Happy Monday SpaceFish Nation,
I hope everyone had a fantastic Labor Day Holiday weekend! I was able to get out and fish twice, and we enjoyed a great family meal – I prepared all of it except the Mac and Cheese my wife has a guarded homemade recipe she got from her mama, but I smoked ribs, cooked my special jambalaya, baked beans, grilled corn and garlic toast on the grill (which is a fantastic choice to sop up a plate of bbq and all the sides we had). I called this meal “the works”. Well, I knew I would have a little extra time on the water this week so my theme for this weekend’s fishing was going to be “the works” – I was going to start on the Indian River Lagoon and work back into the creeks, my goal in these two trips was to catch the big 4 inshore species (Snook/Tarpon/Red/Trout) and a Largemouth. Well I got 4 down, the Trout eluded me – which going into this weekend I felt good about catching Trout but I struggled fishing on the Lagoon with the winds creating a chop so I never really honed in on them like I should have.
I plan on breaking down both of these spots in full in the coming weeks, these are absolutely fantastic tributaries to explore as a kayak angler! But for now I’ll talk about my weekend on the water and dive in on Crane Creek next week.
Goat Creek Trip: So I launched out of Jon Jorgensen’s Landing in Grant. My game plan was to paddle out to the spoil islands and scratch the trout off my list. But my boys were going to spend a day with my parents, they came over to pick them up Saturday morning, and I got a late start on the water because I was seeing my boys off, by the time I got out there, the water was choppy so I worked up to Goat Creek which was a little over 2 miles north of my launch point. I fished some of the deeper edges of docks along the way, I picked up my first Redfish and a few average sized snook doing this. Fishing docks in the late summer is a sure fire way to catch inshore fish, but it’s like the Bass fishing this time of year, it’s BBQ fishing, low and slow. That’s not my style, or what I like to do, and when you’re trying to do that from a kayak in choppy water it’s not super fun or comfortable. But I fished a DOA Shrimp on the docks, I had the natural translucent color and Rootbeer, both caught fish, but with the choppy water coming all the way across the lagoon and looking like dirty dishwater or Yoo-Hoo by the time it reaches this side, I think Rootbeer is the better choice. Fishing a DOA Shrimp and why it’s a great dock lure is it skips really, really well. It’s like fishing a Senko: throw it out, let it sink, be ready on the fall, a lot of hits will happen here, once it hits the bottom, lift the rod tip, and let it fall again. I usually do this two or three times before I burn it back and repeat, once I’ve picked this dock apart I move on to the next. I fished about a dozen docks this way, caught a handful of fish and decided it was time to hunt some Tarpon in the creek.
Once I got into Goat Creek I started fishing under the bridges, I caught a Snook and Mayan Cichlid there. I caught a half dozen more Snook under the mangroves in the first mile of the creek, once I got past the railroad track bridge all I caught was Juvenile Tarpon and eventually way back in the creek, past the Tadlock Ave bridge I caught a few dink bass on Johnson Beetle Spins and 7 inch ribbontail worms. And when I say dinks, they were dinks. I’m talking about quarter ounzers (without cheese) but they were beautiful creek Bass, they were dyed like Easter Eggs, they almost looked gold and black in the tanic stained water. I also had the living daylights scared out of me when not looking down in the water I bumped into a 5ish foot alligator who looked at me and then slowly submerged in the water while I frantically back paddled away. So my advice in Goat Creek, as you’re getting back in there, look where you are going! I was able to land only 1 Tarpon on this trip, but I hooked up with 6 total, the other 5 either bent the hook or spit the hook. I noticed that they turned off my minnow profile 2 inch swimbait, so I started throwing the beetle spin with a black body. I had a few to follow it, but wouldn’t eat, so I took the beetle body and jig head and threw it in front of a rolling Tarpon, and this is how I got 4 of the 6 hook ups. I had both of my small beetle spin jig heads hook bent out. I think the lure is a great choice for creek Tarpon, but I may look for another light jig head option with a stronger hook. If you’re not familiar with the Johnson Beetle Spin lure it’s an old school classic that has been catching Bass and Panfish for a long, long time. The little beetle profile is the perfect size of what Juvie Tarpon are looking for, and the lack of action it makes on it’s own, is what makes it a very enticing option for Tarpon.
On the second fishing trip, I launched at Scurrah’s Landing in Melbourne, I worked the shoreline of the IRL on the way into Crane Creek, which resulted in 2 rat Reds, and 1 small Snook. All 3 came on a Zoom Fluke in Baby Bass color. Once in the marina, I worked docks, this time with a DOA CAL Shad in Figi Chix on a red DOA Cal Jighead. I caught 3 more Snook doing this, and had my heart broken, when a big Slob Snook broke me off under a dock. I lost another good Snook on a dock, I wasn’t broken off, but he ran around a dock piling, I lost the tension I had on him, and the hook came out. Once I cleared the bridge I went back to the Zoom Fluke, and 2 inch Tsunami Swim Bait. I caught more small Snook than I could count, I probably caught a dozen Mayan Cichlids, and just west of the train track, I caught my biggest Red of the weekend, not a monster but a fun catch, I skipped the fluke under a mangrove, I was retrieving it with a jerk-jerk-pause cadence, he hit it on the fall, about a yard or so outside of the mangrove line. The Zoom fluke is an excellent weedless option for fishing mangrove, it skips well, it is super durable, and it gives off a great erratic action without the vibration of a paddle tail. It’s a great way to up the size of the profile you’re throwing without spooking fish in skinny water. I was using a ⅛ oz twistlock hook, but when my brother came down from Georgia this summer, he wore out the Bass on Headwaters with a Zoom fluke on a weightless worm hook, and he popped his Snook cherry the same way, the fluke rigged weedless and weightless. That’s a bait that I haven’t utilized as much as I should, but will definitely be using more of, especially on sunny, clear sky days. I never got a Tarpon hook up on Crane Creek this weekend, but I hope that when I return next week, I can find them and get them to play.
I hope everyone had a great weekend, have a great week, get out on the water and catch them up! Be blessed!