Because of the Peacocks Pocket Road closure, I decided to try scouting the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge this afternoon to find some other fishing spots.
I knew that the Haulover Canal bridge was closed for repairs for the next month so I headed down SR46 to Mims so I could take US1 towards Scotsmoor.
After I gassed up the truck, I decided to hit the Jones Street Boat launch to see if anybody was fish there. After driving over the dusty road to Jones Street and crossing the railroad tracks, I parked at the waters edge to check out the area.
The huge abandoned bi-hull houseboat was still in the same spot as last year, but the top was now off.
My next spot up the road was the Scottsmoor Boat Launch. I hadn't visited that area in about a year so I drove onto Huntington Ave. to see what the water level looked like.
When I pulled up close to the ramp, I was surprised that there was plenty of water at the dock to launch my Maverick, or the kayaks that I picked up last month for my birthday.
I crossed the bridge, took the right turn into the refuge and slowly headed down the dusty road toward the barrier.
When I hit the first culvert, I noticed that it was open and there was a good flow of water coming in from the Indian River.
I pulled over and took a few pictures of the area. I remembered that this area was good for juvenile tarpon, ladyfish, and redfish during the spring, so I took out a rod with a Johnsons Sprite gold spoon and started blind casting the area.
I caught and released several ladyfish on the spoon before taking this brief video of the action. The ladyfish were small and I could have used them for bait, but I didn't have anything to keep them fresh in so I returned all the fish.
After the fourth or fifth fish, I had a hit from a juvenile tarpon about 2 feet long, but it flipped off and never took the spoon again.
I tried the spoon, a DOA Baitbuster, and a jighead with a paddletail bait on both sides of the culvert but the fish quit biting, so I moved on up the road to check out where I could launch my kayak.
At the barrier to Shiloh Road where several cars were parked, there appeared to be a small launch area that people had been using for kayaks or canoes. Just the ticket for my kayak debut.
On the way, I spotted a very large Timber Rattlesnake that was crossing the road. I pulled over to take a pic of the snake as it crossed safely and laid stretched out on the grass shoulder.
He started to move under my truck, so I decided to get out of his way and continue my scouting trip.
I drove into Patillo creek and headed to several spots I used to fish on a semi-regular basis.
As I pulled into the area, several fishermen were on the bank dunking shrimp and cut baits.
I stopped to ask how one group was doing and Alex and his friend Chico said they had caught 4 nice drum. He was eager to show me their catch, so I pilled over and took these pics along with a brief video.
As I passed by their truck where the bait was being kept and got a whiff of the shrimp, I had no doubt that he was telling me the whole truth.
Alex's friend told me that some fisherman yesterday had caught 14 drum in the same spot.
I bid them farewell and decided to make one more stop before heading home. I drove past the radar dome that my wife calls the "gumball" to check out Beacon 42 boat ramp.
I got out of the truck and checked out the water. It was relatively clear and the water levels were down only slightly. A perfect day to take out my flats boat.
Anyway, it was getting towards dinner so I headed out towards US1 and the house.
About halfway up the road, I spotted a flock of turkeys on one side of the road and a cleanup crew of vultures on the other side of the road making a dead hog the main course.
As I headed home to my dinner, I was glad I made the scouting trip. I found several spots to put in my kayak without drowning on the first try, and several more to bank fish.
Till next time, Tight lines.