It looks like the long cold winter may be coming to an end here in central Florida. The water temperature on the flats of Mosquito Lagoon broke the 70 degree mark yesterday and the manatee are beginning to return. Fishing for the past few weeks has been outstanding. We have been seeing hundreds of tailing redfish on each trip. Black drum have been plentiful as well. The baitfish schools will soon return and with them will come the trout, ladyfish and jack crevalle. April should be an excellent month if recent trips are any indication of what is to come.
With the fishing tailing aggressively, this is an excellent time for fly anglers to hook into a redfish. Tailing fish are usually feeding on small crabs that are easily imitated with flies. The number one challenge for my fly fishing clients this month was getting the fly to the fish before they became aware of our presence. Once this happens they usually will not eat. The ability to hit your target with one or two false casts will significantly increase your chance of getting a bite.
Earlier this month, I was joined by Bill, an angler visiting from Canada. We found an area holding some large trout and scattered redfish. Bill used a five inch DOA CAL in silver mullet to land several trout. As I poled down the shoreline, he had consistent shots at single redfish. By mid morning, the winds were pushing twenty knots. With most of the boats hugging the shoreline, we left the crowds and headed out to open water. Bill was rewarded with a 38 inch redfish.
Last Saturday brought some beautiful weather. While conditions were near perfect, it seemed like everyone who owned a boat was on the water by 8am. Lewis, my client for the day, had shots at hundreds of tailing redfish as the sun was rising. While he never quite got his bait to the reds, he did manage to hook into a nice black drum.
This week brought some of the best fishing of the year to Mosquito Lagoon. Redfish were tailing throughout the day on every trip. Wind can be a challenge on some days but as long as the sun is out, the fish have been easy to find. Tuesday, I spent a windy day fishing some of the less populated areas with Capt. Drew. The reds didn't mind the wind and were happy to eat the three inch DOA CAL in Arkansas Glow as well as a black crab fly.
The next two days, clients had encounters with various sized schools of redfish throughout the morning. Unfortunately, their casts did not quite hit their mark and they did not hook up. Yesterday, John landed several redfish on his first trip to Mosquito Lagoon. The fish were tailing when we arrived and were still doing so when we left at the end of the day. An excellent day on the water.
There is no better time for sight fishing than when the fish are tailing. If you can see their tails coming up, you know for certain they are eating. The DOA crab, shrimp, and three inch CAL are your best bet when casting to these fish. Getting the lure in front of them quickly is the key. Often times, missing your mark by only a foot can mean the difference between getting a bite and the fish never seeing your lure. Stealth is also important when targeting these shallow water fish. Trolling motor blades hitting the bottom or breaking the surface as well as any noise on the deck of the boat will alert them to your approach.