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Fly Fishing on the Indian River Lagoon

Saltwater Flyfishing At Florida's Finest Fishing Destination

Friday April 28, 2017

Catching a fish on fly in the briny Indian River Lagoon can be one of the most rewarding experiences of an angler's lifetime. Most fly anglers visiting the eastern lagoons on central Florida's Space Coast near Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach and Titusville target the large redfish and world record sized spotted sea trout that are often plentiful on the shallow grass beds lining the islands, sandbars and marshes.

Most fly fishing can be accomplished with an 8 or 9 weight eight foot rod with a weight forward floating or intermediate fly line. Because redfish are less spooky than many game fish a shorter taper for sending larger fly patterns will work fine in most occasions. Yes, I'll get some criticism for suggesting that redfish are not spooky, but compared to their southern cousin the bonefish, redfish are a walk in the park for most anglers with a decent double haul and the abilities to cast accurately and consistently 55 feet or so.

If an angler is looking for a fist fight with the snook around structure a nine foot 10 weight will be the answer and some nice bright colored deceivers and seaducers, with white being this author's favorite. Look for snook during the warmer months and especially during the spring April/May and the fall from September/October as the fall mullet run fills in and the water is usually higher.

Sea trout on fly can be challenging for the larger specimens and relatively easy for smaller fish. Small trout can be caught on small poppers and streamers around deeper dropoffs and grassflats while larger trout are often considered the bonefish of our shallowest ecosystem and can be difficult to approach and make presentations to.

A Fly Fishing Excursion on the Indian River Lagoon

The northern part of the Indian River hosts crystal clear grassflats with roaming schools of redfish and spotted sea trout. During most of the cooler months you can find exceptional fishing in most of the lagoon and our most clear water. Generally speaking, the warmer months from May to August is challenging as the intense Florida heat causes many fish to turn off after the sun starts beating down and warming the lagoons into the high 80°F mark, anglers often choose to go offshore or nearshore on the Atlantic. The late summer and fall produce large spawning redfish schools for the trophy hunters with September being the peak month. During the mid winter our cleanest water make sight fishing a joy for many if the winds are cooperative.

Sunset on the Indian River Lagoon

Further south on the Indian River lagoon towards Cocoa Beach and Merritt Island's eastern shoreline you can find excellent fishing during the fall-winter and spring months for both sea trout and redfish. A Bonus fish in the fall and spring months would be a snook or possibly some jack crevalle.

To ready yourself for a fly fishing trip on the Indian River Lagoon, most anglers need to master the double haul and accurately cast at least half of their 100 foot fly lines. Accuracy on a moving target or tailing redfish is paramount. While redfish are not the spookiest species in the saltwater a quick and decisive cast will bag the fish more often than not. Redfish can have their moments when it comes to being both dumb and smart, so it's best to practice for the smart ones and you'll be prepared and pleasantly surprised when you come across one of the less intelligent ones.

Where is the Indian River Lagoon

Technically the IRL or Indian River is part of the Intracoastal waterway on the eastern seaboard of the United States. The name of this body of water changes as you traverse the waterway from Biscayne Bay in Miami and northward toward the Chesapeake Bay or Montawk New Jersey.

East Central Florida's prominent Indian River Lagoon sections are called the Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River Lagoon and of course the Indian River Lagoon as it heads south toward Sebastian Inlet and Fort Pierce with the North Boundary skirting a small town called Scottsmoore and Mims. Fishing information on the Indian River can be found at the links above.


Fly Fishing in the Saltwater Lagoon of the Indian River

Reviewed by Captain Richard Bradley on Last modified: November 19 2016 14:38:25.

Published by: Captain of Lagooner Fishing Guides©

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Fishing Reports

April - 2017 Fishing Report

Fishing Forecast

April - 2017 Fishing Forecast

April of 2017 should be a great spring for fishing in both inshore and offshore coastal waters of Central Florida. Look to the Mosquito Lagoon and Banana Rivers to produce redfish and sea trout consistently and then look toward the ocean and depending on the water temps, clear skies and wind the cobia will be on their way north and migrating past Canaveral towards their northern grounds on the mid-Atlantic seaboard. Central Florida's weather during the spring is usually no less than spectacular as the college spring breakers are winding up the end of their vacation and heading back to campus to finish up before summer break. Daytona Beach host several spring events from NASCAR Races, Bike Week and Spring Break activities while Cocoa Beach and it's Space Coast offer a much less crowded alternative for vacationers to seek a more secluded and restful Holiday. The temperatures are rising and the fishing should be heating up too in East Central Florida's Cocoa Beach.

Necessities for Fly Fishing on the Indian River

Generally speaking an 8 weight 9 foot rod for redfish, sea trout, ladyfish and most other open water and shallow grassflats predators will be a fine choice. However a snook in the bushes or around a dock will require more backbone and a 10 weight is recommended. A good all around choice would be a nine weight, but small trout on the deeper flats will not be as exciting on a nine weight.

Streamers and poppers for the IRL are as varied as anywhere and generally large bonefish flies or crustacean imitations will get redfish and trout. Minnow streamers will work for the majority or the redfish, jacks, ladyfish and trout with larger white patterns for snook. Weedless flies should be considered to shed sea grass and enhance your presentation.

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Lagooner Fishing Guides
Cocoa Beach's premier saltwater fishing guide with over 25 years of charter fishing experience in his native waters.
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Cocoa Beach, FL
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TripAdvisor Review

Review / Trip Advisor

Inshore Charter Fishing in the Banana River Lagoon near Cocoa Beach, Florida. Catch redfish, sea trout, tarpon, snook and many other saltwater gamefish aboard the world famous Lagooner flats fishing boat with renowned Captain Richard Bradley.

Excellent people and experience! - My husband and I had never tried anything like this before so we were a bit nervous about being sea sick. Captain Richard was so nice and laid back and gave us tips and tricks to try and fight it off. My husband unfortunately was very sick even before we started to get the lines out. Captain Richard took control and told him what to do and even where to stand in the boat to make it better. Unfortunately after captain Richard tried all his tricks my husband was still pretty sick so we had to call it a day an hour early.
The day was definitely not a loss though. Even though we didn't get to catch any fish I still got to see tons of wildlife! We saw everything from dozens of turtles to Dolphins, Rays, and even an 8 ft hammerhead shark! Captain Richard is a pro and definitely knows what he's doing and talking about. I would recommend this trip for sure!

about Lagooner Fishing Charters on June 28, 2015

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