Moving right along into May...water temperatures have climbed into the 80’s, baitfish have been flooding the inshore waters, manatees are scattered around the Lagoons, and the cobia, jack and tarpon migration is moving up the Florida coastline. A brief return of 90 degree daytime temperatures means summer conditions are on the near horizon. Inshore, the lagoons are where the best action is. GIANT bull redfish have dominated recent action on the deeper flats while smaller redfish are tailing in shallow grass or crawling down nearby shorelines. Speckled trout are hammering the glass minnows and mullet streaming into the inshore waters, while bluefish and small baby tarpon shadow nearby and follow suit on the feeding frenzy. Sight fishing opportunities are excellent and abundant for light tackle and fly anglers.
It’s one of my favorite times of the year to catch GIANT bull Redfish on the Space Coast. While our resident fish are in the Lagoons year-round and can be caught at any time, spring is when the big fish begin to school in mass numbers readying for a late summer spawn. These big schools recently are holding 50-100+ fish ranging from 15-40lbs. We will sight cast them with a variety of options from live bait to lures and flies on deeper flats or on the edges. Pinfish or live finger mullet are too much to resist for these trophy fish. Five to ten of these monster redfish is an average day, enough to tire almost any angler with 10-20 minute battles. Consistent lower water levels in the lagoons has pulled the fish out of the ultra skinny water and into bigger schools out deeper. Same is the story in the New Smyrna backwaters on the bottom of the tide cycles around oyster bars and creeks. Overnight they are grouping with the mullet pods and then separating mid-morning to move towards shorelines. Blind casting spoons, crankbaits, and swimbaits early in the morning around baitpods will produce redfish. Once the sun is up finesse casting soft plastic jerkbaits will score on redfish that are now focused on the glass minnows, mud minnows, and small finger mullet that have flooded the inshore waters. Fly anglers are scoring on baitfish imitations like a bendback, spoon fly, or seaducer to cruising or schooling fish, while a crab or shrimp is the best option for that lonely “tailer”.
Peak time is upon us for the biggest Speckled Trout of the year. Key your ears to the finicky baitfish during the first couple hours of the morning to locate big gator troutfrom 4-8lbs shadowing the bait pods. Same as redfish, blind casting crankbaits and swimbaits early in the morning around baitpods will yield big trout. Once the sun is up finesse casting soft plastic jerkbaits to fish you see laid up in sand spots. More aggressive fish will be found smacking bait on the surface, which lends itself nicely to tossing topwater plugs for surface strikes. Fly anglers are scoring on baitfish imitations like a bendback or seaducer worked among the mullet pods. Within a few weeks we’ll start trout fishing with live pigfish, an easy and fun way to have non-stop catching action all day long.
Normally by now I would have already jumped and landed a few decent 20-40lb Tarpon in the area backwaters. The bad news is it’s running 2-3 weeks behind schedule as the water temps are just now getting to an optimal point for them to start moving around. So I haven’t put as much effort into them this spring as in previous years. I have recently located a few areas that have decent numbers of 5-10lb baby tarpon and have have also seen a few 20-40lb’rs rolling in the ICW. Numbers are a little slow right now, but they are fishable for those that want to give it a try. It won’t be until late June until the big migrating adult fish over 100lbs move up the coastline. Snook action has improved around New Smyrna and Port Orange around the docks and adjacent creeks. Crankbaits or DOA shrimp skipped under the docks or worked along the outer edges will score, as will a live shrimp.
Limited dates remaining open for the rest of May and June is almost 1/2 booked . Call or email now to reserve/book a date. Short notice trips are accepted if I have the date open. Read my fishing charter page to view the top reasons why you should book your trip with me today. I look forward to fishing with you soon…386-212-4931.