Mosquito Creek Outdoors Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast, March 2013

By Captain Tom Van Horn

Upcoming Seminar and Events:

March 9, 2013 - 9 am - 4 pm First Annual Apopka Wildlife Festival & Birdapalooza held at Magnolia Park in Apopka, Florida. For more details visit their Face book page at:

March 14, 2013 - 6 to 8 pm Rigging Work Shop at Mosquito Creek Outdoors, 170 S. Washington Ave in Apopka, Florida. Topic is rigging for and catching schooling bass with instructors Phil Wolf and Captain Tom Van Horn. Visit Mosquito Creek Outdoors for more information.

March 16, 2013 - 10 am to noon "Discover Fly Fishing". This free fly fishing seminar isinstructed by FFF instructor Captain Chris Myers. The event is located at Mosquito Creek Outdoors, 170 S Washington Ave, Apopka Florida. Visit Mosquito Creek Outdoors for more information.

March 23, 2013 - 10 am to noon - "Spring Bass Baits" instructed by Phil Wolf, publisher of Coastal Angler Magazine Orlando. The event is located at Mosquito Creek Outdoors, 170 S. Washington Ave. Apopka, Florida. Visit Mosquito Creek Outdoors for more information.

March Fishing Forecast

Having an hour to kill between charters last week, I eased Three Quarter Time back into the quite mangrove slough branching off to the south from Haulover Canal in the direction of Black Point. The water levels in the Lagoons are extremely low, so I polled my skiff back around the bend to the point where the creek opens up into the flat. Before me on the vast flats, hundreds of brown and white pelicans, cormorants, and assorted herons feverously worked over the area gorging themselves on small baitfish and crustaceans flushed out of the Mosquito Lagoon through the canal and into the north Indian River Lagoon by strong north winds. The sight of this fury caught my interest, so I staked out the boat to watch the show. I soon found myself stretched out across the deck basking in the warmth of the afternoon sun, serenaded only by sounds of the birds and the wind whistling through the tops of the Australian pines. As I lie and watched, I was overwhelmed by the serenity my situation, and quickly drifted off into a restful nap. This wasn't my first mid-day nap at this location as I've returned to this same spot at least once every spring over the past 17 years.

Dreams are the fuel powering our imaginations and desires; nightmares are reflections of our subconscious fears. As my mind wondered, flashbacks of my youthful days on Florida's rivers, lakes, and estuaries filled my head, and when I awoke from my peaceful dream, I realized how fortunate and blessed I am having grown up in Central Florida, and having an office on the waters of the IRL. Seventeen years ago when I started guiding, I made a promise to myself to appreciate every opportunity, and to never take my situation for granted.

Yes, it has been seventeen blessed years since I began my endeavor to work on the water and to publish this report. Working, as a guide is not always about catching fish, although that is important, it's also about expanding the awareness of others, and providing an enjoyable and memorable experience to those you serve on the water. It's also about expanding your circle of influence by garishly stepping through the doors opened by others, grasping the opportunities, and to never forgeting those who helped you along the way.

Near-shore, water temperature increases will facilitate the progression of bait pods (menhaden or pogies) from the deeper water offshore into the near-shore waters bringing the predators with them. As always, sea conditions will determine the number of fishable days we'll experience in March. This is especially true for those of us who target deep-water species in shallow water boats.Good reports of cobia are starting to come in from offshore of Stuart. These fish should be moving into our area soon, and both the bait pods and cobia have begun to show up on the near-shore wrecks and reefs outside Port Canaveral and Sebastian Inlet.

Other near-shore options consist of tripletail hanging on floating structure and weeds and large redfish and sharks shadowing bait pods near the beaches and inlets. When site fishing for cobia, keep the sun to your back and consider fishing in the latter part of the day when the sun is high. Also, always keep a chartreuse colored buck tail or DOA Bait Buster in the ready position to cast to any free swimming brown clowns you encounter.

As the water warms up and the mullet return to the inshore lagoon flats, and look for redfish schools to continue to hold in the skinny water. For the slot redfish, 18 to 27 inches, focus on areas of flipping and jumping baitfish (mullet) in water depths of 12 to 18 inches. For the larger redfish, concentrate your efforts along deeper edges of the flats and sandbars in 2 to 3 feet of water. Also, larger sea trout will continue to hold in the skinny water potholes, and the top-water sea trout bite will improve as the warmer water draws finger mullet back onto the central IRL flats near the end of March. Additionally, schools of black drum will continue to inhabit the shallow water flats of the Mosquito Lagoon, North IRL, and particularly the sandbars in the Banana River No-Motor-Zone.

Last but not least, the American shad run continues on the upper St John's River between the areas of Lake Harney and the SR 50 Bridge, but this year's excellent run is diminishing. Also, March is the month to start targeting schooling largemouth bass in the deeper bends of the river at first light feeding on schools of baitfish (menhaden). The indicator I use to locate these schooling bass is to look for large numbers of white pelicans, herons, and egrets working the banks. Once you've located the schooling fish, try throwing a Paul's Rip-in-Shad by Unfair Lures or other small subsurface swim bait.
As always, if you need information or have any questions or if you would like to book a charter please contact me,

Good luck and good fishing,

Captain Tom Van Horn

Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Guide-Redfish Guides-Indian River Fishing Charter-Flats Fishing Central Florida-Captain Tom Van Horn
407-416-1187 on the water

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