Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast, March 2008

Compliments of Mosquito Creek Outdoors, Apopka Florida

In angling terms, March on the east central coast of Florida means, cobia, cobia, and more cobia. Yes, the brown clowns are the jesters of the sea on the Space Coast, and their court consist of the monster jacks (jack carvalle), smoker kings (large kingfish), and the silver kings (tarpon) to name just a few.

As spring progresses and the ocean begins its gradual warming phase, 67 to 68 degrees, the migration of baits schools bring, Atlantic menhaden (pogies), threadfin herring (greenies), bay anchovies (glass minnows) and black and silver mullet into the near-shore waters bringing the cobia and other predators with them. Warmer waters will also draw manta rays into the shallows as they migrate north shadowed by pods of cobia. Other distinguished species are tripletail around the buoys and under flotsam, and large redfish and blacktip sharks following bait schools along the beach. Currently, both the cobia and the manta rays have been showing up in our near-shore waters ahead of schedule. When targeting cobia out of Port Canaveral, my strategy is to concentrate on filling my bait well with live pogies in the morning, and then run south to a point off of Melbourne beach. Then I return slowly using a zigzag pattern (shallow to deep and back shallow) with the afternoon sun to my back until I locate fish, and then I mark and maintain the same depth and water temperature. Also, if I locate bait schools pushed to the surface, I stop and drop a live bait through the school targeting the predators below.

Moving out into deeper water, the spring kingfish run should begin with the smaller kings showing up around the middle of March, followed by the smokers, 30 to 50 pounds near the beginning of April on the near-shore reefs and wrecks like Pelican Flats and 8A reef, 60 to 90 feet of water. If the bait moves in close to the beach, look for the larger kingfish to follow them. Also, the beginning of April marks the start of the fishing season for many of the blue water anglers with the start of the April/May northern migration of dolphin in 120 feet of water and beyond, and the first part of the run usually includes some of the largest bulls taken all year. Again, good reports of dolphin have been coming in, also ahead of schedule.

Fishing in and around the inlets and along the beaches will produce, whiting, pompano, bluefish, and Spanish mackerel, with sheepshead and black drum holding on jetties and rock piles. As we move into April, watch for the snook and tarpon action to heat up in Sebastian Inlet, and then move north to Port Canaveral and Ponce De Leon Inlet following the bait progression.

On the lagoon, rising water levels will draw the slot size redfish schools up onto the shallow flats, with the larger breeder schools forming up and holding along the deeper edges and sandy shoals. On the cooler days, focus your attention on sand pockets or potholes, and once the afternoon sun warms the water, look for tailing fish on the shallow flats. Also, mid March signals the return of finger mullet into the estuary, and the beginning early morning and late evening top water sea trout and redfish action. Remember, spring is the season when sea trout become egg laden for the spawn, happening just before the full and new moons, so it is very important to handle and release the large females with extreme care; fore their survival is essential for the proliferation of the species.

Seminars and Events

Anyone who is interested in volunteering to assist in the March 8th Kids Fishing Day at Mosquito Creek Outdoors in Apopka, please contact me. Thank You

March 8th, 9am-3pm, Woman in the Outdoors presents a Kids Fishing Day. Event includes a full day of activities and lunch, and the cost is $25 per child. To register, contact Mosquito Creek Outdoors at (407) 464-2000.

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-Blakemore Fishing Group, and D.O.A. Lures

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
407-366-8085 landline
407-416-1187 on the water
866-790-8081 toll free

Book a charter, and let’s go fishing.

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