Fishing in the Mosquito Lagoon the past two weeks has been about as good as it gets. Winds have been calm, the water clear and low, and both air and water temps have been in the mid 70's. The best part is that there have been plenty of fish each day. Schooling fish, tailing fish, and fish in the sand holes. Some days they have been less aggressive than others, but the numbers of fish have been excellent.Last week brought catches of black drum and redfish on DOA crabs along with other reds caught on fly.
On Friday, I fished Mosquito Lagoon with Capt. Ron Presley of Cocoa Beach. We spent most of the day targeting the numerous black drum in 1-2 feet of water. We both caught black drum on soft plastic crabs and spooked a ton of big trout. The black drum normally do not eat the wide range of artificial lures that redfish will. The most effective technique was to slowly drag the crab along the bottom in front of the fish. If you are not getting bites, slow down even more.The drum were in schools of 10-200 and could be seen crossing the sandy patches.
This Monday, Al from Orlando returned for his second trip. This time he brought his friend Danny from England. Within ten minutes, Al had the first redfish of the day to the boat that he caught casting a 4 inch DOA CAL to a group of tailing fish.We spent the next couple hours casting to redfish with not much success. When the sun got up, the drum appeared. Danny scored first with a drum of about ten pounds. A short while later, both guys we hooked up to some smaller drum.
Al caught a trout to complete his Mosquito Lagoon slam and we moved on to look for some bigger fish. We found several schools finning and tailing and both Al and Danny caught some nice drum.
We spent the end of the day trying to get Danny his red for the slam. We saw some reds and had some shots but it just didn't work out. Still, it was an excellent day.
Tuesday, I had two fly fishermen from New York. The skies were clear and the winds light. We probably did not go for five minutes the entire day without having fish near the boat. It was their first time sight fishing for redfish and my anglers could not quite get the fly to the fish. Shallow water sight fishing requires stealth and quick accurate casts. If you are missing any one of these elements, the level of success diminishes. Although my anglers were questioning whether or not the fish were willing to eat, the fact that they were tailing aggressively, proves they were. The guys were dedicated to the fly, though, and stuck with it to the end. Even though we had at least 100 shots at fish, none came to the boat.
Thursday, I took my flyrods and friend Capt. Tom Van Horn back to see if the redfish were still tailing. Capt. Tom let me go first and I landed three redfish and pulled the hook on five more within twenty minutes on an olive #2 crab pattern. We saw some black drum but could not get any shots at them and we both spooked quite a few that were tailing and finning. Tom and I caught six or seven redfish and a few trout including a beauty of about 28 inches that Tom landed along the edge of a shallow flat. Using barbless hooks, we were able to easily release all fish to be caught again another day.
Friday, I was joined by two ladies from Orlando, Debbie and Connie. Although the weather was still warm, the leading edge of a front had moved in bringing clouds and wind. The redfish that had been so plentiful all week, were few and far between. We saw only three tailing reds the entire day. Fortunately, the trout and drum were much more cooperative. The women started the day catching around a dozen trout on four inch CAL tails in Arkansas Glow and Stark Naked. Next, Connie landed back to back black drum around fifteen pounds and Debbie caught her first drum also.
We left the drum biting to make one more attempt at some redfish to complete the slam. I spotted several reds moving away in front of the boat. Debbie cast here CAL tail towards them and her line came tight with what we thought was the first red of the day. Instead, it turned out to be here largest trout to date.
We never did catch a redfish but it was still another excellent winter day in Florida.