Paddle Power in March 2022

The space coast is a kayak angler’s dream! The different waters from ocean to lagoon are full of opportunities for anglers of all skill levels. Spring just happens to be a great time for hitting the water – now is the best time to bust out those topwater plugs and get to dog walking. Fishing early and late utilizing the side to side (walk-the-dog) action of lures like the Skitter Walk, Top Dog, and Zara Spook will get your blood pumping. The experience of these hard plastic plugs being demolished is one you will never forget. All our game fish get super aggressive as spring bait schools flood the flats and a topwater plug will certainly get some attention. Tops on my list are the catch-and-release spring, “Gator” sea trout. Yes, I know you can catch sea trout year-round on the space coast but starting in March and continuing until May large “Gator” female sea trout will be willing to dismantle your top-water lures with reckless strikes. These hard hitting, spawning trout will rely on large hardy prey and areas with deeper water adjacent to shallow flats to fill their needs. A sea trout will reach “Gator” size at 25 inches (for me) and will almost all be female from that size on. Basically, any sea trout over 25in. is sure to be full of roe, and is the corner stone of our breading stock. Thus should be released. The largest most aggressive trout will typically feed best in low light conditions on top-water plugs, but they can also be intercepted when they push from the shallows into deeper water, as the sun climbs, targeted with soft plastics.

If the shallow water thing isn’t your game! Head east from Brevard’s Beaches to some of the most productive coastal kayaking waters the Atlantic has to offer. Giant tarpon and cobia make annual stops in our bait rich coastal region, but one of my favorites is our tripletail fishery that makes aficionados shutter with delight. Truly monster tripletail is a steady visitor to the cleaning tables of Port Canaveral and are this lifelong resident’s top target for its fight and fillets. The same grass mats that give offshore anglers steady mahi action this time of year will float in and become tripletail hotels. Look for these hard fighting fish to suspend under debris and weeds blown in from the Gulf Stream waters. They also enjoy spending time around the buoys that mark Canaveral’s deep shipping channel. Heavy tackle should be used to attempt prying a tripletail from the barnacle encrusted buoy chain. These fish won’t give up that delicious meat without a battle.