High, Dirty Water Orlando Fishing Report
This is the High, Dirty Water Orlando Fishing Report. I've been writing for weeks now that the water is high. It's always high this time of year, for complex reasons that I do not completely understand.
One of the components of this high water is water temperature. Warm water uses more volume than cold water. When you're talking the Atlantic Ocean, that's a lot of water to expand. Right now the southeast US coast has the highest ocean water level of the year.
Just so no one thinks I am just making this up, here's a goverment website with the data: http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/seasonal.htm?stnid=8721120 This graph spotlights Daytona Beach, but the high water goes up at least as far north as North Carolina. You didn't really think sea level was level, did you?
The elevation at the power plant in Port St. John is only about two feet higher than at Ponce Inlet. When the water along the beach rises, that water backs into the lagoons too. So the water is high.
Sunday- Makoto Enomoto, a fly fisher from Tokyo, was my angler. We went to the Indian River Lagoon. The water was the highest yet, and so dirty we could hardly see the bottom anywhere we looked, from the power plant to north of the railroad trestle.
I saw something floating in the water. I went to it to satisfy curiosity. It was a baby dolphin, dead and bloated. The sadder thing was, it's mother was still by it, nosing it, trying to get it to respond. It must have been dead at least two or three days.
In the afternoon, poling down the shoreline, we found a baby manatee, dead and bloated along the shoreline, bobbing in the waves. At least its mother wasn't there.
We found a few small ladyfish breaking under birds, and a few small ladyfish at the power plant. I saw a single baby tarpon roll. That was it for the day, a very tough outing indeed.
Sunday evening an anonymous but usually very reliable source told me there was clean water at the Thousand Islands in Cocoa Beach. I was there the next morning, and checked along the Pineda Flat too. There was zero clean water anywhere. I did not see a fish, or much of the bottom for that matter.
There was a small craft advisory, but since I was there it made sense to check the Port. The seas weren't bad. The mullet run has to be peaking this week. Astronomical numbers of mullet fill the surf.
Tuesday- Scott Radloff and I went to the Port. I brought my castnet. One throw was all it took for a day's supply of mullet, and a few freezer bags for future reference.
The surf was still up! We saw a vintage Hewes Bonefish go surfing a good 20 feet, close to the north jetty. It looked like a real exciting ride. I would have needed a wardrobe change.
We got 10 or 12 redfish. Scott simply pinched a couple big split shots near his hook. I used a 3/8 ounce jighead with a finger mullet for a tail. Both ways worked. Scott got a flounder, too.
Near the Cape we got Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Scott hooked a couple sharks. The roar of the waves coming across the shoal was impressive. The shape of the shoal changes all the time, but right now it's running out close to a couple miles.
There are not as many fish out there as I would expect, but there are certainly fish- redfish, some snook, ladyfish, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, and sharks. I got a report of tarpon in the surf. I have not checked it out. Any fish in the surf is pretty safe from fishermen in boats for at least a few more days.
Wednesday- smoked the fish I took on Tuesday. Spooled a couple reels and other administrative tasks.
Thursday- wished I hadn't spooled the reels. In spite of weather and sea conditions that were marginal at best, Dr. Lou Payor and I went out onto the Atlantic. Almost immediately a storm chased us back into the port. We fished on the inside of the jetty for a while, getting a red here, a jack there, as the weather and seas gradually and slightly improved. We were finally able to go on the outside of the jetty.
It was on fire.
In spite of the waves that kept coming over the bow, we stayed there three hours or so. Using live mullet we got a lot of redfish (multiple double hook-ups), and hooked two freight trains that spooled two reels. While I'd like to think they were bluefin tuna, sharks or big jacks are actually a more likely explanation. We never saw either one. Bluefish and jacks finished out our catch.
Friday- Went to the airport and picked up Makoto again. We tried to go out of the Port but the seas were rougher than Thursday. We didn't even clear the jetty before I turned around and put the boat back on the trailer. We drove to the Indian RIver Lagoon to try our luck there.
A rain squall hit us. I pointed out a rainbow and Makoto said, "There are diving birds at the end of the rainbow!" We rode over and sure enough there were fish breaking. We got several ladyfish on the wire fly before the action stopped. Who knew that the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow was actually ladyfish??
We went against the shoreline. As one might guess, because of the high, dirty water, the east wind, and the clouds it was very hard to see. In spite of that Makoto spotted several redfish. One of the nailed his crab pattern and he got it.
Although we would see fish intermittently all day, it was the only one he would get. Most of the fish we saw required a 10 foot cast, tough to do with a fly rod.
On the way back to the dock we found more diving birds. Using the wire fly Makoto got a nice bluefish. And that was it for the day.
Saturday- 7:30 AM found me at Hidden River RV Park. Tammy and Mike were already there. We put the kayaks by the Econ, then Mike and I did the shuttle to 419. The gauge read 5.5 feet.
We started paddling and quickly learned that 5.5 feet was not enough water to clear many of the blowdowns. There were a lot! It was an obstacle course for paddlers. But it turned out 5.5 feet was too much water for good fishing.
We came to a log jam. There was a fat 15 foot log there Mike wanted to paddle down the river. He and Tammy tried to free it up, which they eventually did. Tammy, very not gracefully, fell in over her head during the free-up job, which was hilarious.
A redbelly (the only one I would catch) hit my Road Runner. As it came close to my boat a LARGE gar came up and ate it. My little five foot fishing rod eventually coaxed the beast to let my fishy go. The poor sunfish was definitely the worse for wear.
At 5:30 PM we finally reached 419, soaking wet, covered with leaves and tree bits, kind of tired, and definitely exhiliarated. In spite of the effort needed to negotiate all the obstructions it had been a wonderful day on the water with friends.
And that is this week's High, Dirty Water Orlando Fishing Report.
Life is great and I love my work!
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All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2015. All rights are reserved.
About The Author: John Kumiski
Company: Spotted Tail Charter Service
Area Reporting: Florida's Space Coast
Bio: Guiding fly and light tackle anglers on Florida\'s Space Coast for over 20 years.