Friday, January 08, 2010

Cold Fish Shelter In Warm Deep Holes

Jan. 5, 2010 - Winter Windows of Opportunity

Contrary to popular belief, we do have winter in Florida. Admittedly it bears little resemblance to the winter most everywhere else but it is winter nonetheless with lower temperatures and stiff north winds. The big differences in our winter are severity and length. We may have a cold front push through the area and plunge the temperatures into the forties on Monday only to return to seventies by several days later. And this kind of drop in temperatures affects our fish population.

Throughout most of the year our game fish live comfortably on and around the lush, shallow grass flats that blanket our inshore waters. However, when the temperatures plunge the fish seek shelter and warmth in deeper holes and backwater canals. The migration for the fish often occurs rapidly which test the skill of local guides.

Capt. Roland recently guided the Reed family from Denver, Colorado (son Darious, daughter Kia and dad Paul) on a very cold morning with early morning temperatures in the mid 30s. He took them into the legendary Honest Johns Canals near Sebastian Inlet. They caught three reds to 33 inches, three black drum, six sheephead, one bluefish and a rare two foot eel. (Pictured below are Darious with his big redfish and Kia with a nice Black Drum).

The following day the temperatures improved and the fish cleared out of the canals to forage on shallow grass flats. Capt. Roland took the Turner clan from Orlando on a short charter in search of prey. Among the fish they found was a school of big jacks marauding near the mouth of Sebastian Inlet. Pictured below is Bryson Turner and Capt. Roland with one of the bigger jacks caught on the charter.

Another charter over the holidays featured Chuck and Larry his father-in-law from Orlando. They timed their fishing perfectly weather-wise and enjoyed almost balmy conditions with comfortable temperatures and lots of bright Florida sunshine. I guided them to redfish heaven in the pristine waters of the Indian River near Titusville, Florida. After searching for a bit, we found several nice schools of redfish taking advantage of the warm water over the flats to feed. Pictured below are Chuck and Larry holding two trophies from the day.

Capt. Peter has also been busy over the last several weeks. He is our lead hunting outfitter so duck hunting has consumed much of his attention but he did guide a couple of charters as well. Pictured below are several of his fishing clients holding their catch.

The cold north wind blew Vince and Tony Blumberg down from Chicago. Even though the weather was on the chilly side for Capt. Roland, the Blumbergs thought it was a lark and fished in shorts, T-shirts and cowboy hats. Since this crew had fished the Grant area several times prior they opted to change the venue to the Banana River near Cocoa Beach for variation. It turned out to be a good choice as Vince and Tony caught redfish, trout, stingrays (an oddity) and catfish.


Capt. Roland had a very special charter with father and son duo of Roger and Cory. Cory was home on leave from serving at Ft. Hood where he witnessed the recent terrorist attack. Needless to say, he was due for some wind-down time. They fished the Melbourne Beach stretch of the Indian River on a knock-down gorgeous day. The fishing was a bit slow but they did manage to catch redfish and jacks. Pictured below is Cory holding one of the jacks.

Our final fishing report comes from another father and his children charter. Rusty from Huntsville, Alabama spent a morning fishing with daughter Jenny (age four) and Rockett (aged two). Granted, these kiddos are awful young for a fishing charter but their grandfather insisted. (Did I mention that I am the granddad here?). We had a blast zipping down the river, fishing, exploring a pirate island and eating a picnic furnished by grandma. Pictured below are Jenny and Rusty holding her very first fish and the three enjoying grandma’s vittles on one of the spoil islands in the Indian River.

Wintertime fishing along the central east coast can present some challenges. There are days where the weather does not permit us to leave port but there are many other days where the fishing is the stuff of which life-long memories are made.

Native Sons Fishing Guides
Captain Rocky Van Hoose

Captain Brad Jones

Posted by Rocky Van Hoose on January 06, 2010 at 10:26:53 AM

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