Well it's June and on the Space Coast of Florida that means it's time to hit the beaches!! So I will start off with my offshore report: This time of year the bait pods show up in huge numbers just outside the breakers of all of our local beaches. This is the best time to take your kayak offshore and look for any one of the twenty plus species of game fish that will be feeding on the glass minnows, threadfins, sardines, mullet, and porgies that make up the bait balls.
One of my favorite fish to target when I hit the bait balls are the Kingfish or King Mackerel. The Kingfish is one of the fastest fish to show up on the beaches and while a Kingfish can grow to sixty plus pounds most of the fish found on the beach average ten to thirty pounds. There ability to peel off a ton of line on the first run and sky rocket on a bait makes them one of the most fun fish to catch, oh and the fact that there not very picky about what they eat makes them easy targets and there not bad eating. I like to cast surface plugs like the Yo zuri Hydro popper
with a short section of #4 wire to protect against cut offs. Or you can troll lip plugs like the Rapala X-rap Deep
One of the best ways to catch big Kingfish is to fish with live bait, and for this I use a Sabiki rig to catch a few live baits from the bait pods and rig them on a Kingfish rig. For this I use about a three foot section of #4 wire with a 2/0 live bait hook and a #4 treble hook. I take the wire and make a Haywire twist on one end and then make another Haywire twist through the eye of the live bait hook. Cut about another foot or so of wire to make a four or five inch connection between the live bait hook and the treble hook. To do this make another Haywire twist through the eye of the live bait hook then make a Haywire twist through the eye of the treble hook. I use a ball bearing snap swivel to connect my main line to my rig because I like being able to quickly change out my rig after catching a fish if I need to. To rig the bait just insert the live bait hook into the nose of the bait fish and then take the treble hook and insert one of the hooks into the side of the bait and drop it back around the school of bait.
I use twenty pound tackle when fishing the bait pods for a spinning outfit I like the Shimano Saragosa 8000 and a six to seven foot, fifteen to twenty pound class rod with a light tip but plenty of back bone. And for a conventional reel I use an Avet Lx 6.01 packed with twenty pound momoi hi catch steel blue mono on a seven foot fifteen to twenty pound class live bait rod.
The nice thing about having these lure and bait options at the ready is then you are able to catch and land just about everything that feeds on the bait pods. There are a few fish that show up to the party that you will want to use bigger gear for like the sixty to hundred pound Tarpon. For Tarpon I use a five foot sixty to eighty pound fluorocarbon leader that I like to tie to 40lb braid with a uni knot. My hook selection depends upon the size of the bait fish I have, you don't want to use a hook that is too heavy for the baitfish for this will make it hard for them to swim and if you use to small of a hook you will have a hard time hooking the corner of the Tarpons jaw.
Along with the Kingfish and Tarpon there are Jacks, Spanish mackerel, Bluefish, Redfish, Black drum, Ladyfish, Sharks, Flounder, Snapper, Triple Tail and Cobia.
A few things you might want to have with you are a gaff, fish bag, a flow troll style bait bucket a bunch of bottled water and some kind of snack. The items you have to have per the Coast Guard are your life vest, sounding device like an air horn and a light if you should be out before dawn or at night. Inshore:
The Redfish, Trout, and Black Drum are all over the flats from Daytona down thru the Sebastian Inlet area. Most people are targeting these fish early in the day with live and cut baits like Shrimp, Ladyfish, Mullet and Crabs. Others like myself use soft plastic baits and top waters in the morning, like the Rapala Skitter Walk or Fantail Shrimp from Exude or the Exude crab with Bio Edge
or Pro Cure
sent products on them.
I have found allot of Redfish and Black Drum the past couple weeks hanging around the large schools of black mullet in the Mosquito Lagoon as well as the Indian River. These fish like to follow the Mullet because the Mullet feed on the grass and alga that grows on the flats and as the Mullet move down the grass flats Crabs, small fish, and Shrimp get pushed out of the grass and the Redfish and Black Drum are there to pick them up. The trout on the other hand hide in the pot holes that litter the flats waiting for a easy meal to swim by.
Moving off the flats the Sheephead, Mangrove Snapper, Snook and Spadefish like to stack up on the Bridges and Docks all up and down the coast. Live Shrimp will be your best bet to get these fish to bite till around noon. As the water gets warmer the bite slows down, you don't fish a tide change in the Indian River north of say the 192 bridge thru Titusville because there is no tide movement this is the same for the Banana River and the south end of the Mosquito Lagoon.
The night time bite around the bridges is on fire this time of the year with Mangrove Snapper being my favorite target I would target them with live Shrimp of small live Baitfish like Mullet, Mud Minnows, and white baits. Try to anchor yourself on the up side of the bridge depending on the way the wind is blowing, so say the wind is out of the north you will want to be on the north side of the bridge this way here you can deploy a chum bag and have the wind push the chum to the bridge drawing out the Snapper. Freshwater:
The area lakes are full of Panfish at the moment with many of the fish coming off of lily pads for those using Crickets and Worms. Out away from the bank folks are finding Panfish while using small grubs and swim baits. But the Bass have been the big draw for guys fishing big plastic worms and shiners in and around the timber. There have been many eight plus pound fish caught as of late so get on out there and bend a rod. Tight Lines!