It has been quite some time since my last fishing report mostly due to the poor weather we experienced during the end of October and first week of November. We went through a period of about seven days where the winds topped 20 knots and the sun never shined. Those who did fish had best results soaking cut baits or blind casting lures as cloudy skies and dirty water made sight fishing nearly impossible. This week, however, brought a welcome change to central Florida. The has not been a cloud in the sky, the winds were moderate, and the temperatures hovered in the mid seventies. The water levels have dropped and most flats were crystal clear allowing for some great sight fishing opportunities.
I spent Friday and Saturday at the Florida Sportsman Fishing Show and I picked up a couple 4 inch DOA CAL's in a new color designed for the freshwater fisherman. The purple bait is called grape holographic flake as is not a color commonly used for catching redfish but I wanted to test my theory that presentation is usually more important that color. Monday morning, I hit the flats of Mosquito Lagoon with my friend Paul. We were pleased to find clean water and plenty of redfish. I was also pleased to discover the redfish will eat a purple worm.
With the water temperature now in the 60's and seeing much less mullet on the flats, I tied on a DOA shrimp in morning glory, another new color which is mostly black with a chartreuse tail. I spotted a redfish and cast out the shrimp only to have an unseen trout of about 24" race over and grab it before the redfish saw it. Paul used a 4 inch CAL in gold flake to fool a redfish before we changed locations. We encountered some large black drum that had no desire to play tug of war with us even though we spent a significant amount of time trying. We ended up catching a few more redfish on various color CAL's before calling it a day.
Tuesday, Jerry, from England, joined me in Mosquito Lagoon for another beautiful day. This was Jerry's first time sight fishing for redfish. Throughout the morning, we saw dozens of fish in both schools and singles cruising the shallow flats. Although he learned to sot the fish quickly, it took him a bit of time to get into the habit of leading the fish with the lure. We went to check out the black drum but, just as the previous day, they would show themselves briefly and then vanish into deeper water. At our third spot, Jerry caught a redfish and then followed up with a nice trout on a 5 inch DOA CAL in golden bream with a Woodies rattle.
Jerry had several more bites from redfish that ran at the boat and spit the hook before he could get it set. In all, it was a successful day for his first attempt at sight fishing.
Wednesday, local anglers Al and Sallie joined me in the Mosquito Lagoon. This husband and wife team wanted to learn more about sight fishing for redfish and we did just that the entire day. While they had fun casting to a steady supply of redfish, I was kept entertained by their friendly verbal judo over who was more proficient at precision casting and who caught the bigger fish. While we waited for the sun to climb high enough to allow us to see the fish, Al and Sallie cast to sand holes and grass edges with 5 inch CALs. Al stuck first with a trout and Sallie followed up a short time later with a bigger trout that shook free at boat side. When the sun got up, we started seeing redfish and the competition really heated up. After some adrenaline induced misses, they both managed to catch their first redfish while sight fishing. Al got his on a melonback CAL and Sallie's came on a greene back. As for who caught the bigger fish, I will leave that to them to tell. I suspect their stories will differ.
In addition to plenty of redfish, the improved water quality and clear weather brought plenty of large trout to the shallow sand holes. Trout season is catch and release only through the end of the year in east central Florida. All the very large trout are females and should be handled with care.