Brevard Kayak Forecast – August 2015

The Lagoons of our Space Coast have many exciting fishing opportunities and are a very unique location from an ecological stand point. Not so much brackish water but more of a salt pond! The Brevard lagoons have a relatively high salinity due to the lack of a “true” freshwater source. This setup allows for a phenomenon only found here on the Space Coast. Breeding schools of redfish that are best described as landlocked. These bull redfish differ from all other reds of breeding size in only one way. Our lagoon reds don’t join “offshore” schools to do their yearly business, but are able to have a productive late summer spawn in our salty lagoons. From Maryland to Texas the redfish move to passes, inlets, shoals, and near- coastal waters every August by the thousands to join massive open water schools for their spawn. We even have those schools of breeders on the shoals of the cape! However in our (relatively) small section of the redfish’s range we are special and the benefits are astounding. Does this make for some outstanding fishing? Well absolutely it does! Can this hurt these “special” redfish in our lagoons/does it make them susceptible to unethical fishing practices? It most certainly does! However; you can responsibly catch and release these amazing redfish doing very little harm. Let’s start by getting you hooked up to that monster red with some tips, and then we’ll talk handling techniques.

These large reds will fall for a well place fly, soft plastics, and are a sucker for the large sized topwater plugs that imitate mullet. The most productive way to fool our long lived local redfish is soaking a chunk. Finding a good drop-off, grass edge, or area you’ve seen the big reds moving through and setting up for a few minutes will pay dividends. Your tackle should consist of 15-20lb braid with a 3ft leader of 40lb mono/fluoro. Med-Heavy to Heavy rods and reels should be used to shorten the fight. The fish your hunting range from 15-45 pounds so make sure you have tackle suited for the test. I will typically run a 4/0-6/0 circle hook with a chunk the size of my fist. The bait size I use is surprising for many of my clients, but this is necessary to create the correct smell, commotion, and maximum catfish proofing for the desired effect. Ladyfish, Black Mullet (large), Blue Crab, and just about any other baitfish can be used.

After you successfully fight your Bull redfish, it’s time to land and photo this once in a lifetime fish without damaging or potentially killing the cornerstone of our redfish stocks! A large net or wet hand at the base of its tail are both effective. The best pictures come from the client or angler in the water with your fish. Protection of the slime coating should be as big a concern as keeping it out of water to long. Spend the time to revive and ensure these fish have a chance to breed. Catch one and move on; consistent pounding by boats or kayaks have turned many of our historic schools into shadows of their former selves. Have fun with these amazing fish, but understand what they mean to a “landlocked” fishery. #NoFillNoKill