Boating & Fishing Destination: Florida’s Space Coast

Recently, I had the opportunity to fish the Titusville area on the Space Coast across the state during the Florida Outdoor Writer’s Association annual conference, this year held at the Holiday Inn, Titusville. An annual fishing event put together by FOWA is a tournament pitting the writers and corporate sponsors against each other vying for prizes like quality rod and reel combos and tackle, but more importantly, bragging rights for the following year. We are paired up with local guides to fish a half-day for gamefish, measuring the length and totaling each to get the sum of the total length of our catch. Redfish in Titusville
My guide, Patrick Rood, of Spot ‘N Tail Charters met us at the ramp early, offering up some live pigfish for the day’s bait. Being an artificial lure user, I declined, much to his dismay, opting to use what I had brought with me in terms of fake baits. On our first stop, FOWA corporate sponsor, Trent Antheny of Canoe Outpost on the Peace River, the other angler aboard our boat, chucked out his first pigfish. The little piggy didn’t grunt for long before Trent’s drag started singing and he reeled in the first redfish of the day. Patrick quipped about the Heddon Zara Super Spook that I had tied on, and the fact that the first fish over the gunnels was caught on live bait, but I stuck with my fakes, continuing to cover the water. A boil of mullet schooling at a point down the shore prompted me to ask Patrick if we could raise the Power Pole and move toward the school within casting range. I switched to a CAL quarter ounce jig with a nightglow Shad tail and as we reached casting range of the school, I let a long cast fly. Within a few casts, I stuck a fish and the drag on my Daiwa spinning reel hissed as a nice red ran off on a scorching run in the foot-deep water, trying to bury in the grass and rub the jig out of its mouth. I turned the fish to the boat and Capt. Rood expertly landed the fish, measured it, and carefully released it.
We recorded the length and proceeded. Over the next couple of hours I landed 5 reds, a ladyfish and a trout for a total of 130-inches of fish combined. Trent’s total remained at his first fish. So, my fake baits from DOA trumped the piggies after all, something that I felt the need to grunt about. But, feeling like other anglers must have done much better; I didn’t feel like I stood a chance with the likes of some of the expertise we had fishing the tournament. We ran 20-miles north to start and had the distance to get back so we started a little later and ended a little earlier as compared to some of the other anglers. In the final tally, my total stood as the top gun for the winning total length of fish. Grinning, kudos went to our guide, Capt. Patrick Rood, who knew his area, his fish, and opted to get away from the crowd by running north to Oak Hill to fish. We found the fish, and we caught them. Well done, Capt. Patrick!
A trip to the Space Coast for a weekend of sightseeing and for fishing is an awesome and memorable experience, especially if you take in the delights of the Dixie Crossroads Restaurant. Fresh is the operative word here for some of the best seafood you’ll ever put in your mouth. The restaurant in itself is a destination location. Some of the tastiest epicurean delights ever come from the kitchen of this highly acclaimed eatery. I love my West Central Florida fishing, but the events of the week including both the food and the fishing make me want to return to the Space Coast and do it again. ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!