The past weeks of fishing here in the east central Florida area has been extremely great. On fire to be exact. Earlier sunrises and later sunsets mean more fishing time along with nice weather to deal with - no more cold! The warm weather arriving has also brought on tarpon, jacks, blues, lady fish and all of the other seasonal species which move into the lagoon and river here when summer time arrives. Along with these fish have of course been the outstanding year round bite of redfish, trout and black drum. Again summer time fishing here in Florida is by far the best place to be on the planet. Why go any where else. As the weather keeps getting into the summer dog days the fishing will continue to improve along with it as well. The lagoon is alive and active.
Redfish have been seen and caught throughout the entire Mosquito Lagoon system and in the Indian River using a large variety of baits. Most of the fish I have been targeting have been up on the flats and in the backcountry waters of the Mosquito Lagoon and the New Smyrna Beach area. Tailing reds can been seen at first light eating a variety of baits among the grass flats. The fish are moving across and along sand bars chasing the bait schools that become active in the morning light. Mullet have made an invasion into the grass flats along with the blue crabs, pin fish and of course the summer specials of pig fish. It seems the past couple of trips mud minnows have been the choice of the day. A well placed mud minnow in front of feeding redfish is a bait that will not be turned away. The key with using them is the presentation and care of the bait. Mud minnows are a favorite of redfish(along with flounder) due to the baits characteristic qualities of heading, well, into the mud. It basically swims into the reds mouth or very close to it. If sight fishing with them try to keep them alive in the water as you are poling around in search of reds. Either keeping them in the live well on the hook or hanging them over the side of the boat or place a small bucket in your boat and refresh the water every so often for optimal care. The next thing you do not want to do is to land on top of the fish when making your cast. As I have said before this will scare them. If several redfish are feeding and you scare one them you will scare them all. No doubt. So cast past them, anticipate their direction and speed but close enough to them to slowly bring it to them for the attack. The redfish will hammer them. The DOA shrimps in the natural colors have been working great as well as the DOA CALS in mullet patterns used on weedless rigs with lighter weights on them. Fish them in the same way as the mud minnows for your presentation and approach.
Trout have been caught in good numbers along sand bars and drop off early in the morning using jigs and top water. Search along the bars that drop off to deeper ledges and specially noting if there is a large presence of bait fish moving about in the area for better success. Larger trout will be roaming the flats in the grass beds in search of baits and will be vary wary of your presence so be very cautious when approaching them. They are the apex predator in the lagoon. Of course as always please handle them with extreme care for a positive release and a high survival rate of them. Black drum are mixed in on the flats roaming in schools and will appear with the redfish as well. The best baits of choice for them are small crabs or smaller shrimp placed on a 2/0 or 3/0 circle hook with a small weight to help it get down to the fish. Jacks, lady fish and blue fish can be caught in massive numbers all over the deeper waters(5-7 feet) using almost any kind of plug, jig or bait thrown at them. Watch for diving birds, dolphin, predator fish crashing baits and large bait pods moving about to locate them. Be sure to step up your leader to a higher strength due to the blues.
Captain Drew Cavanaugh
Florida Inshore Fishing Charters
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Fish the world famous Mosquito Lagoon. The redfish capital of the world!
Located along Florida's beautiful Space Coast.