With the Central Florida Shootout coming up, I wanted to get back to my roots and focus on some local areas that have produced well for me in the past. This week, I scouted out my home waters, the south end of the Banana River. I made it to my first spot just after sunrise, a long flat on the west side of the river, just north of the Pineda Bridge. As you can see from the video, the water on this side of the river is pretty clear, you could see the bottom in water depths of 1-3 feet. After a couple of misses on topwater plugs and not seeing any signs of tailing or bait pods on the flat itself, I moved to a deeper edge/channel on the back side of the flat. The residential side of the flat provides good structure, and the channel depth of 5 feet transitions to the flat quickly allowing fish to stalk the edges. In the past, I’ve seen large drum, ladyfish, and tarpon in these areas, but on this morning I was the king of the micro dinks. Using my trusty Mirrodine C Eyes 17mr in VPB color, I caught a couple of small trout, a croaker, pufferfish, and a couple of ladyfish. I kept one of the ladyfish as a cut bait option for later on.
After the micro slay fest, I decided to make a move to the other side of the river. I found a nice patch of mangroves that had 3-4 feet of water underneath them. Sticking with the Mirrodine, I was able to quickly score a solid trout before heading out. I decided to move out of this spot quickly because there was a could of people fishing from the bank close by. I did not see them at first and got the hint when I heard their large surf rods send weighted baits my way.
On the way home, I decided to put the ladyfish to good use, and fish the Pineda bridge. Cutting the bait into nice size chunks, I rigged them on a 2/0 1/8th oz Mission Fishin jig head. Casting at the bridge pilings, the goal was to hit the flat side so the bait would drop straight down. When you get your cast down, as the bait hits the water it’s important to keep the bail open so the bait will continue to fall straight down towards the bottom. If you close the bail too early, the bait will pendulum away from the piling and swing back towards you. This will move the bait too far off the piling where the fish will be stacked up. I was looking for some drum to be holding on these pilings, but to my surprise, three out of four casts yielded a few rich in color mangrove snappers. This was my first time catching mangrove snappers in the Banana River, and all three fish were around 12 inches and put up a fun fight.
I wrapped up just in time for brunch and planned on going out again in the evening. Later on, I made it about a mile down the river before a huge storm font came across the east coast. I looked quickly at the weather before going out, and I knew rain was coming but didn’t check out the radar. Lesson learned, if you know it’s going to be raining, make sure you investigate what you are getting into. What I thought might be a couple of hours of refreshing rain ended up being 20-30 mile hour wind with reported 50-60 mph wind gusts. Luckily, I raced home in time before the worst of the front came through.
The last portion of this video takes place in the evening the next day. I went back to the west side of the river where I caught that nice trout, there was no other fisherman this time. I was determined to record some topwater action, it was a long grind but finally got onto a fat lower slot speckled trout. As far as scouting goes, one can argue that it was not very productive, but eliminating spots is just as important as finding good ones. Although I’ve had success in these areas in the past it was during different times of the year. I won’t be fishing these exact areas for the tournament but it made for a nice day out on the water, with a variety of species caught. I know this report is a little delayed but I’m looking forward to sharing my experience in fishing in my first tournament with you all soon. Until next time, good luck out there, and stay safe!