Poor weather has limited my fishing the past two weeks but when I have been able to get on the water, the fishing has been excellent. The water has continued to drop in the Mosquito Lagoon but has been very clean.
Last week, Mark L. from Massachusetts, joined me for a half day of fly fishing the Mosquito Lagoon. The weather was near perfect with the exception of a few clouds. Temperatures were in the mid 70's and the winds were light. We found several schools of redfish on a shallow grass flat. Mark, who is used to tossing his fly into a feeding frenzy of northeast stripers and bluefish, was amazed at how spooky our shallow water redfish can be. He also found the small strike zone of the fish to be equally amazing. After a few warm up shots, Mark was able to land his first Florida redfish on an olive and gold #4 bendback pattern. Unfortunately, he had to leave just as thing were heating up and we left the fish tailing.
The next day, Capt. Tom Van Horn brought his flyrod and we returned to see if the tails were still there. We found a couple schools which had over one hundred fish and we each landed a few before our day was rudely interrupted by the arrival of a cold front. The twenty knot winds were not conducive to fly fishing.
Between bad weather and fishing seminars, I did not return to the water until Tuesday of this week. Had I known the wind was going to be howling all day and the cloud cover so heavy, I probably would have stayed home. All was not lost, though, as I was able to catch three reds on a chartreuse and white bendback fly before I got tired of fighting the wind. I changed to a DOA CAL tail and finished the day with six more redfish.
Wednesday, the clouds were even thicker making visibility poor but there was no wind. Luckily for me, the reds helped direct me in by waving me over with their tails. What's better than seeing a redfish tail? Seeing a bunch of them all at once.
I saw multiple schools and singles tailing throughout the day and spent as much time taking pictures and watching them as I did fishing. I landed seven reds on a variety of flies including tan and gold bendbacks as well as some awesome topwater bites on a purple deer hair slider.
Thursday brought more clouds but the wind remained light. Despite the temptation, I did not return to check on the fish from the previous day but, instead, checked out some different locations. My third cast resulted in a strike from a tailing red on the deer hair slider. For the next couple hours, almost all the fish I saw were too shallow for me to approach with the trolling motor. Fly fishing from the poling platform is not practical so I continued searching until I located some fish tailing in slightly deeper water.Using the flies mentioned above, I caught four redfish. I topped the day off with four nice seatrout and got off the water just as the rain arrived.
Moderate winds forecast for the next several days and above average temperatures, look for the reds to continue prowling the shallow water and actively tailing throughout the day. With the low water levels, those fishing from a kayak or canoe will have access to fish that most other boats cannot reach. When casting to fish that are cruising the flats with their backs exposed, cast well in front of them and let them find your lure. Allowing your cast to drop next to a ultra shallow water fish is sure to spook them.