Retirement Message from Captain Tom
For the past 25 years I have had the honor and privilege to serve as a fishing guide in east Central Florida. Life has been a blessing for me as I have shared my time on the water, my experience and passion with many anglers from around the world. Many becoming passionate anglers themselves and good friends. I’ve guided countless anglers to the catch of a lifetime and watched generations of children grow up to become excellent and passionate anglers themselves and now have children of their own. I’ve been fortunate to live my entire life enjoying Florida’s outdoors and now it is time to shift my focus.
With this said, I am announcing my retirement as a professional fishing guide. For me, the time has come to step away from the fishing charter business and focus on enjoying my retirement with family and friends. I will continue to live, fish and breath Florida’s outdoors, but at a slower pace and on my own schedule.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you, my past clients, my many sponsors and good friends for helping me along the way sharing time on the water together. The Lord has blessed me with a great life and many opportunities, and I will continue to follow his lead for the remainder of my time on this planet. I also plan on continuing sharing my passions with others and fishing with friends whenever I have the chance.
My plan is to keep my website blog going and to keep fishing, so you have not seen the last of me.
Thanks again for sharing these experiences with me and I will see you on the water.
Captain Tom Van Horn
Fall Fishing Forecast
Acorns dropping, love bugs hatching and my fall flora in full bloom are all signs of our seasonal changes and indications my favorite time of year to fish has arrived. Fall has certainly arrived as schools of black and silver mullet, Atlantic menhaden (pogies), thread fin herring (greenies), and bay anchovies (glass minnows) have begun their southerly migration in search of warmer waters. This migration creates a buffet of tasty little baitfish heading south, shadowed by a large array of hungry predators looking to fatten up for the winter.
If weather permits, near-shore opportunities are the best you will see all year. Along the beaches, target areas of concentrated bait schools for a mixed bag of snook, tarpon, kingfish, cobia, jack crevalle, oversized redfish, and sharks. Additionally, snook fishing in the surf has improved as the baitfish move south along the beach. Also look for schools of glass minnows to begin showing up bringing larger Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and tarpon with them. Currently distant summer squalls have elevated the seas to 5 to 6 feet, so be careful and stay safe.
Concentrate your efforts in and around the inlets of Ponce, Port Canaveral, and Sebastian looking for flounder, snook, jack crevalle, and oversized redfish feeding on migrating baitfish along the jetties and just outside the inlets. Easterly swells, elevated and falling tides and aggressive anglers can make for sporty angling conditions, so please pay attention, be patient, and enjoy the rewards. Remember when fishing in these challenging conditions to keep you engine running and someone positioned at the helm ready to react if needed, wear your kill switch and be careful anchoring in swift currents.
In the north Indian River and Mosquito Lagoons, higher water levels will allow anglers to venture into areas normally inaccessible during the spring and summer months. Look for slot redfish in close to the edges along the shoreline shadowing pods of finger mullet, and for the larger redfish staged in deeper water ambush sites where migrating mullet are forced to venture out from the safety of the shallow flats. In deeper water areas, look for ladyfish, spotted sea trout, jacks, and tarpon feeding on schools of glass minnows. These schools of fish are easily located by watching for bird and fish activity. Once located, these schools will produce explosive action on small top water plugs, or popping bug flies. Also, if you locate a school of the larger black mullet, try fishing spoons of soft plastic baits deep under the school. Even though, mullet are vegetarians, redfish and sea trout will often mingle in feeding on shrimp and crabs kicked up from the bottom by feeding mullet. If you find heavy mullet schools working the shallows, try fishing with a DOA Shrimp very slow within the mullet school.
Lastly, this is the spawning season for redfish. Breeder schools of redfish can be found in the open waters of the flats, inlet passes and in open waters off of the beach. These over slot redfish are great fun to catch, but remember their spawning success is the future of our fishery. With that said if you target them please step up the size of your tackle (20-pound tackle or larger) to facilitate a shorter battle and handle and release them with extreme care.
As always, if you need more information or have any questions, please contact me.
Good luck and good fishing,
Captain Tom Van Horn