I chose to retreat to the leeward side of the Max Brewer Causeway by passing under the bridge and staking out my skiff on the beach.

The storm quickly passed, and I walked across the causeway to learn that my clients had left without paying, and I spent the next two hours assisting other boaters in retrieving their swamped boats. Understandably, once contacted my clients were not happy with their charter, stating that their intentions were to fish and not play hero, so I suggested that they keep their money, because helping others is way more important than disagreeing about pay. Out of all of my days on the water, this was the most challenging and disappointing, because I sure could have used the money.

While my week started out badly, it soon improved as I spent the next two day fishing with wonderful anglers and clients. On Tuesday and Wednesday I had the pleasure of fishing with Betty and Tony Desoto (Captain Crunch) from Tallahassee with a goal of catching a few over size redfish and sea trout. Although we did not land any large redfish, we did have three come unbuttoned right at the boat after extended fights, and we were successful in catching a bunch of large ladyfish, sea trout and gaff top catfish.

two girls with redfish

Left to Right, Rosa and Rae Lynn proudly display Rosa's Redfish

On Friday I returned to the north IRL to fish with my daughter Chelle, granddaughter Rae Lynn and her friend Rosa. I has been a while since we have fished together, so I was looking forward to spending a day on the water together. It was the first time Rosa had ever fished, and she ended up catching a 40 inch redfish in the same location I fished with Tony and Betty earlier in the week.

Currently, there are some very large schools of ladyfish, jacks, sea trout, gaff top catfish working schools of glass minnows and mullet in 4 to 5 feet of water in both the Mosquito and Indian River Lagoons. The bite has been best from around noon to 5pm during the heat of the day, so just ride around and look for the birds working the bait schools and try throwing Chug Bugs, Skitterwalks and DOA Baitbusters. Also, I did have to use the hook extraction technique to remove a Chug bug from my left palm while fishing with the girls.

In closing, remember the heat is on, so be sure to take necessary measures to hydrate and protect yourself from the afternoon sun, and by all means, be safe on the water.

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

Good luck and good fishing,

Captain Tom Van Horn
Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters

407-416-1187 0n the water
407-366-8085 Landline

Visit www.mosquitocreekoutdoors.com for your outdoor adventure needs, its Where the Adventure Begins!

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