Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Treasure Coast Fish Catch Fire

July 12, 2010 - Warm Days and Hot Fishing

Summer weather has firmly established itself along the Space and treasure Coasts out side of Orlando - calm, warm seas in the morning giving way to gentle easterly sea breezes and even warmer condition later in the day with the threat of daily thundershowers in the afternoons. Redfish feed shallow in the calm mornings and move off to the deeper drop-offs and potholes later in the day. And now that normal patterns have finally returned to the area, the fishing caught fire as well. We start our individual reports with a spectacular catch.

Some fellows are born great fisherman and other have the honor thrust upon them. We are not sure which applies to Larry Zimmerman from the Villages near Ocala, Florida but his feats on the water the last two years are becoming legendary. Celebrating his 49th anniversary, and staying on Cocoa Beach last week, Larry joined Capt. Rocky on the Banana River for some laid-back fishing. Redfish were the target de jour and they did not disappoint. While catching nine of bronzed beasts on the half day charter, a giant appeared to turn the day from really good to the stuff of which legends are made. Pictured below are Larry and an unbelievable 58 inch redfish. The monster took a four inch pogy in only two feet of water and spent the next hour and half towing Larry, the guide and 17 foot, 6 inch flats boat up and down the flats. Six times Capt. Rocky had to raise the PowerPole and chase the brute in order to keep enough line on the reels but in the end, it was Larry Zimmerman who emerged the victor thus securing his place among the greats in local fishing lore.

The second day of Larry’s two day charter package was also a titanic success. Changing venues from the Banana River near Cocoa Beach, Larry and Rocky headed for the clear grass flats of the Indian River near Titusville. This time using live and cut mullet, the action started almost immediately with another monster redfish. Instead of chasing the fish from the boat, this time Larry opted to wade after the fish in the shallows. Pictured below is Larry with another trophy redfish. After live releasing the first monster it took less than fifteen minutes for the next one to join the fray. This fish was able to strip the reel bare so quickly that no adjustment could be made. There were other redfish caught on the day along with several fine trout. The end of the half day charter was spent chasing and sight-fishing waking black drum along the grass flats.

The tarpon bite has slowed a little in the past week, mainly due to the lack of rain. However, Brent was able to bring a beautiful fish boat-side on a trip with Capt. Peter for a quick photo before release. Brent was invited on this fishing trip (his first saltwater excursion) by Bill Pesci, and the targets for the day were tarpon and snook. The anglers sight-fished schools of tarpon early in the morning, and were able to get bites on live mullet. When the tarpon bite slowed, Capt. Peter switched over to sight-fishing for snook under docks on the Indian River. Live pogies worked best on the snook, as they turned down everything else. Pictured is Brent with his first tarpon.

Due to the slow tarpon bite, Capt. Peter has been fishing schools of redfish in the Banana River. These schools are in shallow water and make for excellent sight-fishing. These schools of reds have been between 15 to 50 fish in number, and are ranging in size from 25” to 35”.

On Monday of the days this week, Capt. Peter had a trio of fishing fanatics from Georgia aboard his boat. The first couple of hours was spent sight-fishing some larger schools of reds. The anglers got to fish over eight different schools of redfish in the crystal clear water. At one point, there was three different schools within casting range around the boat. When the wind picked up a little and the schools of redfish laid down for the afternoon, Capt. Peter moved into some mangrove coves that produced good numbers of upper to over-slot redfish for the remainder of the trip. Pictured are Jeff and Jake’s double hitter and one of the nice upper slot fish.

Returning the scene of the crime only two days later, Capt. Rocky guided Kim from Titusville and Shawn, his son from Orlando on another half day redfish safari. Despite the overwhelming presence of the reds in the same waters several days before, for some reason, they had completely vacated the area. After searching in shallow, medium and deeper waters it became apparent that no redfish would be spotted on this charter. However, there were still trout and a dozen or more were caught on the day using live shrimp and large poggies cast-netted from several migrating schools in the area. Other fish caught included ladyfish, bluefish and gafftopsail catfish which had been following the poggy schools.

Mike and Devin Hinton from Ohio, along with her cousin Aaron Hubbard from Tampa, Florida spent a glorious day of fishing with Capt. Rocky in the Banana River last week. Launching from Ballard Park in Eau Galle, the foursome were making the long trek to the Cocoa Beach/Merritt Island areas when they spotted massive schools of glass minnows being trashed by birds and schools of predatory fish. Over the next hour, trout, ladyfish (later used for redfish as cut bait) and gafftopsail catfish came to boat one after another. Fearing the once ample supply of live poggies would be exhausted in the middle of the river, Capt. Rocky cranked the engine and headed for the shallows in search of redfish and trout. Devin scored first with a fine 26 inch trout (see picture) and Mike boated the first redfish which measured just over the slot. Several redfish and one miss on a huge redfish later the crew decided to concentrate on the bigger, memory-making monsters with the remaining baits. Good decision! Pictured below are Mike and Devin holding a heavy 42 inch brute requiring a group effort to subdue and cousin Aaron with his 41 inch beast which anchored the day … and what a wonderful day it was!

On another trip fishing the schools of redfish in the Banana River, Capt. Peter was joined by Bill Flack and his grandson, Andrew. The purpose of the trip was to fish many different flats and islands within the Banana, and experience the unique types of fishing and scenery. Bill and Andrew landed a sizeable trout and redfish, with most of the reds being over the slot limit. Pictured are Bill with his biggest red to date - a healthy 15lber – and Andrew with a nice over slot red.

Chuck and Mason Theurer recently fished two days with Capt. Peter – with one of the days being spent fishing in the FLFA Junior tournament. The tournament was Mason’s first fishing competition. With Mason on the bow of the boat the whole day, Capt. Peter pushed poled after schools of redfish for the most of the morning. Mason did a fantastic job casting to fish, and landed a handful of redfish…including the largest redfish in the tournament at 33 inches, and the second largest fish in the event. Mason also made some casts count, when schools of trout and ladyfish started crashing schools of glass minnows on the surface, where he quickly landed both species. Mason’s dad, Chuck, took video of most of the tournament, and caught some really awesome footage (the first cast to a tailing school of 50 redfish in 1 foot of clear, glassy water will get your heart pumping every time).
The second trip, was spent chasing schools of redfish early in the morning, and then fishing shallow water docks later on. The schools of reds were cooperative in the morning, with Capt. Peter fishing two schools (one school had a couple of dozen 26” fish, and the other school was much larger with at least 50 fish ranging from 25” – 35”). Both chuck and mason were on the bow this time, and they sight-fished the entire day. They left the schools to sigh-fish some shallow water docks near Cocoa Beach around 10am, and were able to entice a couple fat redfish into biting. The docks tend not to hold schooling fish, but singles here and there. This is a different style of fishing than that of chasing schools, but is equally as fun. Pictured are Mason posing with his biggest tournament redfish and Mason with a fish that came off of a dock.

Posted by Rocky Van Hoose on July 13, 2010 at 08:36:53 AM

Native Sons Fishing Guides
Captain Rocky Van Hoose

Captain Brad Jones

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