Despite Tuesday's full moon, there was some excellent fishing this week, especially late in the day. Water levels in the Mosquito Lagoon have risen slightly over the past week but are still quite low. With the sea grasses at their seasonal high, this makes many areas tough to fish. The edges of flats with a mixture of sand holes and grass have been the most productive.
Monday, Mike from Orlando joined me in the Mosquito Lagoon. We spent the first hour hunting the deeper water for tarpon and only saw two. Our first fishing spot held lots of redfish that would not eat but we each caught a few nice trout on five inch DOA tails.
Our next spot held about ten schools of redfish. We tried a multitude of lures but could only manage to convince two fish to bite out of the hundreds we saw. Although you can usually find a lure that will convince redfish to bite, these fish frustrated us to the point that we decided to leave them in search of others. We moved only about a mile and discovered an area holding a steady supply of reds in groups of 2-10. These fish were much more aggressive and were eager to chase down a Baitbuster worked quickly across the surface. The fish were not all that big, but they were hungry and provided some great topwater strikes. We caught ten and had at least that many miss our lures or chase them up to the boat.
Tuesday, I headed south of Melbourne to fish for tarpon with Capt. Ron Presley. We arrived at daybreak and the fish were rolling and happy. It wasn't long before a fish in the 40-50 lb range struck a black and gold Baitbuster.By 7:30, however, the action had died. We stuck around for a few more hours seeing an occasional roll but never got another bite.
Wednesday, my friend Paul and I made an afternoon trip to Mosquito Lagoon. We began around 1pm and were less than pleased to find a 15 knot wind blowing from the northeast. The sun was out, however, and it wasn't long before we found our first school of redfish. We tossed out some gold Baitbusters and the fish were fighting each other to get to them. As we followed the edge of the flat, we encountered multiple schools of reds and all were eager to hit our lures on the surface providing some spectacular strikes. We boated ten fish in short order. Paul pointed out a large fin off in the distance. As we closed the gap, I saw that there were several large tarpon cruising the flat in water so shallow it did not cover their back. I quickly grabbed a heavier rod spooled with 20 pound braid. As a pair of tarpon crossed the front of the boat about 50 feet out, I fired out a black and gold Baitbuster. When the mullet imitation crossed paths with the tarpon, his entire head came out of the water as he engulfed the lure. Within a few seconds, half my line was gone as the 70 pound fish grey hounded and tail walked across the flat. I managed to get the fish up near the bait and was preparing to get into the water for a photo when the hook pulled out.
Friday's charter was not as successful. We found hundreds of redfish, both schools and singles, cruising the shallow flats. The fish were both spooky and very uninterested in our offerings. A few trout were landed but not a single redfish came to the boat. I planned on sticking around after the trip to see if the afternoon bite would turn on but storms kept me at the ramp.
Snook season opens today with new regulations in effect. On the east coast the slot is 28-32 inches with a pinched tail. The bag limit is one fish per person.