Mosquito Creek Outdoor’s Indian River Lagoon Fishing Forecast, February 2009
By Captain Tom Van Horn
As winter seasons go here in Central Florida, we certainly can’t complain about the cards dealt to us thus far. With the exception of a few really cold days, I mean really cold, gorgeous fishing condition has prevailed and we experienced so excellent fishing as well.
Inshore on the flats, water levels have fallen to levels lower than I have ever seen. These low water levels have forced the redfish, black drum, and sea trout into the deeper pockets on the flats where they have become trapped in some cases. These concentrations make for a good number of tight schools, but shallow conditions also make access both difficult and dangerous for those not familure to the area. Also on colder days, falling water temperatures force most fish to seek deeper locations in search the warmest water they can find and they become very sluggish. As the sun warms the water, all it takes is a degree or two of change, and the fish will begin to move and feed in the shallows. On the sunny mornings, it is not uncommon to find redfish and trout holding in the sand pockets or potholes within the shallow flats where water temperatures raise faster. Additionally, warming water temperatures combined with sunny spring days and crystal clear water make February one of the best months to site fish for redfish, large sea trout, and black drum on the lagoon flats. Also, now is the time to target tailing black drum in the Banana River Lagoon “No Motor Zone”. For larger sea trout, fish at first light, sunset, or at night with natural baits, and target areas where mangrove edges, docks, and other structure are adjacent to deep water dredge holes, sloughs, or canals. These same areas will also hold concentrations of small trout which can be caught throughout the day on small jigs and shrimp imitation baits like DOA Shrimp fished very slowly along the bottom. Also, when fishing in deeper darker water try using nightglow colors with Woodies Rattles inserted in them to add the element of sound.
Offshore, kingfish are still present along the inshore reefs and wrecks, and they will remain there as long as the water temperature stays above 68 degrees. When targeting kingfish this month focus your efforts on the areas of 8A Reef, Pelican Flats, and Bethel Shoals to the south for best results. 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 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 structures, and for cobia to move in shadowing manta rays if the surface water temperatures reach the upper sixties. Now is also the time for shore fisherman 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.
Last but not least, windy days in February are a great time to check out those freshwater fishing holes on the St Johns River. Currently good catches of American shad, speckled perch, warmouth perch, and largemouth bass are being reported. The shad run has been really kicking this year with more fish then we have seen in years. This past week, good reports of shad came from the Marina Isles to Mullet Lake section of the St. Johns River, as well as a good number shad being taken south of Lake Harney. As the run progresses the shad should be moving into the shallows flats south of Hwy 46, so fly anglers don’t hast.
Remember when planning a fishing trip in February, keep a close eye on the weather, and fish whenever you have a chance.
Also, be sure to check out the new Coastal Angler Magazine Orlando in print and online for free at www.coastalanglermagazine.com.
As always, if you have questions on need information, please contact me.
Good luck and good fishing,
Captain Tom Van Hornwww.irl-fishing.com
407-416-1187 on the water
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