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Cocoa Beach Flats Fishing

Aug 19, 2008
Flats fishing around Cocoa Beach is a total blast! The fishing is great there pretty much all year. My preferred method of attack is wade fishing, but poling is also a productive method.

The major targeted species here is the Redfish. A strong fighter, and great on the table, Redfish are rulers of the flats.

For wading, all you really need is a pair of Flats Booties (don't ever wade barefoot, you'll be sorry!), a medium-light action saltwater rod and reel, and good pair of sunglasses.

A few safety precautions can make your outing more enjoyable. If you sunburn, then use cocoa butter, or some type of sunscreen that doesn't repel fish. Wear your sunglasses. Reflected glare from the water can seriously damage your eyes, and you need to be able to see well into the water.

Watch out for other predators that might be fishing there as well, such as sharks, barracuda and bluefish. They can give you a nasty bite. If you suddenly see a lot of baitfish jumping very near you, leave the water immediately. They are being chased by something big and mean.

When wading, don't pick your feet up, but slide them along the bottom. This kicks crabs and stingrays out of your way without them grabbing or stinging you, and keeps you from stepping on them (hence the booties). Lastly, watch out for Portuguese Man-O-Wars. They look like jellyfish, but they are very dangerous. Stay away from them.

If you get stung by one, leave the water immediately, and use baking soda and water to flush the sting. If the pain persists, get medical attention.

At times, redfish can be spooky. Sometimes it's because the school has been over-worked by other anglers, or sometimes it's because of a change in water temperature, or a front moving through, or any number of reasons. If the school bolts as soon as they see you, they've probably been over-worked. Find another school.

If they go off a short distance and settle down, try to approach again, and cast to outside edges of the school. I only cast to 'tailing' fish. They are feeding. Try to concentrate on these. Never chase a school. If, on the 3rd approach, they again scurry out of range, then let them be and find another school.

Cocoa Beach used to be known as the Sea Trout Capitol of the World back in the 60s, but commercial fishing almost wiped them out by the late 70s. In the 80s, commercial fishing was stopped and the Trout have made a great comeback. The Sea Trout here are a larger, landlocked sub-species of Sea Trout that do not migrate. 30 inch trout are not uncommon.

My favorite method for catching them is to use a noisy topwater lure just after sunrise. They usually attack it with abandon.

My next favorite quarry is the mighty Tarpon. Every April, until early October, tarpon move into the Cocoa Beach flats following schools of baitfish.

They run anywhere from 50 to 150 pounds, and nothing on the planet puts up more of a fight than a hooked tarpon! They are easy to locate. Just look for all the baitfish flying through the air, with the 6 foot silver fish right behind them.
About the Author
Dan Eggertsen is a fishing researcher and enthusiast who is committed to providing the best
saltwater fishing information possible. Get more information on href="http://www.asksaltwaterfishing.com/editorials/8cocoabeachflats.html">saltwater fishing in Cocoa Beach here: http://www.asksaltwaterfishing.com/
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