Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishihg Forecast
By Captain Tom Van Horn
Waking up in my Lazy Boy from my turkey induced Thanksgiving coma, my mind is clouded with thoughts of the holiday season and spending time on the water with family and friends. Itís hard to believe December has already arrived, and the New Year is just around the corner. As I awaken I begin to realize how fortunate we are to live in Central Florida where fishing is a year round sport.
Like the rest of the year, December is a great month to fish along the IRL Coast with excellent opportunities from fishing offshore blue water fishing to slow trolling for shad and speckled perch on the St Johns River. As always, weather fronts will play a significant roll in selecting your time on the water and your desired style of fishing, so itís often best to ready your boat and equipment keeping an eye on the long range forecast and then taking a day off work and drop everything to go fishing on the gorgeous days.
When the weather is nice and the seas are fishable, solid concentrations of kingfish will be holding on the inshore reefs and wrecks in 60 to 100 feet of water. Several prime locations to target December kingfish are the north end of Pelican Flats and 8A reef out of Port Canaveral. The kingfish bite should remain steady as long as water temperatures stay above 74 degrees. When near-shore waters approach the 70-degree mark, start looking for cobia and tripletail along Port Canaveral buoy line and the shallow waters just off the bight of the Cape. These two species normally hold around floating structure, but they also have a tendency to free swim once the water temperatures warms up in the afternoon.
If the ocean conditions are a bit too rough, good concentrations of breeder redfish will be holding in the inlet passes of Ponce De Leon and Sebastian. Try drifting the passes during the falling tide bouncing live pinfish off the bottom. In the Port Canaveral shipping channel, work the edges of the channel using the same technique. Remember these are oversize redfish, so please step up the size of your tackle to lessen the stress of the fight, and release them with extreme care to be caught again on another day.
Snook fishing will also remain steady around Sebastian Inlet as long as the water temperatures stay warm. It is best to target inlet snook during periods of slack tide fishing live pigfish, pinfish, or croakers at night in the channel under the A1A Bridge. Snook season ends December 15th, so if you enjoy a snook dinner once in a while, donít hesitate. Another notable species worth mentioning when speaking of inlet fishing is flounder. Depending on surf and lagoon temperatures, the flounder migration can stretch into December, with stragglers filtering through the passes all month.
If the winds are westerly, concentrate your efforts along the beach, and look for pompano to begin moving off the inshore flats to the deeper troughs along the beach. Also look for schools of bluefish and Spanish mackerel shadowing pods of glass minnows and other bait is the surf. To target both blues and Spanish, watch for birds working bait pods, and through small jigs like the D.O.A C.A.L. and spoons with a fast retrieval to avoid cutoffs.
Inshore, both redfish and sea trout will remain in the skinny water as long as the water temperatures stay warm. Inshore fishing is best once the sun warms the water a bit, so sleep in and enjoy a good cup of coffee before heading to the ramp. Fish in protected areas and sunny spots, and look for fish to be holding in sand pockets until the sun gets overhead. Also, now is also the time of year to target tailing black drum in the Banana River Lagoon No Motor Zone.
On the upper Saint Johns River look for the American and hickory shad runs to commence near the end of the month, and intensifying in January and February. Shad fishing is one of the most overlooked fisheries in Florida, and a fun fish to catch on both fly and light tackle gear.
In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who fished and worked with me in 2008 for your business and friendship, and I am looking forward to spending more time on the water with you in 2009. Also, now is the time to purchase your 2009 gift certificates at and receive 50.00 dollars off of the standard rate by either replying to this news letter or calling me, so purchase a charter in advance for yourself or that certain angler close to your heart, and go fishing with them.
As always, if you have any questions or just need information, please contact me.
Happy Holidays, and good luck and good fishing, and God bless,
Captain Tom Van Horn
Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
407-416-1187 on the water
Visit www.mosquitocreekoutdoors.com for your outdoor adventure needs, its Where the Adventure Begins!
About The Author: Captain Tom Van Horn
Company: Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
Area Reporting: Indian River Lagoon Coast
Bio: Captain Tom Van Horn is a life long Florida resident specializing in light tackle saltwater fishing. Come fish the Indian, Mosquito, and Banana River Lagoons for giant redfish, sea trout, snook, tarpon and many other species, all less than one hour from the Orlando theme parks.