Happy Monday Spacefish!
As we enter February, we were blessed with a warm and sunny weekend! Temperatures were up in the higher 70’s and the sun was mostly out. I went and explored a new area and did some inshore fishing Saturday, but it was not the outing that I wanted. I really wanted to get on a good Snook bite and tried an area with a lot of undeveloped mangroves in between Sebastian and Vero Beach; but I ended up catching a lot of Jacks, Ladyfish, and 2 baby Snook – so I am going to hold on to that spot for a while, and go back later on in the spring – I am ready for inshore fishing to get back to late spring-mid summer patterns when I can grab a topwater plug.
I was thinking about going to Mosquito Lagoon on Sunday, but I ended up up changing plans due to a bad inshore outing Saturday. As many of you probably realize if you read my kayak reports every week, I like to bounce back and forth between inshore fishing and Bass fishing. While that can make finding consistency in one or the other tough at times, one thing I like about it is, when I have a bad day in one fishery I can switch gears and try something else the next day! I had not been to Headwaters Lake since mid-October so I figured it was time to go back and give a report on what has arguably become the Space Coast’s most famous Bass fishing venue. Let’s dive in!
Launch Spot Update
So here’s the thing about Headwaters Lake – the fishing is great, I’ve never had a “bad” day there – even a bad Headwaters day is still pretty good. It’s a lot like Pizza, and sex – even when it’s bad, it’s still good (lol). Anyway – Headwaters is a good place to fish, I am totally not joking when I say this, but if I had to pick a negative it would be the launch situation. You have to park at the Fellsmere Grade Recreation Area, the dike road that separates Headwaters from the Stick Marsh is locked for vehicles so the best bet is to unload your kayak and gear – if you have a cart/dolly to roll your fully rigged vessel to the water it makes it a lot easier, but it is still more time consuming than a lot of places – in the past though it used to be a lot more sketchy when there was a ton of growth that blocked the old kayak launch. They came in knocked a bunch of stuff down so now the old kayak launch is usable again and this makes it better than having to roll your stuff down a quarter or half mile down the lake until you see a spot you can get in at. So good news, for now and the near future the kayak launch is as convenient and easy to access as it can be.
Someone reached out to me a while back via email planning on coming from out of state to fish Headwaters, and asked about whether it was best to launch from the Headwaters Boat Ramp or the Kayak Launch on the NW corner of the lake – so for anyone that may be planning your first trip here, let me clarify it is wayyyy better to use the kayak launch. If you use the Headwaters Boat Ramp you will be having to run several miles down the channel to actually get to fishable areas and you will literally be getting boat raced with guys speeding to their spots in their Bass boats.
So it seems like every time I go there the lake is different, I’ll go back after being away for several months and entire islands and fields of lily pads are gone, there are definitely less palm trees than there used to be too, that all being said, going out there for the first time in several months, I had to figure it out again. That’s kind of the tale of the tape for Headwaters in my opinion, is to be able to figure out the lake that particular day or season. With all of the hydrilla and underwater vegetation in this lake the fish could literally be anywhere – which is kind of nice, but also kind of daunting as well.
I normally carry 4 rigged rods on board the kayak – whether I am inshore or Bass fishing 4 is the magic number for me, but when I got to Headwaters I like to bring 5 – one topwater, 2 search baits, a slow moving worm and a weedless and weightless jerk bait, that’s been the ticket for me there over the last year or so.
On this particular trip there was no topwater bite going on for me, I got on the water around 8, so not super early, but usually for Bass fishing in Florida – if the topwater bite is there it’s usually there later on into the morning – until 9 or so anyway. But I tossed around the Hendrix Fishing Plopper and there was nothing doing. I originally was going to go with a frog but when I realized the water levels were up, and the hydrilla wasn’t as thick I decided to switch to the Plopper since I had success with it last weekend. Nothing doing.
I switched over to the Fish, or Die Minutemen swimbait in Bugle (Green/Purple Flake) on a ⅛ oz screwlock hook, nothing doing. Then I started tossing around a Zoom UV Speedworm (my all time classic confidence bait) in Junebug Red, Texas rigged with a 3/16 oz Tungsten (pegged) on a 3/0 Owner Jungle Wide Gap Worm Hook – nothing doing. So at this point in the day I’m starting to wonder what is going on, I’ve been out here for about 2 hours and don’t have a bite yet. The wind which was blowing stronger than I would have preferred, out of the south was keeping me pinned along the northern shoreline. I would pedal out a quarter of a mile or so, let the wind push me back to the north shore while I fan casted moving baits, then I’d fish the shoreline and push back out again. Below is a screenshot with a red line drawn on where I ended up catching all of my fish, I stayed within 50-60 yards from the shoreline and would workout to the submerged palm trees and back.
Once I reached that second line of submerged trees I decided to hang out more around the trees, and slow down and fish my jerk bait – I used the Fish, or Die Warbird in Liberty Tree (Watermelon Red) – it is hard to beat a good weedless, weightless jerk bait through the hydrilla, and on my 3rd cast I got bit. I ended up catching about a dozen small Bass with this bait. As the day progressed I also caught about a half dozen fish with the speedworm, most of them small, but I did catch 2 fish in the 3-4 pound range, one was longer and skinnier, and one was shorter and chunkier. In going back to the speedworm I used it much more slowly after gaining some confidence in where the fish were located. Slow was the ticket with both the jerkbait and the speedworm – I mean with a name like speedworm, of course you should fish it slow (lol, again).
Don’t Go Punching Mats, Just Stick to the Baits that You’re Used To
I am not sure if my ticket to catching more 5+ pound Bass is in mastering and becoming confident in punching mats, that is something that I feel like to claim Bass fishing prowess in Florida you have to be able to do with confidence, but I approached a mat of vegetation and saw this little swamp puppy lounging and enjoying some afternoon sun. Another time, I was about to cast my jerk bait towards the point of a mat and right as I was about to release the bait, mid cast a Gator lunged upward and took down a wading bird in a death roll, scaring the you-know-what out of me, so I guess for right now, I’ll just stick to my worms and jerk baits (lol, x3). Sidenote – I think I was able to capture that moment on video before my batteries died, and I may have a video on instagram coming out this week with that moment if I got it.
So after a lackluster Saturday in the saltwater, I was able to find redemption with a good day of fishing in the sweet water, this is the time of year where Bass fishing can get really exciting in Florida, with trophy sized Largemouth being caught – if you’re coming from out of town and want to cross this lake off your bucket list, if you’re able to afford it, I’d give Kenny Hass a call! But if yo’re wanting to go at it yourself on a kayak, then I hope this report helps.
I’d like to say thank you to Kayaks by Bo for being our official paddle partner for our weekly adventures, if you are in the market for a kayak, paddleboard, or are looking to up your game with new kayak fishing accessories or gear – then stop on in to Kayaks By Bo in Titusville! I hope everyone has a fantastic week…stay safe, be happy and catch fish! Until next time!