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Banana River NMZ! Tons of Reds and a Big Drum! 12/26

Had a beautiful weather window yesterday morning for the Cocoa Beach area, specifically the No Motor Zone! Its been over a year since my last visit and man was I pleasantly surprised yesterday! Left Fort Pierce at 5am and was launched and paddling north from KARs Park by 6:30am. I was accompanied on my sunless paddle up by a few fellow kayakers and a flat transom canoe powered by a lone guy with a push pole. The only other people I shared the river with all day...



Stopped short of the creek on the west side and was greeted by redfish tails and backs and schools EVERYWHERE!! My hands began to shake and my heart began to pound and it was all a blur after that! It was redfish after redfish until about 10am. Began the day throwing DOA CALs in the copper crush color and ended up changing to the dark green Bream color after blowing out a few cruising fish and that did the trick! First fish of the day ended up being a bit over 27"

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Second fish fell no more than 5 min later and tried to burry himself in one of the mountains of grass that were present

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The third red was the biggest caught, but not seen, just at 28"

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Tried to double up on fish shortly after this picture by setting the fish in the picture down and casting to a tailing red less than 20 feet from the yak, but didn't work out as he bit but didn't get a hook in him... bummer

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After sniping 4 reds on spin, I figured it was time to break out the fly rod and even the odds for the fish. It defiantly halted the massacre but only temporarily as I was able to pick one off after a few blown shots...

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As the day passed, the sun rose higher and the fish ceased to tail and push as shallow so I began to look under the water for them lol! Watched one of the guys in a pair of kayakers who was able to hook and land a 36"red which was cool to watch him fight for 10 min! Was able to find a smaller one shortly after

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With the 6th redfish caught I was beginning to feel like I was back in Texas this past fall! Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, I looked out over a large sand flat and saw a dark area that looked like a rocky oyster bar, until tails the size of dinner plates broke the water's surface! BIG BLACK DRUMS!! Casted the DOA into the middle of the school and they instantly divided into 3 or so smaller schools of 3 or 4 fish. One school swam directly at my yak and I put my jig right in front of his eyes and there was no hesitation to inhale it! Game on! After a 10min or so battle I was able to land him and get some killer picks. He felt around 25lbs or so and I could barely lift him onto the yak without tipping!

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With the icing on the day now placed on my cake of a day, not seeing anymore fish for the rest of the day was fine... but this was not the case! Had plenty of shots at cruising fish the whole way back to KARs Park. Blew a lot of them as the wind was pushing me back south very fast and I was running over reds left and right but I was able to connect with 3 more reds before touching down back at the launch!

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And with that, the ninth redfish was released back into the Banana River NMZ and one big ole drum had a sore mouth for the night! It was truly an amazing day on the water and still maintains a special spot in my heart and creates a longing to return again. Thanks for reading hope you enjoyed my pictures and story, tight lines till next time!

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