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July 1-24th, Vero Beach

DitchratDitchrat Posts: 56 Greenhorn
Just returned from my July pilgrimage to Vero Beach and I have to say it was a wonderful time to be in Florida. Here is my wrap up from July 1-July 24.
Fishing was different for me this year and I needed to adjust accordingly. I started out night fishing the river, then hitting the beach in the morning. Night fishing was fun but frustrating this year. Plenty of snook, but mixed in was a bunch of 12-18 inch trout. Normally I fish circle hooks at night with a great hook up to land ratio on snook, but for whatever reason circle hook ended up hooking the trout really deep. After a nights worth of feeling like a butcher I transitioned back to J hooks and watched my rub offs and tossed hook ratio sky rocket. It was so bad my second night I went 1 snook for 15 fish (trout, snook and ladies). Took some time adjusting to different hooks.
After a couple nights of this I transitioned to strictly morning/evening beach fishing, as I had been doing pretty good in the sand. This too brought some challenges.
In the past I fished the beaches south of Ft. Pierce, and mornings were about hunting schools of pilchards on the beach. With the poor water quality I didn’t get this chance, so I ended up be a little light on anchovy patterns after a couple days of fishing. Afternoons saw me tying up a couple without a vice, but I managed to get ahead.
By mid-month things changed again and I had pilchards to chase on the beach, and fishing the wash was dynamite.
Because I wasn’t heading down south, I had to find some afternoon pursuits that I could take my kids on and we found some new(to us) fisheries. Up around Sebastian Inlet we found a flat with great current moving across it, along with it we found a steady stream of Bonnetheads cruising back and forth. After a couple hooked up pitching rubber shrimp, we started fly fishing for them. Found out that they eat a larger shrimp pattern pretty well. Sight fishing for sharks in knee deep water was a blast. It was also one of the fish my son asked to catch this year, so win, win.

We also spent some time in the mosquito control impoundments. This was something we rarely did before, because we were so focus on other things. This too turned out to be fantastic for the kids. My son caught his first tarpon, (my 4 year old daughter jumped a couple on the spinning rod too), and they got lots of snook and snappers on both spinning and fly gear. Some of the snook where respectable in the 20-24 inch range.

Towards the end it was back to anchovies, but this time I was stocked up which was a good thing, because the amount of Spanish around put a hurting on the amount of flies.

Gear wise I fished my two, two handed rods. My 11ft 6wt and 11ft 8/9 with intermediate tips or full intermediate lines. At times the fish where line shy and I fished down to 15lb for bites, but for the most part it was 20lb in clear water and 30lb wash.

My best from the trip, at 34" 359mlbk.jpg.

Plenty of tarpon too, but they were too large to handle on foot, as well as some other things:wink


  • Jared DJared D Fernandina Beach Posts: 399 Deckhand
    Amazing post and catch. I am digging the Bonnets on fly, and that one is a bruiser.
  • randyrichterrandyrichter Posts: 23 Greenhorn
    Great trip. I'm jealous, was pretty thrilled with the eight days I got to spend. Bonnethead on fly sounds really fun. I did the same thing on fly with 300 pound fish offshore, wasn't nearly as fun. Loved the post. At Jupiter, I usually don't hit that kind of variety, it's 99 percent snook. Started a few days on Sanibel, and got into the trout and spanish mac pretty good with the occasional snapper or ladyfish. It sounds like you really have it dialed in. Did I mention I was jealous of the bonnethead on fly? :)
  • DitchratDitchrat Posts: 56 Greenhorn
    Jared D wrote: »
    Amazing post and catch. I am digging the Bonnets on fly, and that one is a bruiser.

    It was amazingly strong. Just a steady run off, and I have to say it was one of the best fighting fish I have encountered from shore. That one put a lot of smiles on faces. We literally had them swim within 5 feet of us and the bank without spooking. They were very responsive to a fly. It was a great teaching moment for the kids, safe enough to handle but still dangerous enough to instill respect.
  • ShadowcastShadowcast Wimauma, FLPosts: 1,064 Officer
    Great trip!
    Capt. Jon Bull
    Sales Rep - Ankona Boats, Salt Marsh Skiffs, Tavernier Skiff Company
  • bostonsox2904bostonsox2904 Posts: 134 Deckhand
    Great report and lots of great fish! Did you catch any snook from the beaches in Vero? I find myself down there on occasion, and it's a blast bc you never know what you'll catch on either ocean side or the river side.
  • DitchratDitchrat Posts: 56 Greenhorn
    Great report and lots of great fish! Did you catch any snook from the beaches in Vero? I find myself down there on occasion, and it's a blast bc you never know what you'll catch on either ocean side or the river side.

    When I found fish I was getting 5 or 6 an evening, when I didn't I'd get blanked. I was fishing in strong winds and 2-3ft surf and was only fishing when I found bait. Find the bait and I found fish. It was actually hard to get a snook because I had to sift through dozens of jacks, ladies and Spanish between fish. It was fun but I burnt through flies. Loved every moment of it.

    Man I saw a lot of sharks just outside the wash when I was looking for bait. Next year I'm taking a 12wt and seeing if I can hook one.
  • FlatsFrenzyFlatsFrenzy Posts: 893 Officer
    That's a big bonnet!

    And that **** is perfectly fun sized. There are guys around here that focus on fish that size this time of year.
    Gulf Coast of FL
    @flatsfrenzy #flyonly #onelessspinrod
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