Kayak Report January

January is the unofficial start of the Space Coast sight fishing season and now is the time to get ready.

The winter winds that occupy our cold fronts as the pass are ready made to blow the water out of our lagoons. With no tidal movement on the lagoons of the Space Coast north or south winds are the factor that set the seasonal water levels; though rain amounts also play a factor. (Simplified: a constant wind from north water drops/winds constant from the south water rises) Couple that with diminished rain fail/out flow amounts and cool waters with very little small organism growth. All of these factors will converge on the Space Coasts lagoons to ensure shallow flats will be blanketed in the cleanest water of the year. You will certainly see some monster trout warming themselves on the flats, but you’re most consistent catches will come from croakers of a different color. Redfish and Black Drum do reside in the same family “croakers” as Seatrout, but the ability for both reds and Black Drum to withstand and even enjoy cold water set them miles apart from the spotted cousin they share habitats with. True students of the lagoons will have noticed another very visible clue to the winter flats puzzle. Bait size (less than 10 inches) finfish are seemingly non-existent in all areas, less around some of our deeper holes and canals. Not to mention fish biology dictates a slower metabolism in cooler times that alters the digestive functions of our sub-tropical game fish. Cue up the buffet of shrimp, crabs, marine worms, snails, minnows and the like to carry our fish through those tough cold days until the spring bait fish bounty returns. The red fish’s new diet has an obviously limited amount of movement that the reds exploit for a more laid back feeding pattern that suits our chilled out reds just fine. Slowly working the lagoon flats on sunny and calm late mornings will greet Brevard’s kayakers with tailing, pushing, and laid up reds. Most will be hungry and willing to eat an offering as long as they don’t need to work hard to capture it. Longer cast that don’t land too close are best to achieve a natural appearance to your shrimp like offering. When rigging your tackle for these clean water fish look to not only lighten your leader to the 20lb. range, but also lengthen your leader. Downsize your artificial lures and attempt to work them slowly on all but the warmest days.

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