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February 28, 2009

East Central Florida Fishing Outlook, March 2009

Florida Fishing Outlook

Mosquito Creek Outdoors Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast, March 2009

by Captain Tom Van Horn

For those who have followed my fishing reports over the years, you've grown to appreciate the same signals I anticipate and look forward to every spring. The sweet fragrance of orange blossoms carried across the lagoon on the shoulders of a west wind, the magnificent bloom of the azaleas and camellias, and the brightly colored pristine buds on the hardwoods and cypress trees all signals springs arrival and the beginning of the fishing season for blue water anglers.

The Indian River Lagoon's unique diversity has established it as an estuary of national significance. Consisting of three distinct inshore lagoons, five ocean inlets, and 156 miles of inshore, near-shore and offshore reefs all nurtured by warmth and richness of the Gulf Stream distinguishes the IRL as one of the three most diversified biomasses in the world. Transitioning from tropical to temperate climate zones, the IRL system both inshore and offshore supports over 700 species of fish, and some of the best angling in the world.

As the ocean begins its gradual warming phase, 67 to 68 degrees, watch for the progression of baits schools (Atlantic menhaden and silver mullet) from warmer waters into the near-shore waters bringing the cobia and other predators with them. The warmer waters will also draw manta rays into the shallows shadowed by pods of cobia. Other notable species are tripletail around the buoys and under flotsam, heavy weight jack carvalle, large redfish, and sharks shadowing bait schools. Currently, both the cobia and the rays are a bit behind schedule due to a colder than normal spring.

Moving out into deeper water, the spring kingfish run should begin with the smaller kings showing up around the middle of March, followed by the smokers, 30 to 50 pounds, in April on the near-shore reefs and wrecks like Pelican Flats and 8A reef. If the bait moves in close to the beach, look for the larger kingfish to follow them. Also, April marks the beginning of the fishing season for many of the blue water anglers with the start of the April/May northern migration of dolphin in 120 feet of water and beyond, and the early part of the run usually includes some of the largest bulls taken all year. Again, colder water may delay this migration a bit.

In the inlets and along the beaches, whiting, pompano, bluefish, and Spanish mackerel should remain a staple with sheepshead and black drum holding on jetties and rock piles. As we move into the later part of April, watch for the snook and tarpon action to improve in Sebastian Inlet and then move north following the bait progression.

On the lagoon, rising water levels will draw the slot size redfish schools up onto the shallow flats, with the larger breeder schools holding along the deeper edges and sand bars. On the cooler days, focus your attention on sand pockets or potholes, and once the afternoon sun warms the water, look for tailing fish on the shallow flats. Also, April signals the return of silver mullet to the estuary, and the beginning early morning and late evening top water sea trout and redfish action. Remember, April is the month when sea trout become egg laden for the spawn, which happens just before the full and new moons, so it is very important to release the large females with extreme care; fore their survival is essential for the proliferation of the species.

As always, if you have any questions or need information, please contact me.

Good luck and good fishing,

Captain Tom Van Horn
Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
407-416-1187 on the water
407-366-8085 office
www.irl-fishing.com

Visit www.mosquitocreekoutdoors.com for your outdoor adventure needs, its Where the Adventure Begins!