Fish Fish Fish
- September 21, 2009
- 0 Comments
- By Story/Photos By Matt Badolato
Surfing, fishing. Surfing, fishing. That’s how it’s been going for Central Florida’s people of the sea lately. One weekend we’ve got beautiful glassy the surf, the next week its flat and great conditions for flats fishing or going offshore. Hey, I’m not complaining though--nothing wrong with a little instability every once in awhile.
Since we’re talking instability, you know who leads an unstable, chaotic life? Britney Spears, yes, but I was thinking about the mullet. Their life is a freaking nightmare! Live in the mud, eat in the mud, screw in the mud. Then swim miles upon miles through a predator infested hell just to go live in the mud somewhere else!
But for we human beings, the mullet run is a fantastic thing. The fishing in the lagoon, aka THE RIVER, has been pretty sweet with the influx of silvery mud-eaters. Early morning is usually best this time of year, for the wind is usually calm and the temperatures are cool. Once that seabreeze kicks in it can be hard to see the schools of bait or busting fish. When the temps get too high, fish get lazy just like us. Using large topwaters around schools of mullet on the flats is an exciting and productive way of getting strikes from redfish, big azz trout, bluefish, mogan jacks and maybe a tarpon. Snook will definitely be on the prowl out in open water as the baitfish schools draw them out of their usual haunts.
I know I don’t even have to mention it, but the fishing at Sebastian Inlet should be phenomenal with the mullet run in full swing. Try some mullet-sized plugs like Windcheaters and Rebel Bombers and Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows to entice the feeding snook. I like to fish from the rocks, casting up and down current, either straight out or down along the rocks. Try to see what the fish like best of the variety and stick with that and you will have snookin’ success. Don’t be surprised when you hook into reds, jacks, tarpon and bluefish using the plugs.
Moving deeper, we’re still in a summer pattern of offshore fishing. The bottom bite has been pretty slow, but it is coming around. Some decent red snapper have been caught at varying depths lately, but no numbers to brag about. Seems like the only consistent bet is the amberjacks which can be found on deeper wrecks.
However, after the tropical depressions which blessed us with those nice swells, we’ve had some clear water in the 80’ foot depths off Sebastian and Port Canaveral. For you divers out there, the visibility has been a consistent 15-25 feet for the past couple of weeks. Captain Randy and Karl P pulled up several HUGE flounder, 20 and 30-pound gag grouper, a 20-pound red snapper, some nice lobster and an assortment of smaller snapper and triggerfish from the eighty-five foot reefs off Port Canaveral this past weekend, September 18th.
My own prospects out into Sebastian’s depths have been fruitful in different ways. A few weeks ago we caught lots of eating sized (8-10-pound) kingfish out in 80’ near Bethel Shoals. We were anchored up doing some bottom fishing and they would hit everything we threw out there. My buddy Tombones had a 4000 Stradic loaded up with line get spooled on a flatlined sardine. We also caught loads of bonita and got a small mahi and a cobia to come over for dinner. Stopped at Long Doggers in Indialantic that evening and had the head chef Kevin cook us up our fresh catch. That went down nicely with some Blue Moon on tap. MMM HMM.
For the first time in months I went offshore with my dad and brother, Mike, for just a guys’ day on the water. There’s usually a girlfriend or other friend coming along, so it was nice to just hang out with my blood for once. We got an early start and were heading out of Sebastian Inlet with a livewell blacked-out with finger mullet. Started trolling in 120 feet and picked up a big bonita, followed by a tiny dolphin which we tagged and released. Spare the grease, tag and release!
After releasing the little ‘phin we came across a shrimp boat. The guys on deck were cleaning up so using my God-given instincts I jumped up on the bow of our boat, waving a six-pack of Miller Lite above my head. They in turn waved us over.
“Boy we’ve been waiting for you guys!” They shouted.
We handed up the cold beers and they tossed us a 25-pound bag of fresh rock shrimp and a 15-pound bag of GIANT squids. They weren’t true giants, but each one was every bit of 18 inches. I hate the idea of dredging our ocean floor and tearing up the fragile ecosystem, but yesterday I was okay with it.
After receiving the rockies we headed out deep, where we found a floating abandoned long line buoy. I pitched a live mullet out and caught a even smaller dolphin than the first. Once again we tagged and released her. If you’d like to be a part of the Dolphin Tagging project, check out www.dolphintagging.com and be a part of the future of dolphin fishing and conservation. It’s FREE and easy to do, and you are helping scientists and anglers find out more and more about dolphin.
Not much happening on the troll, so we headed to a sunken barge in 300 feet. I couldn’t manage to hook up with an amberjack with a jig, but Mike, who works as a Fish Taco Engineer at the Sandbar in Melbourne Beach, tossed out a live mullet and waited. Only seconds later a fish blasted his surface-swimming mullet and zinged off some line. A few minutes later he brings up a skipjack tuna which we immediately bled and iced down. They make excellent sushi if you take care of the meat properly.
It was getting rough and stormy so we headed back to the barn. Y’all enjoy the pictures, we’ll enjoy the rock shrimp!
‘Til next time, tasty waves, tight lines, calm seas, offshore winds, and fishy thoughts,