by Captain Tom Van Horn
Yep, the heat and humidity are rising, and so are fishing prospects along the Indian River Lagoon Coast of Florida. Hot summer days can be brutal, so the prudent angler and the fish will take advantage of the cooler nights and early morning and late evening hours to feed and stock their prey, and then they snooze in the shade and deeper areas once the heat turns up. So, adjust your routine in June, July, and August, by fishing at night, during the predawn hours, and in the late afternoon after work and reap the rewards of the summertime fishing bonanza.
Look for the tarpon and shark numbers to increase along the beach, and let's not forget about the schools of large jack crevalle and the tripletail as both fisheries are cranking up. Remember, snook season closes this week, so let's give them a chance to relax and get jiggie. Try not to target them, and if you do happen to catch one, please handle it gently and release it with extreme care.
When the summer doldrums set in, the waters clear, and the seas flatten out, the window of opportunity opens for smaller boats, so near-shore opportunities are typically the best you'll see all year along the beach. June is the time of year when the kingfish move in close shadowing schools of Atlantic menhaden (pogies) along the beach and in the Port Canaveral buoy line, and slow trolling live pogies can result in some outstanding catches.
Offshore, look for the dolphin bite to slow as the schools begin to spread out. The kingfish concentration will remain good along the inshore reefs and wrecks of 8A Reef and Pelican Flats, so again slow trolling with live pogies will produce the best action. Additionally, bottom fishing will remain good for snapper and grouper until the first summer squall (hurricane) blows in and muddies up the water.
On the flats, focus your efforts between 5am and 9am, and in the late afternoon after the thunderstorms dissipate. Night fishing will also produce descent catches of redfish and trout. When fishing the flats at night, I prefer fishing real slow with glow in the dark shrimp imitation baits like the DOA Glow Shrimp.
If you can only fish during the heat of the day, target the docks with deepwater access. In the early morning look for trout and redfish up in the skinny water around concentration of bait, and toss them your favorite top water plug. Also look for schools of bay anchovies (glass minnows) in deeper waters. These schools can be located by watching for small terns and other sea birds working, and they usually are shadowed by concentrations of small trout and ladyfish. These fast-moving schools produce fast and furious action for fly anglers casting small top-water popping bugs.
Remember as the days heat up, long battles will kill fish, so if you plan on targeting large fish please step up your tackle to shorten the battle. Also, dissolved oxygen levels are low, so leave them in the water as much as possible, and revive them completely before releasing them.
As always, if you need more information or have questions, please contact me.
Good luck and good fishing,
Captain Tom Van Horn
Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
407-416-1187 on the water