It seems as if winter may have finally arrived here in Central Florida. With temperatures forecast to be in the 60's during the day and 40's at night, we can expect a significant drop in the water temperature. This may bring the big trout, which have been scattered so far this year, onto the shallow flats. A trophy sized seatrout is an extremely wary fish when on the flats. They will not tolerate any noise or errant casts. Sight fishing for them is challenging but not impossible. The most difficult part can be spotting them before they begin to move. Big trout are ambush feeders that lie motionless and use their camouflage to conceal them from passing prey. If you see a big trout on the move, it has probably sensed your presence and will rarely bite. If you can spot a fish that is still lying in wait and get a lure in front of it, you can be rewarded with some spectacular sight fishing action.
Last Thursday, my wife and I drove to Mosquito Lagoon only to be greeted by whitecaps and rain. We turned around and drove over to the St. Johns River where the weather was a bit better. We spent a few hours pitching DOA Tiny Terroreyz. We caught only three fish, a shellcracker, a mudfish, and one shad. So far, the shad run has been pretty slow but I am hopeful it will improve soon. The American Shad is much like a mini tarpon with quick runs and jumps on light tackle. A good winter alternative when the flats are blown out.
Friday, I took an afternoon trip to Mosquito Lagoon to scout a few areas. I spent an hour or so trying to get some black drum to eat various artificial lures with no success. I finally
tossed out a chunk of ladyfish and was rewarded with a fish of about 15 pounds. Spot two
held several schools of redfish which were eager to eat a 4" DOA CAL tail in golden shiner color.
Sunday, I fished Steve from Vermont. We found a school of fifty or so reds at our first stop. Steve had a bite but didn't get hooked up and the school vanished. We moved a bit and began to see multiple schools of 30-50 redfish. Steve finally hooked up using a gold DOA CALtail with his first Mosquito lagoon redfish. We continued seeing fish the rest of the afternoon and Steve finished the day with nine reds and a nice trout.
Monday, my charter had to reschedule so I went to the Lagoon hoping to throw a fly to some of the fish I had seen the day before. I arrived just as the wind began to gust and the clouds rolled in. I managed to get a brown and gold bendback in front of a hungry red before the wind became too much for the flyrod. I tossed a Tiny Terroreyz to another red on my ultralight and landed fish number two. I managed two more reds on a 3" CAL tail before the storms moved in.
Once the fish become acclimated to the cooler water temperatures, the will eat a variety of small soft plastics fished slowly. Look for tailing fish during the afternoon on the shallow flats.