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Captain Tom Van Horn

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About Captain Tom Van Horn

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  1. Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast, April 2008 Compliments of Mosquito Creek Outdoors, Apopka Florida Reflecting back on past fishing adventures, April stand out as one of the finest months to experience the true diversity of the fishery existing along the Indian River Lagoon coast of Florida. April serves as a transitional period where the winds of March give way to the heat and humidity of summer. As spring progresses and water temperatures rise, fishing opportunities abound with the influx of bait moving north within the lagoon and closer to the shoreline along the beaches. April marks the beginning of the fishing season for many blue water anglers, representing the start of the northern migration of dolphin in deeper water, 120’ and beyond. This first wave of dolphin is usually credited with some of the largest bulls taken all year. It also marks the beginning of the spring kingfish run on the near-shore reefs and wrecks off of Port Canaveral. Traditionally, April is the time of year when the larger kingfish, 30 to 50 pounds, are caught off of 8A Reef, and Pelican Flats. As we move into the near-shore waters, we can only hope the cobia are still around. The cobia run was going on last month with some great catches reported in between passing fronts. On flotsam and along the Canaveral buoy line, tripletail should become more dependable throughout the month. Along the beaches, pods of Atlantic menhaden (pogies) have been showing up south of the Cocoa Beach Pier, and the arrival of these bait pods is a sure sign of predators lurking in their shadows. Look for tarpon, jumbo redfish and jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, blacktip sharks, cobia, and smoker kingfish to begin showing up in the vicinity of these bait pods. Inside Port Canaveral and Sebastian Inlet, look for a good number of sheepshead and black drum to be holding around structure such as jetties and docks and look for Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and jack crevalle in deeper water areas. Also look for nighttime snook and tarpon action to begin heating up in both the Port and in Sebastian Inlet as we move deeper into the month. On the Lagoon flats, it’s time to start fishing the early morning and late evening bite with your favorite top water plugs for extreme sea trout and redfish action. During midday periods, work the deeper areas, 2 to 3 feet, with your favorite soft plastics, jerk baits, or jigs. Remember, April is one of the months where the larger sea trout (all females) become egg laden for the spawn, so it’s very important to handle and release these larger fish with extreme care. Sea trout have one of the highest mortality rates of catch and release game fish on the Lagoon. Last but not least, look for the large mouth bass action to heat up on the St. Johns River. Look for schooling bass at first light feeding on menhaden from the Osteen Bridge to the Econ Creek. Some of my favorite places to look are the river bends between Lemmon Bluff and Lake Harney, and the south end of Lake Harney where the river dumps in. To locate the areas of schooling fish, I simply look for congregations of white pelicans and other wading birds lined up along the riverbanks waiting for an easy meal when the hungry bass push the bait to the surface along the shore. When in the feeding mood, these fish will eat just about anything, but the heavy bite usually only last from first light to the point where the sun crosses the eastern horizon, so an early start is essential. Seminars and Events April 18th, 19th, 20th, Coastal Angler Magazine Boating and Fishing Expo, Melbourne, Florida, Angler’s Improvement Clinics Sponsored by Mosquito Creek Outdoors, RipTide Soft Plastics, Woodie’s Rattles, TTI-B________ Fishing Group, and D.O.A. Lures Future Hook Kids on Fishing! Program Dates April 19 - Melbourne: To register contact the Melbourne Leisure Services 321-255-4608. As always, if you have any questions or need more information, please contact me. Good luck and good fishing, Captain Tom Van Horn Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters http://www.irl-fishing.com 407-366-8085 landline 407-416-1187 on the water 866-790-8081 toll free Book a charter, and let’s go fishing. Visit http://www.mosquitocreekoutdoors.com for all of your outdoor adventure needs, its Where the Adventure Begins! If you would like to be added to my mailing list, contact me at captain@irl-fishing.com.
  2. Florida’s East Coast Fishing Outlook for November 2007 Compliments of Mosquito Creek Outdoors, Apopka Florida November on the Indian River Lagoon Coast of Florida With the exception of a few more gray hairs that haven’t fallen out yet, I welcome the arrival of fall and the changing seasons brought forth by falling temperatures on the Indian River Lagoon coast of Florida. The cool crisp morning air in my lungs and on my cheeks is a refreshing change from our hot dry summer and our rainy humid October. As the sun rises and sets further to the south, both anglers and game fish celebrate the tail end of the bait run; gathering in the inlet passes on the falling tides to fulfill their natural gratifications, one of indulgence, the other contentment. As the steady migration of mullet, pilchards, threadfin herring, and other baitfish pack into the IRL’s inlets, an overabundance of hungry gamefish lay in waiting. When tide is right, the inlets explode in a flurry of feeding gamefish, fleeing baitfish, and aggressive anglers. Although November is notorious for greeting us with howling easterly winds as our first significant cold fronts pass, fishing in and around the inlets will remain outstanding until water temperature drop below 70 degrees. In the inlets of Ponce De Leon, Port Canaveral and Sebastian, snook fishing will remain excellent during low light periods and at night as the remaining baitfish traveling down the beach are forced in close to the jetties and other structure with the best action occurring during slack tidal periods, especially the end of high tide. During these periods hungry gamefish take advantage of slow currents and feed heavily. As the tide begins to fall, gamefish move into their ambush locations to finish off their frenzy. Breeder Redfish, jack crevalle, bluefish, ladyfish, Spanish mackerel, sharks, and tarpon all share in the fury, so step up your tackle size and hold on. My favored technique is to cast net live mullet, and drift them through the passes on a sliding sinker rig. Look for areas of feeding activity, birds diving and fish busting, and adjust the size of your weight based of current. The rig I use starts out with a Daiichi Bleeding Bait circle hook proportionate to your bait size to allow a natural swimming appearance. In simple terms, small bait small hook, large bait large hook. Next, I attach a 30-inch section of 30 to 40 pound test fluorocarbon leader to a 20-pound test braided mainline. If large tarpon are your target, step your leader size up to 60-pound test. Before I tie on my hook, I slide my slip sinker on to the leader, then attach the hook, and finish the rig off by using a split shot located between the barrel sinker and the hook adjusted to keep the weight off of the hook. As I drift through the passes, I like to cast parallel to my drift with just enough weight to keep the bait in the feeding zone, and increase the barrel sinker size as the current picks up. Additionally, as we near the end of November and finger mullet diminish, switch to pinfish on pigfish as bait. Finally and most important, pass fishing in November can be dangerous, so as I drift through the inlet, I keep the helm manned with my engine running, keeping a close eye on boat traffic and sea conditions, and always be prepared for evasive action if needed. As the first significant cold front passes and surf temperatures reach the 68-degree mark, flounder slide into the inlets on their annual spawning migration out to sea. The exodus usually begins with the arrival of the smaller 1 to 3-poung gulf flounder (three spot), which are later joined by the doormat size 2 to 14-pound southern flounder. Many anglers prefer to anchor up and fish live finfish on the bottom, but I favor drifting the lagoon side of the passes bouncing a RipTide Mud Minnow Jig on the bottom. I’ve also learned adding the element of sound to my jig by inserting a Woodie’s Rattle Capsule improves my catch. This vertical jigging technique allows me to cover more area and catch a wider assortment of species. Likewise, as lagoon temperatures cool, pompano are another likely target as they congregate on the lagoon side of the passes before moving out to their winter haunts along the beaches to feed on sand fleas (mole crabs) their favorite winter food. Cobia and tripletail fishing can be very good this time of year depending on ocean temperatures (71 to 74 degrees is best) and winter weather conditions. To target them, head east out of Port Canaveral or Sebastian Inlet looking for rips, sargassum and flotsam pushed in by the easterly fetch. Once you have located the floating structure, work the rip with the sun to your back looking for fish suspended underneath, and catch then on spinning tackle or fly, and a live jumbo shrimp on a jig works best. Inside the lagoons, falling water levels and cleaner conditions will facilitate increased sight fishing prospects for both redfish and sea trout. Also remember spotted sea trout are out of season in our region of the state for both November and December, so please handle and release them with extreme care. Seminars and Events November 17th 9am – 11am, Anglers for Conservation presents the Hook Kids on Fishing program at the Volusia County Fair Grounds, Coastal Angler Magazine's Boat Show & Fishing Expo. The first 100 kids will receive a new fishing rod, reel and tackle box on completion of the program. November 16th, 17th, and 18th, Coastal Angler Magazines Boating and Fishing Expo at the Volusia County Fairgrounds, the event features a full program of speakers and seminars. Hands on Angler Improvement Clinic presented by Mosquito Creek Outdoors, learn to rig soft plastic baits and utilized braided fishing line, knots, and leaders for inshore applications, and participants will receive free samples from RipTide, D.O.A, Woodies Rattles, and coupons redeemable at Mosquito Creek Outdoors while supplies last. Call now to purchase your holiday charter gift certificate for the 2008 fishing season. As always, if you have any questions or need more information, please contact me. Good luck and good fishing, Captain Tom Van Horn Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters http://www.irl-fishing.com 407-366-8085 landline 407-416-1187 on the water 866-790-8081 toll free Visit http://www.mosquitocreekoutdoors.com for your outdoor adventure needs, its Where the Adventure Begins!
  3. Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast, October 2007 Complements of Mosquito Creek Outdoors, Apopka Florida As the fall bait run continues, hordes of black and silver mullet, Atlantic menhaden (pogies), thread fin herring (greenies), and bay anchovies (glass minnows) flee for their live as they move south in search of a warmer climate. This migration signals the end of summer, and the beginning of some of the best fishing experienced on the Indian River Lagoon coast of Florida. Weather permitting, near-shore opportunities are the best you will see all year. Along the beaches, target areas of concentrated bait schools for a mixed bag of snook, tarpon, kingfish, cobia, jack crevalle, oversized redfish, and sharks. Additionally, snook fishing in the surf will continue to improve as the baitfish move south along the beach. Also look for schools of glass minnows to increase bringing larger Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and tarpon with them. In and around the inlets of Ponce, Port Canaveral, and Sebastian look for flounder, snook, jack crevalle, and oversized redfish feeding on migrating baitfish along the jetties and just outside the inlets. My preferred method of targeting the inlet redfish is to drift the inlet bouncing live mullet or pinfish on the bottom on a falling tide. Easterly swells, falling tides, and aggressive anglers can make conditions dangerous, so please pay attention, be patient, and catch-um-up. Inshore, look for slot redfish in close to the grassy edges along the shoreline shadowing pods of finger mullet, and for the larger redfish staged in deeper water ambush sites where migrating mullet are forced to venture out from the safety of the shallow flats. Also watch for snook to be tucked in close to the shoreline, ambushing pods of finger mullet as they pass by. In deeper water areas, look for ladyfish, spotted sea trout, jacks, and tarpon feeding on schools of glass minnows. These schools of fish are easily located by watching for bird and fish activity. Once located, these schools will produce explosive action on small top water plugs, or popping bug flies. Also, if you locate a school of the larger black mullet, try fishing spoons or soft plastic baits deep under the school. Even though, mullet are vegetarians, redfish and sea trout will often mingle in feeding on shrimp and crabs kicked up from the bottom by larger mullet. Seminars and Events October 13th, Braided Line Applications, Andy Thornal Company Fly Fishing Expo located under the Water Tower in Winter Haven, Florida. Call 863-299-9999 for more details. October 23rd, Orlando Kayak Club meets at 7pm Gander Mountain in Lake Mary, and Captain Rodney Smith is the guest speaker. November 16th, 17th, and 18th, Coastal Angler Magazines Boating and Fishing Expo at the Volusia County Fairgrounds with a full program of speakers and seminars. As always, if you have any questions or need more information, please contact me. Good luck and good fishing, Captain Tom Van Horn Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters www.irl-fishing.com 407-366-8085 landline 407-416-1187 on the water 866-790-8081 toll free Visit www.mosquitocreekoutdoors.com for your outdoor adventure needs, its Where the Adventure Begins! If you would like to be added to this Internet fishing report mailing list, just reply to this message or contact me at captain@irl-fishing.com.
  4. Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report, September 6, 2007 Complements of Mosquito Creek Outdoors, Apopka Florida Let the Feeding Frenzy Commence Yesterday as the sun settled in the west, I found myself at the ocean’s edge. My quest was not to catch fish for I carried no tackle, but to simply observe conditions in anticipation of the arrival of the mullet. With a low-pressure system building in the Atlantic northeast of Florida and the northeasterly breezes and seas building, conditions are right for the commencement of the mullet run. As I sat there scanning the water with my toes burred in the sand, I caught a glimpse of a large splash out of the corner of my eye. Was it a large tarpon or maybe a spinner shark? My anticipation grew. Soon I spotted what I was hoping to see as another large tarpon exploded on a school of silver mullet pushing south about 100 yards offshore. As the darkness grew more and more bait pods pushed to the surface hounded by hungry tarpon and spinner sharks. Further out I watch as terns feverishly worked schools of glass minnows pushed to the surface by Spanish mackerel. Clearly the bait run has started, and soon the beach and inlets will be teaming with bait and hungry fish. Currently, heavy ocean conditions will make fishing from a boat challenging, but once the seas begin to settle the bite should be on fire. On the inside today I spent the better part of the afternoon poling my Old Town canoe along the western shoreline of the Banana River No-Motor Zone looking for signs of the fall bait run. Gusty winds and recent rainfall have muddied the water making sight fishing difficult. As I poled along the flat I would run over the fish before I’d see them, so I adjusted my strategy with a decision to try a new soft plastic bait. In the distance I could see redfish pushing and moving about, so I decided to try retrieving the new Exude 2 ½ inch Fan Tailed Shrimp in the Golden Bream color across the surface of the water. I would make a long cast well past my target, and with my rod tip raised high, I would reel the bait at a steady speed just fast enough to keep it fluttering on top. The fan Tail Shrimp comes with a glass rattle, which inserts into a pocket in the tail of the bait, but the rattle was gone after the first fish. I have done well using this tactic before, and once again it rewarded me with 8 redfish and about a dozen missed fish. After my pack of Exudes were gone, I switched to my trusted RipTide frog, and again received explosive results from I believe to be snook at the very edge of the matted widgeon grass. If you try this tactic, keep your rod tip high, and at the moment of the strike, through your rod tip forward giving the fish some slack and a chance to take the bait. The hook I was using was a #3 Daiichi Copper Head with the barb smashed. Tip of the Week A recent study showed a thirty percent mortality for catch and release sea trout. These fish expire after release from injuries and miss handling. With this thought in mind, it is extremely important keep you fish in the water as much as possible, touch them as little as possible, and mash the barbs on your hooks, especially gang hooks, Mashed barbs will facilitate an easy release with less injury. Barbs on hook do not catch fish; tight lines catch fish. Seminars and Events: September 8th 10am – 4pm Coleman Tailgate Event Mosquito Creek Outdoors, Apopka Florida Information and directions 407-464-2000 September 29th 10am – 3pm Ladies Social Angler Seminar Mosquito Creek Outdoors, Apopka Florida Registration is limited call 407-464-2000 or go to www.mosquitocreekoutdoors.com As always, if you have questions or need information, please contact me. Good luck and good fishing, Captain Tom Van Horn Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters www.irl-fishing.com captain@irl-fishing.com 407-366-8085 landline 407-416-1187 on the water 866-790-8081 toll free Visit www.mosquitocreekoutdoors.com for your outdoor adventure needs, its Where the Adventure Begins! If you would like to be added to this Internet fishing report mailing list, just reply to this message or contact me at captain@irl-fishing.com.
  5. Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast, September 2007 Complements of Mosquito Creek Outdoors, Apopka, Florida Season of the Mullet As the tropical storm season wanes along the Indian River Lagoon Coast of Florida, we welcome the arrival of September with hot and humid days, and than say good by to the summer as September exits on the shoulders of a prevailing northeast wind. Shorter days, longer nights and the prevailing shift is the winds and swells signal the end of summer, and the beginning of the season of the mullet. I’m often asked the question, “When is the best time to fish on the east coast of Florida?” and the answer has arrived with the season of the mullet. Like many of the 700 plus species of fish that frequent the IRL throughout the year, silver mullet gradually return to our estuary in the spring, and then form up for a mass exodus once the water begins to cool. As the bait schools begin to form up, larger predators know it is once again time to fatten up for winter’s arrival. As schools of bait move out of the inlets and south down the beach, they move in pulses rather than a continuous flow, so as always, locating bait is the key to success. Bait pods are easily located by watching for diving birds and fish working them on the surface just inside the breakers. Look for snook, tarpon, redfish, bluefish, jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel, sharks, and large kingfish crushing and shadowing bait pods all along the beach. Once you’ve located the bait concentration, simply determine its direction of movement, usually south, and set up in front of it and let them come to you. This is also my preferred time of year to target tarpon and snook in the surf. The beach snook run has already started with a few fish being reported, and it will pick up substantially, just in time for the opening of snook season on September 1st. When fishing from the beach, I prefer using live finger mullet as bait, matching the run. Fish the very edge of the beach, just beyond the whitewater, and walk along the beach letting your bait drift along in the direction of tidal flow. My rig consist of a #3 Daiichi Bleeding Bait circle hook, a one ounce barrel sinker, and a 24” section of 40-pound test fluorocarbon leader. I also prefer to use 20-pound test braided high-vis Courtland line to improve sensitivity and avoid line twist. First, slide the barrel sinker onto the terminal end of your braided line, and then splice in the leader, the knot will allow the sinker to slide freely up the braided line, keeping it off of the leader and the hook. This technique will allow bait to cover more ground and help keep your bait in the strike zone longer. Make sure your reel has the strength and line capacity to handle a large fish, so you don’t get spooled. Outside in the deeper water, good numbers of kingfish will continue to work the beaches, Port Canaveral buoy line, and the inshore reefs and wrecks in 70 to 120 feet of water. When targeting kingfish my preferred method is slow trolling live pogies (Atlantic menhaden) on stainless steel stinger rigs. Also as the water temperatures cool, look for the large manta rays to move into shallower water bringing cobia with them. In Port Canaveral and Sebastian Inlet look for flounder, mangrove snapper, large redfish and snook around the jetties and other structures, and tripletail, barracuda, and cobia under the Canaveral buoy cans. Inshore, the sea trout bite on top water plugs will increase along the deeper edges of the grass flats, with the best bite happening at first light and sunset. Also look for ladyfish, tarpon, and jacks to be mixed in. When targeting these fish, work top water plugs for explosive action, or try working ¼ ounce jigs with a white or rootbeer colored RipTide Realistic Shrimp combined with a Woodies Rattle capsule inserted. Near the end of the month, start looking for the pompano and flounder to begin moving out of the lagoon through the inlets into the near shore waters along the beach. Also watch for the larger redfish to begin forming up just outside Sebastian and Ponce De Leon Inlets to spawn, and feeding on small baitfish, mullet, and small blue crabs washing out with the tide. Seminars and Events: September 2nd 8am –12pm Rodney Smith’s Surf Fishing Tour Port Canaveral to Satellite Beach www.coastalanglermagazine.com September 8th 10am – 4pm Coleman Tailgate Event Mosquito Creek Outdoors, Apopka Florida Information and directions 407-464-2000 September 22nd 2pm to 6pm Rodney Smith’s Fishing Land Tour Longpoint to Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge www.coastalanglermagazine.com September 29th 10am – 3pm Ladies Social Angler Seminar Mosquito Creek Outdoors, Apopka Florida Registration and Information 407-464-2000 or www.mosquitocreekoutdoors.com As always, if you have questions or need information, please contact me. Good luck and good fishing, Captain Tom Van Horn Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters www.irl-fishing.com captain@irl-fishing.com 407-366-8085 landline 407-416-1187 on the water 866-790-8081 toll free Visit www.mosquitocreekoutdoors.com for your outdoor adventure needs, its Where the Adventure Begins! If you would like to be added to this Internet fishing report mailing list, just reply to this message or contact me at captain@irl-fishing.com.
  6. Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast, August 2007 Complements of Mosquito Creek Outdoors, Apopka, Florida As the mid-summer doldrums settle in on the Indian River Lagoon Coast of Florida, summer weather patterns dominate and angling success requires a shift in tactics to beat the heat and afternoon thunderstorm. An early morning predawn start allows anglers to enjoy cooler conditions and magnificent sunrises, and have the boat trailered and home in time for a snooze in the Lazy-Boy while the afternoon storms brew outside. Once the storms have past, the window of opportunity reopens for some excellent angling conditions as the sun settles below the horizon, and after dark. Angling on the in-shore lagoons will continue to show improvement, with fishing in the predawn and late evening hours being most productive. Look for schools of redfish in the skinny water holding in the vicinity of bait concentration, and target them utilizing smaller top-water plugs. Once the sun starts to grow hot and the top-water bite will shut down, bait becomes your better option. For larger trout, fish live pigfish close to docks and other structures adjacent to deeper water. In deeper water, look for large schools of ladyfish, small trout, and tarpon pushing schools of glass minnows near the surface. These schools are easy to locate by watching for concentrations of birds, terns and cormorants, joining in on the frenzy, and they are perfect for fly anglers who are interested in the continuous fast and furious action provided by these speedsters. Look for pompano schools to become more prevalent in the shadows of the causeway bridges and on the flats. Fish small pink jigs tipped with shrimp or sand fleas (mole crabs) along the deeper edges and drop-offs and in areas of skipping fish. Lagoon water levels are typically low, so please use caution when accessing skinny water. Offshore, the Labrador currents have pushed in on queue, cooling down bottom temperatures and the bottom fishing a bit, which is normal this time of year. If bottom water temperature drops into the sixties, finding warmer water is the key to locating fish. Look for the blue water bite to improve along the inshore reefs and wrecks of Chris Benson, 8A Reef, and Pelican Flats, with kingfish, dolphin, black fin tuna, and cobia serving as the primary species, along with an occasional wahoo or sailfish. This is also the time of year when cooler waters sometimes push the giant manta rays in close to the shoals off the Bite of the Cape, bringing us a mid-summer cobia run. Further off shore, the Gulf Stream typically moves in closer making tuna a possibility for smaller boats, and as long as the summer squalls stay away, running to the other side of the stream isn’t out of the question. Along the beach, look for the silver kings (tarpon), smoker kings, blacktip sharks, jumbo jack crevalle, and redfish to be shadowing pods of Atlantic menhaden (pogies), threadfin herring (greenies), Spanish sardines, and bay anchovy (glass minnows) in close to the beach. Also look for snook fishing in the surf to improve, as we get closer to the commencement of the fall bait run. Remember snook are out of season, so if you target them, handle and release them with care. In and around the inlets, look for Spanish mackerel, tarpon, jack cervalle, and bonita to be working schools of glass minnows on the outside, and snook, redfish, mangrove snapper, and flounder in the area of jetties and other structures. If snook are of interest, Sebastian Inlet is the place to be. Last but not least, I would like to inform all of the ladies about the Mosquito Creek Outdoor Ladies Social Angler Seminar and Wine Tasting scheduled for September 29th from 10am to 3pm. This free event is designed to teach the ladies the basic fundaments needed to enjoy fishing with their family and friends. Mosquito Creek Outdoors, Woman in The Outdoors, and Coastal Angler Magazine sponsors the event and it features speakers like Robin (Fish Girl) Folsom and Captain Rodney Smith of Coastal Angler Magazine, Captain Chris Myers D.O.A. Pro Staff, and Captain Tom Van Horn RipTide Pro Staff. For more details contact me or go to www.mosquitocreekoutdoors.com. As always, if you have questions or need information, please contact me. Good luck and good fishing, Captain Tom Van Horn Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters www.irl-fishing.com captain@irl-fishing.com 407-366-8085 landline 407-416-1187 on the water 866-790-8081 toll free Visit www.mosquitocreekoutdoors.com for your outdoor adventure needs, its Where the Adventure Begins! If you would like to be added to this Internet fishing report mailing list, just reply to this message or contact me at captain@irl-fishing.com.
  7. Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast, July 2007 Complements of Mosquito Creek Outdoors, Apopka, Florida Summertime has officially arrived on the Space Coast of Florida, and the mid summer doldrums are currently amongst us. It’s also the time of year when tropical weather systems and offshore water temperatures are as predictable as Mother Nature herself. Just when you think you’ve got the fishing figured out, a summer squall (tropical system) will blow in and kick up the seas, or the cold water Labrador Current will chill bottom water temperatures and shut down the seaward bite. Setting all these possibilities aside, many opportunities for angling adventures exist for us both inside and outside on the lagoon coast in July. Near-shore, kingfish will be the staple on the reefs and wrecks in 70 to 90 feet of water, with a mixed bag of three, wahoo, dolphin, and an occasional sailfish, thrown in. My preferred method for targeting these species is slow trolling live bait (pogies) on steel stinger rigs in the areas of the Chris Benson, 8A, and Pelican Flats reefs. On the Port Canaveral buoy line and along the beaches when the water is clean, an assorted beach bag is available with smoker kings (large king mackerel), silver kings (tarpon), sharks, and colossal jacks (school buses) all available at any given time. To target these species, focus your attention in areas of bait concentrations. This past week, pods of large tarpon and sharks were located between Patrick AFB and Satellite Beach. As the month progresses, these fish should begin moving north along the beach to their favorite summertime haunt in the forbidden zone off the bight of the Kennedy Space Center. In the Port and inlets, Spanish mackerel, summer flounder and mangrove snapper number should remain steady. To target the flounder and snapper, try using RipTide’s Realistic Shrimp on a ¼ to ½ ounce jig head or a RipTide Mud Minnow Jig in the areas of structure and along sandy drop-offs. For flounder or snapper cast the jig as close to the structure as possible without getting snagged, and let it sink to the bottom. Once its reached the bottom, slowly drag it back letting it rest every foot or so. When jigging for Spanish mackerel or other toothy critters, use the same jigs, but retrieve it quickly to avoid getting cut off by not allowing the fish to strike the line. Inshore, July is one of the best times of the year to catch redfish in shallow water. Schools have already started forming up, and the sight of a feeding school of redfish is incredible. Once you’ve finished drooling over redfish, look for snook, and top water snapper along mangrove edges, and juvenile tarpon in the creeks, canals and backwaters. In deeper water, look for ladyfish and small trout to be shadowing schools of bay anchovies (glass minnows) under clouds of feeding terns. These feeding frenzies are great fun, especially when fly fishing using a top water popping bug. Additionally, Calm conditions are ideal for paddlers wishing to venture back into the No-Motor Zone, where tailing redfish make great targets for both fly and spin anglers. Remember, as the water levels increase, dissolved oxygen levels decrease, so it is important to step up your tackle and line size to facilitate a shorter battle, and to revive your catch completely before release. 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 www.irl-fishing.com 407-366-8085 Land line 407-416-1187 On the water 866-790-8081 toll free Visit www.mosquitocreekoutdoors.com for your outdoor adventure needs, Its Where the Adventure Begins! If you would like to be added to this Internet fishing report mailing list, just reply to this message or contact me at captain@irl-fishing.com.
  8. Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast, June 2007 Complements of Mosquito Creek Outdoors in Apopka Florida 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 wise 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 carvalle and the tripletail as both of these fisheries are cranking up. Remember, snook season closes this week, so lets 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, snook, and trout. When fishing the flats at night, I prefer fishing real slow with glow in the dark shrimp imitation baits like the RipTide Realistic Shrimp with a Woodie’s Rattle Capsule inserted. 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 the fish, so if you plan on targeting large fish, you may want to 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. In closing, I would like to inform everyone about the Mosquito Creek Outdoors Father’s Day Celebration scheduled for Saturday June 16th in Apopka, Florida. Besides having great sales and gift ideas for Dad, activities for the entire family and free fishing and outdoor seminars are planned. Seminar Schedule: 12pm to 2pm, Fishing basics for the entire family Captains Chris Myers and Tom Van Horn 2pm to 3pm Fly Casting with Captain Chris Myers 3pm to 4 pm Kayak Fishing with Captain Tom Van Horn 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 www.irl-fishing.com 407-416-1187 on the water 407-366-8085 landline 886-790-8081 toll free Visit www.mosquitocreekoutdoors.com for your outdoor adventure needs, its Where the Adventure Begins!
  9. Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report, May 23, 2007 Complements of Mosquito Creek Outdoors, Apopka Florida Well I was hoping to publish this report on Friday, but after two quality days on the water, the east beast started howling again and 20-knot winds forced cancellations of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday charters. Hopefully, this weather pattern will shift by Saturday, allowing us fishable conditions, at least inshore, for the holiday weekend. My week starter on Sunday when repeat clients Craig Welch and his son Max and his grandfather graced the deck of Three Quarter Time for a day of fishing on the Indian River Lagoon. Although the east wind of 15 plus knots was challenging, it was the nicest day we had all week, and my goal was to put Max on some serious fish like the trip before. We starter out working the FPL discharge in hopes of a snook, but Max was pleasantly surprised when his line tightened, and his first tarpon tail walked next to the boat. Our next stop included fast and furious action as we located a heard of ladyfish, sea trout and gaff top sail catfish working over a school of bay anchovies (glass minnows) in deeper water. To locate these schools, simply watch for diving pelicans accompanied by small terns dipping into the water. If the pelicans hold their heads down into the water after they surface from their dive they are straining small baitfish from the water before swallowing, and you’re in the right spot. The action is fast, and small jigs and flies, spoons, and top water popping bugs work well. Although the feeding frenzy was hot and heavy, the crew had big redfish on their minds, so we were off to leeward shoreline and the quest was on. I poled at least a two miles of shoreline loaded we thousands of finger mullet to no avail, and we ended the day with only one slot redfish, and a wet ride back to the dock. On Monday, I was joined Frank King form Mosquito Creek Outdoors in Apopka, and his lifelong hunting buddy Mike Mason from Orlando, with the same game plan as the day before but with much better results, sorry Craig, Max and Granddad. The weather was much nicer, but still windy. Mike had a little experience fishing for redfish on the west coast, but this was Franks first attempt at fishing for Florida’s coastal species, so the challenge was on. I started the dual with some top water plug fishing on a lee shoreline with limited results, and we quickly shifted to jig fishing the glass minnow school, with the same results as the day before. As the wind gained and conditions deteriorated, I opted to chunking ladyfish on a lee shoreline, and we stumbled into a redfish chew fest. For the next two hours, the redfish bite was going off, and I spoiled both Frank and Mike with 21 redfish, 2 over slot sea trout, and believe it or not, a five pound bluefish. You know you are in a serious redfish feed when you are trying to land a hefty redfish, and several others follow it up to the boat trying to steal the bait. Out of the 21 fish landed, only two were upper slot fish, and the rest were over slot up to 36-inches. In Closing, both myself and Captain Chris Myers, will be conducting free angling seminars on Saturday June 16th at the Mosquito Creek Outdoors Father’s Day Event in Apopka, Florida, so stop in and check out their newly renovated angling and outdoor adventure training facility and sign up for future classes. Stay tuned for more details, as we get closer to the event. So, with that said, I leave you with hopes on calm seas, and for the next three to four days, it’s boat and equipment maintenance, and honey do’s for me. As always, if you have any questions, or need any information, please contact me. Good Luck and good fishing, Captain Tom Van Horn Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters www.irl-fishing.com 407-366-8085 Landline 407-416-1187 On the water 866-790-8081 Toll Free Visit www.mosquitocreekoutdoors.com for your outdoor adventure needs, It’s Where the Adventure Begins!
  10. Indian Lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast, April 2007 Complements of Mosquito Creek Outdoors One of best things about fishing is it provides us with a forced mind flush. Once we are on the water, fishing eases our mind’s tensions by forcing us to concentrate on the task at hand. Fresh air in our lungs, sunshine on our skin, and screaming drags, all serve as escapes from reality. So flush away, because spring delivers some of the hottest fishing experienced on Florida’s Indian Lagoon coast all year. In the inlets, look for good numbers of sheepshead and black drum around structures such as jetties and docks, and Spanish mackerel, blues, and large jacks in open water. Also look for the nighttime snook and tarpon action to heat up in the Sebastian Inlet. Offshore, April marks the beginning of the fishing season for most blue water anglers. It represents the start of the April/May northern migration of dolphin in deeper water, 120 feet and beyond, and usually brings in some of the largest bulls taken all year. April also marks the beginning of the Easter kingfish run on the near-shore reef outside Port Canaveral. It’s the time of year when most of the larger kings, 30 to 50 pounds, are taken off 8A Reef, and Pelican Flats. Additionally, look for bottom fishing to improve as the mangrove snapper begin their spring aggregation for the spawn on or near the full moon. As we move in near-shore, tripletail should become more dependable, and look for a late season cobia run. The cobia run thus far has been one of the best experienced in years. Also look for the bait pods (pogies) to become more dependable along the beach bringing Spanish mackerel, blues, reds, mongo jacks, sharks, and smoker kingfish with them. On the lagoon flats, fish the early morning and late evening with your favorite top water plugs for extreme trout and redfish action, and soft plastics and jigs in deeper water, 2 to 3 feet, midday. April is one of the months when trout are egg laden for the spawn, so it’s very important to handle and release the larger females with extreme care. If you are looking for snook and tarpon action, the Sebastian River will be the place to go, and as the water warms up, look for these gamesters to become more prevalent along the beaches and in the north IRL as well. Last but not least, freshwater largemouth and striper bass action will be heating up on the St Johns River. Look for schooling bass at first light feeding on menhaden from the Osteen Bridge to Lake Harney. My favorite locations are in the river bends near the power lines at Lemmon Bluff, and at the south end of Lake Harney where the River dumps into the lake. A good way to locate these schooling fish is to look for white pelicans and other wading birds congregating along the shore. When in the feeding mode, these fish will take most swim plugs, and small live shiners. Like everywhere else this year, the water levels are extremely low, so please be careful. In closing, I would like to thank those of you who facilitate my reports by providing me with current information and incite, and also my readers for your responses and inspiration. April is shaping up to be a very busy month for me, and between events and my charters scheduled, I only have six day left open. So if you have been thinking of booking a spring fishing adventure, give me a call before my availability is consumed. Events Scheduled: I am very excited about my involvement in Coastal Angler Magazine Boating and Fishing Expo scheduled for April 20, 21, and 22, at the Melbourne Auditorium. At this year’s event, I have teamed up with Chris Myers, Ron Neff, Bill Stewart, John Kumiski, Dave Haviland, Jerry Goldsmith, and Mosquito Creek Outdoors to present our Angler’s Skill Improvement Clinics. These clinics are hands on learning opportunities where you can learn the basics or hone just your skills by learning how the seasoned anglers rig and use their tackle. The clinic schedule is listed below: Mosquito Creek Outdoors Anglers Skill Improvement Clinics Friday April 20th: 10:30am Rigging for Offshore Trolling, Captain Ron Neff 11:30am Rigging for Offshore Bottom Fishing, Captain Bill Stewart 12:30pm Fly Casting, Dave Haviland 1:30pm Knots Lines and Leaders, Captains Chris Myers and Tom Van Horn 2:30pm Braid Line Applications, Captains Chris Myers and Tom Van Horn 3:30pm Rigging Soft Plastics, Captains Chris Myers and Tom Van Horn 4:30pm Kayak Fishing and Rigging, Tom Van Horn and Jerry Goldsmith Saturday April 21st; 10:30am Rigging for Offshore Trolling, Captain Ron Neff 11:30am Rigging for Offshore Bottom Fishing, Captain Bill Stewart 12:30pm Fly Casting, Fly tying continuous John Kumiski, 1:30pm Knots Lines and Leaders, Captains Chris Myers and Tom Van Horn 2:30pm Braid Line Applications, Captains Chris Myers and Tom Van Horn 3:30pm Rigging Soft Plastics, Captains Chris Myers and Tom Van Horn 4:30pm Kayak Fishing and Rigging, Tom Van Horn and Jerry Goldsmith Sunday April 22nd: 10:30am Knots Lines and Leaders, Captain Chris Myers 11:30am Rigging Soft Plastic Baits, Captain Chris Myers 12:30pm Fly Casting, Dave Haviland 1:30pm Braid Line Applications, Captains Chris Myers and Tom Van Horn 2:30pm Rigging for Offshore Trolling, Captain Ron Neff 3:30pm Rigging for Offshore Bottom Fishing, Captain Bill Stewart On the Stage Presentations Mark Nichols Friday, April 20 12:00 DOA Jerry Goldsmith Friday, April 20 1:00 Kayak Fishing Capt. Mark Wright Friday, April 20 2:00 Live Pigfish for Summertime Trout Rob Branaugh Friday, April 20 3:00 Maintaining Your Outboard Capt. Ron Neff Friday, April 20 4:00 Deep Jigging Capt. Keith Kalbfleisch Friday, April 20 5:00 Near shore Fishing Capt. Brian Clancy Saturday, April 21 11:00 Fishing the North End of Mosquito Lagoon Capt. Budd Neviaser Saturday, April 21 12:00 Offshore for Dolphin Capt. Jim Ross Saturday, April 21 1:00 Light-Tackle Flats 101 Capt. John Kumiski Saturday, April 21 2:00 Fly fishing for Redfish Capt. Troy Perez Saturday, April 21 3:00 Redfish and Sea trout in Mosquito Lagoon Capt Rodney Smith Saturday, April 21 4:00 TBD Mark Nichols Saturday, April 21 5:00 DOA Capt. Bill Stewart Saturday, April 21 6:00 Bottom Fishing out of Sebastian Capt Ron Neff Sunday, April 22 11:00 Tuna Capt. Budd Neviaser Sunday, April 22 12:00 Offshore for Dolphin Capt. Shawn Foster Sunday, April 22 1:00 World Records, TV, and Celebrities--Stories Capt Russ Rivers Sunday, April 22 2:00 River of Abundance--Fishing the Indian River Lagoon Capt Tom Van Horn Sunday, April 22 3:00 Kayak Fishing Capt. Chris Myers Sunday, April 22 4:00 East Central Coast Tarpon For more information on the CAM Expo and to acquire a discount coupon, visit the following link: http://www.coastalanglermagazine.com/docs/flyer2CAM.pdf As always, if you have questions or need information please contact me. Good luck and good fishing, Captain Tom Van Horn Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters www.irl-fishing.com captain@irl-fishing.com 407-366-8085 land line 866-790-8081 toll free 407-416-1187 on the water
  11. Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast, February 2007 Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters As I sit down to write this fishing forecast, I am puzzled and mystified by our current weather patterns. In first part of January, a northerly shift in the jet stream brought about by El Nino, delivered spring like conditions to Central Florida. This warmer and windier weather not only confused the fish, but also the anglers. Our typical winter fishing patterns experienced in January failed to develop completely, and now back to back cold fronts could shift conditions again, so who knows what lies ahead for us this spring. Taking into consideration how this phenomena has effected our January fishing, we can only hope fishing pattern will continue to shift more to spring like, unless Mother Nature has other plans. Offshore, kingfish will still be consistent along the inshore reefs and wrecks, and they will remain there as long as the water temperature stays above 68 degrees. When targeting kings, focus on bottom structure in the areas of 8A reef, Pelican Flats, and Bethel Shoals to the south. Also look for cobia and amberjack to be present on the inshore wrecks like the Carol Lee, Dutch, and Sub Wreck out of Port Canaveral. Additionally, live bait is sometimes tough to find this time of year, so always carry a box of frozen Spanish sardines with you as backup. Near-shore, look for tripletail concentrations to improve greatly along the Port Canaveral buoy line and under floating weeds and structure, and for cobia to move in shadowing manta rays if the surface water temperatures reach the upper sixties. As of this writing, the cobia and rays have been plentiful near-shore, but high seas have kept most anglers off of the water. As water temperatures drop, the cobia will most likely move south or back to the wrecks, but we will have to wait for the winds and seas to settle down before we can find out. Now is also the time for shore anglers to target pompano, bluefish, weakfish, small black drum, sheepshead, Spanish mackerel and whiting in the surf and larger redfish and flounder around the inlets and jetties. As the water temperatures cool, the pompano should move out of the lagoon and gather in the troughs along the beach in search of mole crabs, sand fleas, their favorite winter food source. Moving inshore, the redfish schools will continue to develop with slot size fish, 19 to 27 inches, holding in the shallow flats, and the larger breeder redfish along the deeper edges, 2 to 3 feet. When targeting these schooling redfish, approach the school as quietly as possible, and make your presentation to an area on the outside edge of the school. If possible, I like to try to pick off fish ranging outside the main group to prevent spooking the entire school. These schools are super spooky, so if you can keep the school from running, you will continue to catch fish. With redfish, it is important to get your bait in front of the fish, and either soft plastics or small weedless spoons will work. Also, when casting artificial, remember to downsize your baits in the winter. If the weather gets cold, an early start is not necessary, so sleep in and hit the water when sun has warmed the flats a bit. The larger sea trout will often lay in the sandy pot holes seeking the warmest water they can find, so target these sandy spots with small shrimp imitations baits like the Riptide Realistic shrimp fished very slow. Also, let’s not forget the tailing black drum and redfish on the Banana River Lagoon No Motor Zone. This past week I had the extreme pleasure of fishing the Zone with my good friends Captain Rodney Smith and Rusty Chinnis, and even with overcast and windy conditions, Rusty accomplished his goal of his first hefty black drum on fly, with two slot size redfish to boot. Rodney also managed three snooklets caught in a small feeder creek, and he missed a big black drum, and me, well I did manage to catch three fearsome puffer fish in a row on my secret magic puffer fly. Last but not least, February is a great time to check out those freshwater fishing holes on the St Johns River, and inshore lakes. Currently some good catches of American shad, speckled perch, and largemouth bass are being reported. February 9,10,11, 17, and 18th; Bass Pro Shop Spring Classic Orlando Coastal Angler Magazine’s Traveling Lagoon Booth 10 Saltwater kayak seminars, seminar times have yet to be scheduled. February 19, 2007 Gander Mountain Lake Mary, Saltwater Kayak Fishing on Florida’s Space Coast, 7 to 8pm. March 10, 2007 Mosquito Creek Outdoors Conservation Day Event Apopka Florida Hook Kids on Fishing Program 10am – 12pm Free fishing seminars from 12pm –3pm. Coastal Angler Magazine’s Traveling Lagoon Booth April 19, 20, 21st Coastal Angler Magazine Boating and Fishing Expo. Melbourne, Florida New Products Showcase throughout the event Braided Fishing Line Tying Clinic New Products Seminars As always, if you have any questions or need information, please contact me. Good luck and good fishing, Captain Tom Van Horn www.irl-fishing.com 407-416-1187 on the water 407-366-8085 landline 866-790-8081 toll free
  12. Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report, January 11, 2007 Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters I would like to tell you the fishing this past week along the Indian River Lagoon coast of Florida was exceptional, but the truth be known; it was the catching that varied. We are currently under the influence of an El Nino weather pattern, which has presented warmer and windier conditions and some tough days on the water. I fished four out of the past six days, and on each occasion the weather has held the upper hand. My adventures this week started last Friday where I had the pleasure of fishing a half-day redfish charter with Marvin Fisher and his son Louis on the North Indian River Lagoon. If was a prefrontal morning with a strong south wind, but despite the tough conditions the father and son team managed to put five fish in the boat All fish were caught blind casting soft plastics in less than 18 inches of water. On Saturday, my good friend Larry Carter joined me for a day of shad and crappie looking on the upper St. Johns River. The weather was actually not bad, but the catching was tough. We covered the river from the Econ Creek south of Lake Harney to the mouth of Lake Jussep and back, and our grand total for the day was one speck, one bluegill, one stump knocker, and one shad. So you could actually say that our crappie fishing was actually crappie. Now you might think the shad run hasn’t materialized, but hearsay has it that there are a good number of shad currently in the area of Highway 50, upstream from where we checked. On Monday and Tuesday, I had the pleasure of once again fishing with Len and Jeff Holdorf from Sprit Lake Iowa. Len is a retired Pure Fishing scientist with an extensive background in the fishing industry, and he has a wealth of knowledge in the research and development of Gulp Baits. Both Len and his son Jeff fished with me last year, and both caught trophy fish, but on this occasion, the wind spoiled their prospects. On Monday, we attempted to fish in the No-Motor Zone, but we were blown off of the water by a 15-knot plus wind from the south. Again the weatherman misled us by predicting a west wind. In an attempted to salvage the day, I suggested we give the beach a try, and believe it or not, small cut up pieces of white Gulp Shrimp on a pompano rig worked great. When it was all said and done, we caught a good number of whiting, bonnet head sharks, small black drum, croakers, and several large stingrays. Again, it was another prefrontal day and the surf was warm, so the day wasn’t a total loss. On Tuesday we decided to give the Lagoon a try, but the passing of a cold front during the night dropped air temperatures into the low 50’s, and the wind howled from the north at 15 to 20 knots. Again, the flip-flop weather made fishing tough. We fished hard and spotted a lot of fish, but with the high winds and rough water, we were blowing out the fish before we could get a cast to them. All in all, we still caught two redfish, but it was a disappointing and frustrating day nonetheless. Last but not least, some nice cobia and tripletail were caught out of Port Canaveral last weekend, so if the weather and the seas lay down a bit, the catching should improve. As always, if you need information or have any questions, please contact me. Good luck and good fishing, Captain Tom Van Horn http://www.irl-fishing.com 407-416-1187 on the water 407-366-8085 land line 886-790-8081 toll free
  13. Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report, December 17, 2006 Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters How many times have you heard local anglers say the fishing is awful during the winter in east central Florida? I’ve heard things like it’s too windy, it’s too cold, or the fish are dormant and they don’t eat. Well you keep on believing what your hearing, and I will continue to enjoy the empty boat ramps, unpressured fish, and quality catches experienced in December and January. I have to admit rough weather conditions do make it trying at times, but if you are willing to suck it up a little, dress for the occasion, and be cautious during rough conditions, the rewards can be memorable. The winds finally began to settle down this past week, and some great catching reports have been coming from all areas of the lagoon coast. In the Mosquito Lagoon, I received good reports of slot redfish schooling on just about every major flat from Georges Bar all the way to Whale Tail. I’ve also heard the same from other anglers and guides fishing in the North Indian River Lagoon and the Banana River Lagoon. The redfish have started to school up, and they have been holding in super skinny water. I have also heard reports of large sea trout in the same waters. As always, stealth presentation will greatly improve your numbers, and when the weather kicks up be prepared to switch tactics. The past week, my adventures led me in three completely different directions with mixed results and some quality catches. On Tuesday I was scheduled to remove a large hurricane damaged water oak from my front yard but rainy conditions forced a postponement, so I opted to hook up Three Quarter Time and scout the upper St Johns River south of Lake Harney for signs of early American Shad. Like the Lagoon, the water levels on the river are extremely low this year and there were no shad located. I did manage a half dozed speckled perch and a brim taken on a hot pink crazy charley fly. I did receive one report of a nice shad taken by a local angler, so they are starting to arrive. When I hear more I will let you know. My next oppertuinty was on Friday where I ventured into the No-Motor Zone with my good friend Art Roseberry and his friend Harold Hollis. Both men are world-class anglers and Alaska residents with homes on the Kenai River. Art and I have been trying to fish the NMZ for the past several years, but every time we plan a trip, the wind blew 20 knots or better or the Zone was closed for a shuttle launch. This time the winds were east at 10 to 15 knots with a 70% chance of rain, so we decided to suck it up and break out the Frogg Toggs. As it turned out, the wind was fishable at first, and Art was the first to score with a nice 20-pound redfish taken on a nite glow/pink tail RipTide Realistic Shrimp on a Daiichi Bleeding Bait Copperhead hook with a Woodies Rattle capsule. Art’s next fish was a nice upper slot size red, but before we knew it the wind kicked up and our sight fishing opportunities were over. Both Art and Harold have tackled king salmon over 50 pounds, and both were eager to tackle such a fish in Florida, so on my way to the lagoon I made it a point to stop by Skeeter Lagoons Bait and Tackle in Titusville and purchase 8 live blue crabs, and in this case I was glad I did. After the wind picked up, we staked out on the deeper edge of the flat and started chunking blue crab, and in the next two hours we landed five over slot redfish up to 54 inches and a nice 25-pound black drum. On Saturday both the wind and seas were up a bit, but I couldn’t decline the offer to join my good friend Scott Bradford aboard the Afternoon Delight on an early season cobia exploration out of Port Canaveral. To add icing to the cake, Captain Rodney Smith and Scott Ashmore joined us. Scott Bradford had a hunch we would find cobia holding on the near-shore wrecks in 60 to 80 feet of water, and he was right. At our first stop, we brought five cobia to the boat with two keepers going into the icebox. The technique we were using was to drop a one-ounce Fair Water Big Bend Cobia jig tipped with squid to the bottom and then jig it back to the surface. After the bite slowed at our first stop, we headed offshore to check some other wrecks, but between the increasing winds, seas, current, and overcast skis, we were unsuccessful in locating any more fish. Another positive note was that every stop was loaded with bait, and we sighted several sky rocketing kingfish, so the fish are there. Last but not least, Captain Rodney Smith and I have been asked to cover for Boudreaux so he can visit his momma for Christmas in Louisiana, so be sure to tune in to WQTM 740 AM Saturday morning December 23rd from 5 to 7am for the Boudreaux’s Boondocks Hunting and Fishing Radio Show, and call in and talk to us about fishing, hunting, and the outdoors. Have a safe and happy holiday, and as always, if you need information or have any questions, please contact me. Good luck and good fishing, Captain Tom Van Horn www.irl-fishing.com 407-416-1187 on the water 407-366-8085 land line 866-790-8081 toll free
  14. Indian Lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast, December 2006 Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters As winter settles in on the northern two thirds of America, many anglers can only dream about a location where stretching line is a year round endeavor. They long for a setting occupied by happy fish tailing in the shallows as the mid afternoon sun warms the flat. Such is the life of anglers in many parts of our country, and thank God we live on the Lagoon coast of Florida where catching is a winter sport. Like November, December is a month filled with outstanding fishing opportunities. The only significant difference is the impact cooler water temperatures have on the fishery, which is influenced by passing cold fronts. Fluctuations in water temperatures affect both fish behavior and angling tactics, so an understanding of where and how to fish can result is some memorable catches. Inlet Redfish Near-shore and in the inlets, large redfish were consistent outside Ponce Inlet, Port Canaveral and Sebastian Inlet last month, and they should remain steady through December. At both Ponce and Sebastian, look for redfish chasing bait on the surface during periods of slack tide, or feeding along the bottom during periods of falling tidal flow. At Port Canaveral, work the bottom in deeper water just outside the buoy line along the channel ledges. These fish will hit artificial baits, but live pinfish, pigfish, and finger mullet are more productive. Remember, these are large oversized reds, so step up your tackle and handle and release them with extreme care. Snook Snook fishing will remain steady in the surf and inlets, with Sebastian Inlet proving to be the most productive location. It is best to target inlet snook at night by drifting live pigfish and pinfish through the channel, or fishing bucktail jigs or large swimming plugs from the rocks and catwalks. This type of fishing can be quite challenging due to the number of anglers competing for the same fish and impatient and discourteous anglers, so please pay attention, be courteous, stay safe, and enjoy the rewards. Also, remember snook season closest on December 15th, so if you plan on keeping one, you need to get busy. Bluefish and Spanish Mackerel Large schools of bluefish and Spanish mackerel have been feeding on glass minnows (bay anchovies) along the beaches and outside the Inlets. When targeting these fish watch for bird activity and work small jigs or spoons very fast to avoid cut offs. A small trace of wire can be added ahead of your bait to reduce cut offs, but in some cases the keen vision of the toothy mackerel will reduce the number of strikes. Also, if you see pelicans diving on bait and then holding their bills down in the water in an effort to strain the water from the smaller baitfish before swallowing, you are in the right spot. Flounder The Flounder run is on with good catches being reported from both Port Canaveral and Sebastian. Anglers utilizing either jigs or live finger mullet fished on the bottom are experiencing the best results. My favorite technique is to slow drift the Inlet passes, bouncing jigs like the new Riptide Mud Minnow on the bottom. This tactic allows you to cover more ground, and once you have located a hot spot, you can anchor your boat and concentrate on the area. Tarpon and Kingfish Further off of the beach, tarpon and kingfish can be found shadowing bait pods outside the Inlets. Either slow troll live baits on steel stinger rigs, or try dropping live baits into schools of bait in deeper water. This bite should continue as long as water temperatures remain above 74 degrees. Tripletail and Cobia December is also the month when tripletail begins to show up on the Port Canaveral buoy line, and as the water cools the bite should improve. When water temperatures drop below 70 degrees, look for cobia on weed-lines, near-shore wrecks, buoys, and other structure. Once the water temperatures drop below 68 degrees, target cobia on the deeper wrecks and hard bottom where the water is a bit warmer. Inshore Trout, Redfish and Black Drum On the inshore flats, both redfish and sea trout will remain in the skinny water as long as the water temperatures stay in the seventies. Fish in protected areas and sunny spots on cooler days, and look for fish to be holding in sand spots (potholes) until the sun gets overhead. Now is also the time to target tailing black drum in the Banana Lagoon’s No Motor Zone. If you’ve never seen black drum tailing, it is worth the paddle into the NMZ. Try fishing with natural baits like shrimp and crabs, or shrimp and crab imitation baits. Also, a well-presented black Clouser Minnow Fly works well for all three species. American Shad and Speckled Perch (Black Crappie) Good numbers of speckled perch (black crappie) are showing up in the upper St Johns River south of lake Harney. Fish structure or slow troll jigs or live minnows near the bottom. Also, look for the American shad to begin showing up near the end of the month on their winter spawning run. The American shad is an incredible species to catch on light tackle and fly, and if you have never experienced this fishery, you are missing the boat. In closing, I would like to thank all of you for your support this past year. 2006 was an incredible year of catching, with too many great memories to mention. Guiding anglers on the Space Coast is a great job, and I’m looking forward to our next adventure in 2007. Also, if you are looking for a special gift for the outdoor enthusiast in your life, contact me about a charter gift certificate for 2007. As always, if you need information or have any questions, please contact me. Good luck and good fishing and happy holidays, Captain Tom Van Horn www.irl-fishing.com 407-416-1187 on the water 407-366-8085 landline 866-790-8081 toll free If you would like to be added to my fishing report mailing list, please contact me at captain@irl-fishing.com.
  15. Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report, November 15, 2006 Captain Tom Van Horn, Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters Have you ever heard the adage, “fishing is fishing, catching is catching, and they both are fun”? Well, that saying best sums up my fishing adventures this past week both on and off of the water. After losing my fourth charter opportunity in a row to windy conditions, I was eager to begin a week of what I thought would be outstanding fishing. When my Wednesday charter canceled on me, I was determined to go fishing nevertheless. So I made a few calls and assembled a crew consisting of my good friends Don Schrier and Captain Chris Myers, and we were off to Ponce Inlet on a tip received from the Ponce Inlet fishing master Captain Fred Roberts. In the fall the large redfish typically school up in the inlet passes of Ponce De Leon, Port Canaveral, and Sebastian, and they feed heavily on baitfish as they wash out of the inlet on the falling tide. As reported by Captain Fred, I knew the redfish were there, and it was just a matter of hitting the tide right. After meeting at the ramp and launching, we tied on a couple of Sabiki rigs tipped with squid, loaded the bait well with pigfish and pinfish, and we headed to the Inlet. On arrival, we still had a couple of hours of incoming tide, and our efforts went unrewarded until the tide turned around. Shortly after the tide change, the redfish started chewing, and within two hours, we had landed ten big reds ranging from 15 to 27-pounds. The technique we were using was a simple slip sinker rig consisting of a one-ounce barrel sinker, a split shot, and a large circle hook. I like to slide the sinker onto my line first, and then tie on a short section of 40# test fluorocarbon leader. Next, I tie on a large circle hook, and then I use the split shot to keep the barrel sinker about a foot above the hook. Once the rig is complete, hook the live bait through the nose, and simply drift through the inlet bouncing the live bait off of the bottom. This technique works well in all three inlets, the only difference is in Port Canaveral where the tidal flow is limited by the locks. At the Port, fish the area just outside the inlet working the edges of the shipping channel. On Friday, I met with Bob Wilson and his friend Jack from Orlando, and we were off to the Troll-Poll Zone in the Mosquito Lagoon where our goal was to put Jack on his first redfish using artificial. We launch around 6am, and we were on tailing fish before the sun cleared the horizon. The only problem was the redfish thumbed their noses at our offerings, and we were off of the water by 11am, with only two fish caught. By the way, Jack did manage his first redfish caught on a RipTide Gulf Chub, Space Guppy color on a Woodies Rattle Hook, so the trip was still a successful one. On Saturday and Sunday, I manned the Coastal Anger Magazine Traveling Lagoon Booth at the Florida Sportsman Show in Orlando. I always love working that show, and this year’s event was no disappointment. The seminar speakers were great, the attendance was good, and it was great seeing all of my old friends and making new ones at the show. Now that I’ve covered the catching part mentioned in my opening statement, I will cover the fishing portion. On Monday, I met Sam and Judy Ferlita from the Tampa area, who were celebrating their 32nd wedding anniversary at the Night Swan Bed and Breakfast in New Smyrna. I knew the tide was wrong for the inlet, so we opted to try the Mosquito Lagoon. We launched around 7am, and fished in the south end of the Lagoon for about two hours with no success. Sam was hoping to tangle with one of our legendary breeder redfish. The windy conditions were a hindrance, so after a couple of hours we loaded the skiff and headed off to the Inlet. After acquiring bait, we arrived at the Inlet just as the tide started in and although the weather was gorgeous, we called it quits around 4pm without ever getting a decent bite. I dislike reporting the tough days like this one, but I feel it is important to be as honest as I can because they do happen from time to time, and although the day was tough, we fished hard and we had a great time... In closing, the weather for tomorrow looks ominous, but the front is predicted to pass through quickly with a good stretch of favorable conditions forecasted for the weekend, just in time for my 22nd annual week long Sebastian Inlet escape. So stay tuned for my next episode, and if you are fishing in Sebastian next week, keep an eye out for the Three Quarter Time and swing by and say hello. Also, for those of you who are interested in holiday gift certificates, I am offering a $50.00 discount for 2007 certificates paid in advance. As always, if you need information or have any questions, please contact me. Good Luck and good fishing, Captain Tom Van Horn www.irl-fishing.com 407-416-1187 on the water 407-366-8085 land line 866-790-8081 toll free
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