Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast, February 2008
Compliments of Mosquito Creek Outdoors Apopka, Florida
Well those Anglers not familiar to Florida may believe fishing opportunities in February are few but far between, but that thought could not be further from the truth. In reality, angling during the winter on the Indian River Lagoon Coast produces outstanding catches if the right tactics and strategies are employed.
As always, understanding the cycle of passing cold fronts is essential selecting the proper weather day and having the flexibility to get out on the water while the getting is good will add to one’s success. Passing cold fronts are notorious for delivering several days nasty windy conditions followed by a short window of gorgeous weather, and a prudent angler will focus there attention on boat and tackle maintenance and honey dos during periods on ugly weather and call in sick when conditions are right.
With sea trout, black drum, and redfish serving as the primary targets on the inshore flats, water temperature serves as the most critical element in locating and catching fish. On colder days, sea trout will search out and congregate in the warmest water they can find, so focus your attention in deeper holes and pockets adjacent to shallow flats. Another critical element is the fact fish are cold blooded, so during colder periods their metabolic rate slows way down and they eat less, so concentrate your efforts on dredge holes, troughs, depressions, and canals located next to expansive flats, and slow down your presentation to a crawl. My preferred lure in this situation is a Nite Glow Riptide realistic Shrimp rigged on a 1/16 ounce Screw Lock Jig. My tactic is to locate a deeper canal adjacent to an expanse of shallow flats and then cast to the edges and let the jig sink all the way to the bottom before retrieving it very slowly. After the cold snap passes and the weather starts warming up, focus your attention on sandy potholes where both sea trout and redfish like basking in the warming sun. Also, let us not forget the tailing black drum and redfish on the Banana River Lagoon No Motor Zone. There are very few thing in life that get the heart pumping better than the sight of a huge black tail raising slowly out of the water within casting range, and one of those is the first long run of a big black drum in shallow water. Remember, an early start is not necessary if the weather gets cold, so sleep in and hit the water when sun has warmed the flats a bit.
Moving 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. Live bait is often tough to find this time of year, so always carry a box of frozen Spanish sardines with you as backup.
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, and let us not forget the excellent grouper and snapper experienced in February as these fish have a tendency to move in on shallow bottom structure and wrecks. 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.
February is also a great 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.
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 9th Mosquito Creek Outdoors in Apopka, Woman in the Outdoors presents the Ladies Social Angler Seminar and Wine Tasting, from 9am-2pm. Cost to attend is $40 per person and includes one-year membership and subscription to The Woman in the Outdoors. To register, contact Mosquito Creek Outdoors (407) 464-2000.
March 1st, 2nd, and 8th 9th Bass Pro Shop Spring Fling, Orlando Florida
March 8th 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.
As always, if you have any questions or need more information, please contact me.
Good luck, good fishing, and Happy New Year,
Captain Tom Van Horn
Mosquito Coast Fishing Chartershttp://www.irl-fishing.com
407-416-1187 on the water
866-790-8081 toll free
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