We have been seeing hundreds of redfish on most trips during the past few weeks. The catching, however, has varied. High winds on many trips have made sight casting to these spooky fish difficult. If you can manage to get a lure in front of the fish, they have been eating well. The shallow flats are still holding plenty of schooling fish and there have been plenty of shots at tailing fish throughout the day.
Last Thursday, I fished with Bernie and his son Chris. Bernie had fished with me several weeks ago and we had terrible weather with cold, high winds, and heavy clouds. Contrary to the weather forecast, this trip was not much better but we did get plenty of sun. We saw a dozen or so schools of up to 300 redfish but high winds made casting to and keeping up with them tough. Chris managed to get two nice redfish on 5" DOA CAL tails.
Monday, Tom and Steve from South Carolina decided to fishing sounded better than working and joined me in Mosquito Lagoon. They were not accustomed to the clean water and spooky fish. They were used to blind casting to likely areas in stained water. Steve pulled a nice redfish from a school using a gold 4" CAL and caught a second red using the same bait from a separate school. Both guys had dozens of shots at both schooling and tailing redfish throughout the day. Tom never connected with the reds but did manage to score one trout.
Tuesday, Dawn spent her birthday fishing with her daughter Devyn. It was their first trip to Mosquito Lagoon and their first time sight fishing. After a short lesson, the ladies were ready for some action. Devyn struck first with a redfish that hammered a spinner bait. She was surprised by the pulling power of these fish and did a fine job of getting it to the boat.By mid day, both ladies were making good casts as we continued to see tailing fish and the occasional school. Devyn landed her second redfish from a large school with a 4" CAL tail. A while later, Dawn made an excellent cast to a cruising single and we watched it inhale her CAL but the hook shook free a few seconds later. Devyn caught her third redfish on a shallow flat. She spotted the fish, made a perfect cast, and hooked the fish less than 20 feet from the boat with a 15 knot wind. Not bad for a beginner! Although Dawn did not get a fish for her birthday, a good time was had by all.
Thursday, I had a back county trip with Captains Van Horn and Kumiski. Our clients wanted to fish from canoes in areas we would not see boats. We launched from Riverbreeze Park and fished the northern end of Mosquito Lagoon. There was a lot of bait and clean water, but the redfish were sparse and scattered. My client had shots at several small schools of fish as well as a few singles but did not connect. We didn't see a ton a fish but had a peaceful day away from other boats.
Mark and Steve from Orlando fished with me on a very windy Friday morning. We did not see a school all day but we did find a few tailing fish in the shallow grass. Getting a small soft plastic to them in a 15-20 knot wind was the hard part. We made a move to a wind protected shoreline. Casting and poling was much easier but there were no fish. We went back out into the wind, had a few more shots, but never hooked up. I dropped the guys off early and went back out alone. I got an hour or so in before the clouds made spotting fish difficult. I caught 3 reds on CAL tails and one on a spinner bait.
To consistently increase your catching, practice your casting on days it is too windy to go fishing. On most fishing trips, the wind picks up some time during the day. If you are not used to casting under windy conditions, you bait will not hit its intended mark. Line control, lure trajectory, and judging the wind's effect on your bait are all skills that need to be practiced in advance, not when the fish are in front of you.
Capt. Chris Myers
Central Florida Sight Fishing Charters