Even though it would take another month to complete the angling portion of my Florida's Space Coast expedition, the results could not have been any better. Under the shrewd guidance of Captain Bryan Pahmeier, the Indian River off Titusville, Florida yielded a bounty of gamefish.
Fitting in this fishing trip was a bit like people squeezing in the subway — a bit of pushing, shoving, and rearranging, but generally leading to "all hands on deck." What this looked like was a "night-before" scoot from Miami to Titusville on I-95, a trip of four hours. I spent the night at the crisp Hampton Inn at Exit 215, which put me only 20 minutes away from Parish Park where Bryan would launch his boat.
After a night of the excited, tossing and turning sleep that only a true angler understands, I prepared myself and drove down to the boat ramp. I recognized Bryan and his impressive flats rig: It was an 18-foot East Cape Skiff powered by a brand new Honda electrostart tiller handle model.
It was important for us to get a quick start so we could arrive on the flats as early as possible. This strategy would place us at the epicenter of the rising and tipping redfish tails that would greet the early light of dawn. As we headed away from the ramp into a patch of lighter sky that would eventually become the day, Bryan remarked on the excellent conditions.
In no more than 20 minutes, Bryan slowed his skiff down and cut the engine. In five minutes more, he was pointing out the first school of tailing redfish with his trusty pushpole. I flicked out a 50-foot cast with one of his spin outfits and the plastic jerkbait landed right in front of the tailing fish. It took two easy flicks of my wrist and...pow! I was hooked up. After an excellent ten minute fight of two long runs and lots of surface thrashes, we released a big redfish over 15 pounds.
Over the next four hours, I stopped counting after redfish number 12. Amidst countless leaping mullet, rolling dolphin, bellowing gators and circling osprey, we enjoyed nonstop action with Captain Bryan's excellent guiding.
We also spotted numerous tarpon, but I was far more interested in plugging for the snook that Bryan was pointing out. I used a dancing surface plug at first and had three good snook strikes; they would not connect because the bow wave of the strike shoved the plug into the air. As soon as I tossed a jerkbait under that same mangrove point, I had a solid hookup and was soon releasing a 5-pound snook.
We reached a point where I had to call it a day for other commitments, yet I was thoroughly satisfied. There'll be more to report on Captain Bryan and his Space Coast bonanza, but that story and its telling belongs to another place and time.