For the past several weeks, Florida has failed to live up to its nickname of "The Sunshine State". We have been experiencing one tropical system after another. Fortunately, none of them have been hurricanes but we have had more than our fair share of high winds and rain. The Lagoons are higher than they have been all year and many of the flats are cloudy. The dirty water, combined with the high winds and lack of sun have made sight fishing next to impossible.
While the redfish action has been less than stellar, some snook and tarpon have been cooperative. While many of the fish are on the small side, they offer some great variety. On one day, I scored a triple grand slam of three tarpon, three snook, three redfish and three trout. All but two of the reds and one of the tarpon were caught on the fly. The next day, I fished with Dave Haddock who got a tarpon, snook, redfish, trout slam. The tarpon have been showing up most anywhere from canals and culverts to the flats. The DOA Holographic shrimp has been effective for both the snook and the tarpon. When tarpon fishing, try removing the standard hook from the shrimp and pinning it on a circle hook for more hookups, The circle hook also keeps the leader away from the abrasive mouth of the tarpon and snook.
With the high water, the fish have been able to spread out into areas not normally accessible. Look for reds and snook crashing small mullet tight to the shore line. The four inch DOA CAL in Stark Naked has been working well as it resembles the mullet in both size and color. An EP fiber baitfish pattern or a small streamer with lots of flash has been effective on all the fish, as of late.
When conditions have not allowed for sight fishing, add a Woodies Rattle to your large jerkbaits. The sound will help the fish find your bait in dirty water and low light conditions. For a change of pace, look for flowing water at the many drainage culverts along the shore. Hit the right one and you can catch a wide variety of fish including redfish, trout, snook, tarpon, ladyfish, and jacks. Also, watch for diving pelicans to signal the presence of feeding schools of jacks and ladyfish along the deeper edges of flats.
When conditions allow, fishing the mullet run along the beach can be excellent. On a trip out of Port Canaveral last week, we caught snook, bluefish, spanish mackerel, jacks, pompano, whiting, ladyfish, two large sharks, and jumped a tarpon over 100 pounds. All the fish were caught from a boat but we were never more than 100 yards from shore. Wire leaders are essential to prevent losing your rig to toothy fish. For the past week, the seas have been much too rough and that will continue through the weekend.
Thanks to all the ladies who helped make the womens fishing seminar at Mosquito Creek Outdoors a huge success. Mark your calendars now for the Coastal Angler Magazine Fishing and Boating Expo to be held November 16-18 at the Volusia County Fairgrounds. Capt. Tom Van Horn and I will be conducting hands-on angler improvement clinics each day.