by Capt. Tom Van Horn, Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
There’s no doubt summer has arrived on the Indian River Lagoon coast. With temperatures and humidity levels rising, it’s wise to concentrate your angling efforts during cool hours of early morning, late afternoon, and night. I know the best time to fish is whenever you have a chance, but stay cool if you can. Fishing in June, July, and August requires some adjustments in your fishing routine, but it doesn’t mean the fish aren’t biting. June will provide some of the best opportunities for shallow water anglers to tackle major fish along the Lagoon coast.Near-shore opportunities are typically the best you will see all year for skinny water boats 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. When the summer doldrums set in, the waters clear up, and the seas flatten out, the window of opportunity opens for flat bottom boats.
Also along the beach, look for the tarpon and shark number to increase, and let’s not forget the large schools of jack carvalle and the tripletail fishery will be cranking up. Remember, snook season closes this week, so lets give them a chance to relax and get jiggie. I try not to target them, and if I do manage to catch one, I handle it gently and release it with care.
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 slow trolling with live pogies producing the most action. Bottom fishing will remain good for snapper and grouper until the first summer squall (tropical system) blows in and muddies up the water.
On the flats, focus your efforts in the morning and in the late afternoon after the thunderstorms dissipate. Night fishing will also produce descent catches of redfish and trout. When fishing the flats at night, I prefer fishing real slow with glow in the dark shrimp imitation baits like the DOA Shrimp. If you can only fish during the heat of the day, target 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 near the end of June. 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.
Currently the water conditions are the best I’ve seen in years, let’s just hope the summer rains and nutrient loads do not trigger another alga bloom.
Also remember as the days heat up, long battles will kill the larger fish, if you plan on targeting them, you may want to step up your tackle to shorten the battle. Also leave them in the water as much as possible, and revive them completely before releasing them.
As always, if you need more information or have questions, please contact me.
Good luck and good fishing,
Captain Tom Van Horn