Space Coast Fishing Report from Spotted Tail 2/10/08
-On February 12 I’ll be speaking to the Backcountry Flyfishing Association in Orlando. The topic will be “Fishing Alaska’s Goodnews River.” The meeting starts at 7 PM at O’Boy’s Barbecue on Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park. Contact Bill Norton at 407.620.7639 for more information.
-On March 30 I’ll be giving a program on Fishing Opportunities on Florida’s Space Coast at the FFF Flyfishing Expo in Lakeland, Florida.
I fished all three lagoons this week, and was out every day.
Monday Paul Nicholson graced the Spotted Tail, as we fished the Mosquito Lagoon. The weather could not have been any more perfect and there were fish, redfish, seatrout, and black drum, everywhere. They all had their radar on, except for the blacks. They just flat out refused everything we tried. There is an old adage in Florida fishing, “Never leave fish to find fish.” After four hours of fruitlessly casting to fish that ran the other way every time we made a presentation that’s exactly what we did. It worked, too. Paul ended up hooking five reds on a gold Johnson Minnow, and boated three of them, all high slot fish. It was a good end to a beautiful if frustrating day.
Tuesday Brian Graves and I fished in the Indian River Lagoon. In the morning it was slick calm. We found redfish cruising and tailing. Remembering the hot lure from the previous day I had Brian toss a gold Johnson Minnow. His first red was almost 30 inches long. The second, a crawler, was more modest, about 24 inches.
When the wind came up out of the southwest the fish disappeared. I had the foresight (and it’s something I seldom do) to buy two dozen shrimp on the way to the boat ramp. We ran to where I had seen the black drum on Monday. To my surprise and relief they were still there. While they didn’t exactly commit suicide Brian managed to get four before they said “Enough!”
The next three days I had the pleasure of fishing Scott Buell, a fly caster from Flagstaff. Wednesday it was windy, 15-20 out of the southwest. Just to make it a little more challenging it was overcast, too. The places I had been finding fish were unfishable. A search mission ensued. Needless to say, such fish as there were were real hard to see.
We did find some tailers on into the afternoon. They were very spooky and managed to resist out finest efforts.
Thursday Scott’s wife Cecily joined us. The Space Shuttle was scheduled to launch. In the morning it didn’t look too promising, either for fishing or a launch. The weather was the same as the previous day. We again found some tailers, little clumps of four to six fish. Several times Scott had the fly placed perfectly. No bites. They kept spooking off the fly. We tried several different flies, sliders, Merkins, Clouser Minnows, it didn’t seem to matter.
About noon the clouds started to break up and the wind subsided somewhat. The conditions weren’t perfect for fly fishing but I thought the launch conditions were fine. After spooking a couple dozen more fish we ran down to Haulover Canal to watch the launch from there. It went up right on schedule, as always a beautiful and awe-inspiring sight. See the photos at http://www.spottedtail.com/ThisWeeksFishingReport.htm
Friday we took the Old Town to the no motor zone. Again it was overcast, with about a ten knot wind from the northwest. We could only see fish if they tailed. After a couple of hours I finally spotted one, but the tail wouldn’t stay up. It would come up for a second or two, then go back down. Thirty, of 45, or 60 seconds later it would come up someplace else. We finally got close enough for a shot and it disappeared.
That pattern kept repeating. We finally saw a fish tailing fairly rhythmically, so I had Scott get out and wade over to it. He made several casts but the fish finally took the black bunny booger. It was a husky black drum, pushing 30 pounds. He had it on about 10 minutes when the fish surged and busted the tippet.
It was a shame, because in spite of seeing, and running over, quite a few more big fish he wouldn’t get another bite.
In spite of the tough conditions and uncooperative fishies, we really had a good time. Scott is already making plans to come back again. I hope he does, because…