This week ended with some of the coldest weather we have experienced so far this year and before the cold came some of the highest winds of the year. The weather made for some tough fishing conditions but we did catch a few quality fish and did not get shut out during four days of fishing.
Monday brought mild temperatures but we faced clouds and rain as I fished with Bob Caruso from Connecticut. Our first stop brought is to a school of about 100 redfish from 15-30 pounds in two feet of crystal clear water. We spent several hours fishing this school trying to get Bob two fish but they were not in the mood to eat. Bob did land one nice fish from this school, however, a 38" fish weighing over 20 pounds.
At our next stop, we were greeted by a school of several hundred black drum and a few large reds. Bob hooked and landed two black drum using a circle hooked shrimp.
To end the day, we poled some extremely shallow water looking for a big trout. Despite the cloud cover, we did spot a few nice trout along with some tailing redfish. Although none of the trout found their way onto the hook, we were happy having seen hundreds of trophy fish throughout the day.
Tuesday, I fished with Ken Van Every from Michigan. The nicest weather day of the week brought us a slick calm morning and a school of big redfish. Despite the seemingly perfect conditions, the reds were not interested in eating anything we had to offer. While it is always fun to watch a school of big reds in shallow water, it would have brought a bit more excitement if we had caught one. After a couple hours, we gave up on those fish and went searching for some others. Our next stop held more large reds that were just as reluctant to feed as the first group. After much effort, Ken was able to land a respectable redfish, his first fish of 2007.
Again, we went searching the shallows for trout. We only saw a few but Ken managed to fool another redfish using a 4" DOA CAL tail in Arkansas glow.
By Wednesday, the weather began to take a turn for the worse, I fished the next two days with Waite from Washington State. An accomplished fisherman, Waite wanted to fish redfish on ultralight tackle. Wednesday morning, we found a flat holding dozens of schools of redfish in very shallow water. Waite had a few bites on a 3" CAL tail but no hookups. Once the fish realized we were on their flat, they never let us get close to them again. By 10am, the winds were pushing twenty knots forcing us to search for shelter against the shoreline. With the low water, however, we were unable to get close to the shore. With only one trout to show, we left the Mosquito Lagoon and went to the St. John's River to try for some shad. By now, the winds were gusting over 30 making casting the light jigs difficult. We tried trolling for a while and saw a few others hooking some shad. Only one speckled perch took advantage of our offerings and we called it a day with only 2 fish and a case of windburn.
Thursday brought a cool start but was not quite as windy. Waite and I started off in the Mosquito Lagoon again looking for some schooling reds. After a bit of searching, we found a couple schools and Waite landed a red on a green CAL. The school never let us get close enough for another shot. We continued seeing reds throughout the morning but the fish were very skittish and reluctant to eat. As the clouds rolled in and the rain began to fall, we moved over to the St. Johns for another shot at the shad. Action was slow but Wait did get two nice shad on a tandem chartreuse jig setup.
By early next week, the weather should be stabilized and a warming trend will bring temperatures in the 80's by next weekend. With the water temperature increasing daily and the winds forecast to be light, it should be an excellent week of sight fishing the flats. Look for tailing fish on the shallow flats in the afternoons. There should be ample shots at them and they will be willing to take a well placed fly or small soft plastic.