Brevard Kayak Forecast – September 2014

Well summer has officially ended for us on the Space Coast. However our tropical climate will not let the heat break its oppressive grip for a few more months. For those of us on the lagoons that keep an eye on such things; the redfish spawn will be in full swing. Unlike some folks on the water I refuse to chase and “bump” these magnificent schools of giant fish. The unique part of our lagoon redfish population is inshore breeding. While many areas have great populations of reds our “special” fish are the only ones that breed in lagoon/ bay waters. All others join massive open water schools that can be found (typically around inlets, passes, and shoals) in both the Atlantic and Gulf waters.

Our lagoon fish don’t have the ability to up and move (that much) when being harassed. They have become wise over the years and constant bumping of the schools has led to many issues. Numbers of flats that historically held yearly schools of fish have become barren. Schools that used to pack in tight balls for months on end now seem to only come fully together for the spawning event. Areas and schools that didn’t see much pressure are now being found and hammered into an entire new behavior pattern.

Does this mean you shouldn’t fish them; No of course it doesn’t! It does mean that respect and care should be your top priorities though. One of the best tactics for catching these breeder fish from a kayak is placing cut mullet in a likely pathway. Instead of chasing the fish let them come to you. By utilizing edges, bars, and drop-offs you can pin down a daily pattern and connect with some outstanding fish.

The best part of putting cut bait out is the gear you can/should use. Heavy rods more accustom to seeing action for cobia are great for this application. A 20lb class spinner will put you large chuck bait out well and you have the “tackle” to fight then subdue a redfish over 40inches. This spawn happens in the hottest months on our lagoons. Oxygen levels can be deadly low, and stress from breeding activities will have these beautiful fish in a weakened state. A prolonged battle with a redfish of breeder size can stress them to a point beyond saving. 20lb braided line to a 3 foot leader of 40/50lb mono. Finish your rig with a 5-7/0 circle hook and you’re ready. This is whoop-um quick fishing and it’s what’s best for them at these times.

Some of the top producers for bait are mullet and ladyfish. Both are readily available on the lagoons this time of year. The “lady’s” will be found under diving birds and on the deep sides of most area drop-offs. Any small minnow type lure will have a mess of them for baits in short order. One of the best lures for ladies is a brightly colored jig head with nothing on it worked erratically.

The mullet I seek for cut baits are our Black (striped) mullet. We have two separate species of mullet (see picture) on the space coast. The Silver (top bait shown) is smaller and narrower than its cousin. Great for live baits and can fill in for cut if needed, but typically no bigger than 10inches. The Black or Striped (bottom bait shown) is top dog for its pungent aroma and hardiness on the hook. With its wide black back and much fatter head the black mullet is easy to spot. A toss of your castnet and you’re done. Even though these baits range from (typically) 10 to 15 inches I only get two cut baits from each one. The head and middle/ gut section are my baits and the rest is discarded. By utilizing this large (fist size) piece of bait you have effectively created a “chum” ball.

As all manner of little bottom dwellers pick at your bait vibrations that signal feeding are broadcasted out. As your large redfish is cruising around these signals and smells are bound to entice a look. Have fun with these momma fish, but treat them as you would treat your momma. They are the future of this amazing fishery. Be sure to swing by KBB Outfitters in Titusville for all your fishing needs and some great service. And don’t forget to hit us up on the web or social media.

Tight lines and wet paddles!