Last week brought the first significant cold front of the season to east central Florida. Following the front, we had temperatures in the 40's and gale force winds. This week we had above average temperatures which reached into the 80's but no break from the high winds. As a result, I have only fished three days in the last two weeks. The weather has been less than pleasant but, on a positive note, the fish have been plentiful and willing to eat. Holding the boat in position and getting a good presentation can be a challenge when you are fighting the wind.
Last week, Tim and Tom O'Brien joined me in the Mosquito Lagoon. While waiting for the sun to get high and the clouds to clear, we anchored and put out a few cut baits. Tom caught two reds and we decided to make an attempt at sight fishing. Sighting the fish was easy, casting a small lure to them into a 20 knot wind was not. Tim was able to get a gold DOA jerk bait in front of a redfish despite the wind.
We found a somewhat protected cove holding a few fish and the brothers caught three more redfish before we called it a day.
Monday, I went to Mosquito Lagoon in search of some fish willing to eat a fly. The day started off good with moderate winds and sun. Within the first thirty minutes, I landed a 30" redfish and a 24" trout all on a brown and copper #2 bendback. My good fortune was short lived, however, as the wind and rain arrived my mid morning. I sought shelter against a lee shore and found a few tailing fish. This one was kind enough to allow me to get a picture before I caught him.
I ended the day with four redfish and two trout on the fly and was happy with that, considering the weather conditions.
Friday was more of the same, clouds and plenty of wind. With the wind coming right down the middle of the Lagoon, there were few places to hide from it. I picked the shore with the least amount of wind and convinced seven reds to eat a black/gold DOA CAL 3" shad tail rigged on a weighted worm hook.
The cooler water has brought an abundance of tailing redfish. Although these fish are usually the most forgiving and will allow you to get numerous shots, they can also be the most frustrating. Often, they are so fixated on digging the prey out of the grass, they are oblivious to your lure. Many anglers like to add a small rattle to their bait to help get the attention of the fish. If you don't have a rattle, cast past the fish and bring your bait within a few inches of it's nose and let it drop. Wait until the fish comes up out of the grass and give your lure or fly the slightest twitch. You will usually be rewarded with an instant and aggressive strike. Casting accuracy is much more important than the type of bait you choose. To cast accurately when it is windy means you need to practice when it is windy. A few minutes of casting practice per week at home will bring huge rewards when you are on the water.