Kayak Report

Capt. Alex Gorichky

February can be a tough month for Space Coast Anglers, but those with kayaks gain an advantage.  With lagoon water levels low, and the ability to “launch quickly” when the conditions look just right, the kayak crowd will get plenty of chances to score fish that the boat crowd can’t.   The winter sight fishing season is here.  Your two main targets will be the Redfish (Reds) and Black Drum (Drum) that invade the Indian River, Banana River, and Mosquito Lagoon flats, also included is the No Motor Zone.  All of these bodies of water are different, but the Redfish and Black Drum inhabiting the flats share the same needs and comforts.  Due to the cooler water, metabolisms have slowed.  Couple that with diminishing amounts of “bait” fish, and you have Reds and Drum keying in on shrimp, crabs, marine worms, clams, and snails as their main food source.  The days that see sunny skies and calm winds will give you the best chance at some hot fishing action, but be sure to have a good pair of polarized sunglasses, and hit the waters from 10am to 4pm.  For the best sight fishing move excruciatingly slow, and be prepared to cast at fish that are less than a rod length from you.  Water clarity will strongly influence your productivity and with our algae issues it will take a little work to find those clean areas.  The black drum is very interesting fish with poor eyesight, and a mouth designed for foraging the bottom.  Its primary foods are shrimp, crab, marine worms, and snails that Drum feed by scent and small movements detected by sensitive chin barbells (soft whiskers).   Black Drum of 10 pounds or less will have vertical black and white stripes resembling those of a Sheepshead.  However, larger (most) individuals will have black to brassy coloring that fades to light on the bottom.  They can be seen slowly cruising, “laid-up” stationary, or tailing as the root the bottom for a snack.  Drum are typically found on the lagoon flats (1-3 ft.) in the cooler winter months then move deeper around bridges in the summer months. Though, the shrimp runs of our cooler months will have some big fish on the bridges still.  Typical river tackle will manage most Space Coast Drum, but heavier tackle may be needed for bruisers that can top 50 lbs.  Due to the Drum’s poor vision, 3 ft. leaders of 30-40 lb. test will work well.  Natural baits, like the quartered blue crab, fresh shrimp, sandflea’s, or fresh clams can be used with a 3/0-5/0 circle hook and a few split-shot weights to get the line down.  “Dead stick” (sit motionless) these baits in a likely area or where you see tails.  Actively sight fish Black Drum with a live shrimp and a 1/8 oz. jighead threaded in the tail, be sure to pull the flapper fins!  For artificial, an 1/8 oz. jighead with a Slayer Inc. SSB(molting) or Gulp shrimp in natural, glow, and molting can be slowly worked across the bottom.  Larger Black Drum tend to be found on the bars and edges of flats with a relatively quick drop from 1-3 ft. that the Indian River, Banana River, Mosquito Lagoon, and both the east and west sides of the No Motor Zone all have.  Smaller Drum prefer flats 1 ft. or less, and are commonly found with Redfish.  Fish all Black Drum slowly as they are not used to their food moving fast or far.

Capt. Alex Gorichky
Space Coast fishing guide
Kayaks By Bo team paddler
Contact Capt. Alex @