Fishing Report: COCOA BEACH, MERRITT ISLAND FISHING REPORT
Given the reports of pogies stacking up on the beach, many anglersí thoughts go to Tarpon, King Fish, and Big Jacks. As the upcoming nearshore season begins, two fellow guides, Capt. Keith Kalbflieisch and Capt. Chris Myers decided to do some early season prospecting. We started along the beach looking for baitfish and it wasnít long until we spotted a few pelicans diving, indicating the bait was there. Capt. Keith made a perfect cast with a 12 foot net and captured all the bait we would need for the day of slow trolling. The pogies were very large, about 9 and 10 inches.
We rigged three rods and began trolling in about 20 feet of water in a slow zigzagging route until we reached 35 feet where we would work our way back to the beach. The long line was well back behind the boat, a second rod was tolled mid-way and a third was barely outside the prop wash.
By the end of the day we had jumped one tarpon, had one humongous strike which buried the braided line in the spool and broke off where we could not even see the end of the line. Hooked another big fish, which acted like a jack Crevalle, that broke off also. We continued the toll, spotting a few more rolling tarpon and boating 3 sharks up to about 3 feet long. It was just the right kind of day to get our hopes up for the nearshore season that hopefully will last through August and into September.
The next day Capt. Chris and I repeated the process only spending a little more time close to the beach looking for rolling tarpon to cast to. Chris got one relatively early hook-up on a rolling fish about 20 feet from the boat. The big tarpon ate the pogie and become air borne, as they tend to do, and came off. We continued seeing and casting to several more tarpon before Chris got a solid hook-up. After several aerial displays and long runs Chris brought the fish along side where we took a quick picture and clipped a fin to send in for research. The rest of the day produced another break off on a trolled bait and a nice 40 inch Jack that I threw a pogie to as a large school simply showed up off the stern, heading right for us. Given the long hard fight of this strong and determined fish, the mono on the rod was completely destroyed and twisted.
On a third day my angler Jim and I met early to try the whole process again. As we motored up to a bunch of pogies and I readied the net to throw I heard a call from a nearby boat. It was Capt. Keith and he motioned me over. He had already thrown his cast net and captured enough pogies for both of us and released many more. Thanks Keith for that gesture of sportsmanship and camaraderie. Then, Jim and I continue down the beach looking for rolling tarpon. We only say a couple, so we decide to begin the slow troll method moving in and out along the beach in 15 to 25 feet of water. Soon the starboard rod took a hit and being closest I picked it up and began the fight on a large fish. I fought the fish a while, then gave the rod to Jim who finished the task. This time it was a 48 inch Jack Crevalle. These big jacks fight so hard, you just wonít believe it until you experience it and I hope you get to soon. Jim complained a little about using some muscles he hadnít been use to using, but it didnít hurt as much as if he got the pain from yard work.
Then, tropical storm Alberto changed everything. So, I havenít been able to get back out there yet but am looking forward to the next opportunity. The bottom line is, the time is right, the nearshore season has begun and there should be plenty of good nearshore fishing ahead.
Capt. Chris can be reached at: 321-229-2848, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Capt. Keith can be reached at: 321-279-1344, or at www.saocf.com
Donít forget, starting on July 1st you have to use the pinched tail method of measuring fish. Your fish will have to be measured with the mouth closed and the tail pinched together. The measurement is then from the snout to the end of the pinched tail. You also have to have your tape flat on a surface; you canít follow the contour of the fish. Fish and Wildlife refer to this a ďtotal lengthĒ measurement. For more information, you can visit www.myfwc.com
As always, you can visit my website at www.inshorefishingadventures.com to view pictures of the fish we catch. Thatís what itís all about. Good fishiní.