Mosquito Creek Outdoors Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast, May 2009

By Captain Tom Van Horn

As the breezes of April give way to the summer doldrums, warmer and calmer ocean waters set the stage for some of the best near-shore fishing experienced all year, especially for the folks running smaller boats. The baitfish have already arrived in good numbers and the strong easterly fetch which set up during the end of April will push in clean water, flotsam and fish inshore.

The bait pods, Atlantic menhaden (pogies), have shown up along the beach, and now is the best time to target the ocean predator shadowing these schools. Drag screaming kingfish and large jack crevalle are my favorite targets, but it’s not uncommon to catch large redfish, blacktip sharks, cobia, and tarpon from within these pods of bait as well. To locate bait pods, simply look for feeding birds, flipping and jumping bait, muddy water along the beach, and busting fish.

Offshore, dolphin fishing will be the focus of blue water anglers this month. April and May are the time of year when the larger bulls are taken off the Florida Space Coast. The early season dolphin bite has already yielded fish in excess of 60 pounds. Also, as a bonus, the potential of taking a blue marlin or sailfish are good. Near-shore, the kingfish bite has heated up on the near-shore reefs and wrecks and some cobia are still around. As the seas settle down and the bait schools move in close to the beach, look for the kingfish action to move in also.

Additionally, Spanish mackerel, snook, large redfish, bluefish, flounder, sheepshead and black drum are just some of the species available in the Lagoon inlets and beaches this month. As the baitfish migration moves north, this type of fishing will only improve.

On the Lagoon flats, redfish and spotted sea trout will provide the majority of action for light tackle and fly anglers. The water has warmed up to the point where jack crevalle, ladyfish, snook, and tarpon are showing up in good numbers. I like to target redfish and sea trout at first light or at dusk, with top water plugs like the Rapala Skitterwalk or Storm Chug Bug. As the day heats up, change your focus to the deeper edges of the flats (2 to 3 feet deep) jigging with a DOA CAL tail or the DOA Deadly Combo.

Last but not least, if you are interested in learning more about fishing the saltwater flats, mark your calendar for the free flats fishing class 2 of 8 class series, “Lines Leaders and Practical Knots, Saturday May 16th, at Mosquito Creek Outdoors in Apopka Florida.

As always, if you have any questions or need more information, please contact me.

Good luck and good fishing,

Captain Tom Van Horn

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407-416-1187 on the water

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