Excellent summer fishing continues along Florida's space coast. Redfish have been consistent and some big tarpon have moved into the area. This pattern should continue throughout the next few months. Despite some erroneous reports to the contrary, there is no oil in our area and the fishing is great.
Lois and her granddaughter Alexis caught a variety of fish on their trip to Mosquito Lagoon. We began the day by catching a couple redfish. You Alexis did a fine job fighting the fish but had no desire to hold them up for photos.
As the sun got higher and fish began exploding on the bait schools, Alexis went to work with her own rod and reel and proceeded to cast to and catch over a dozen fish, hooking and loosing many more.
Last week, I had Japanese fly angler Hiro on board for three days. We had excellent weather and each day brought shots ad hundreds of redfish. Early in the morning, Hiro got multiple bites from redfish on topwater slider flies. Unfortunately, none connected with the hook. This is quite common with redfish as they often create a wake when charging a surface fly that pushes the fly away as they attempt to grab it. Ladyfish provided an exciting interlude between attempts at redfish. On the third day, Hiro still had not hooked his target species. As the day began, we found some schools of redfish crashing mullet against a sand bar. Hiro hooked up but the fish shook loose. We tried a different spot where he landed a redfish on a crab fly.
He spent the remainder of the day throwing multiple flies to schools of giant redfish. He finally hooked one on a black crab but it came off after several minutes.
The next day, Rich and his son Rich JR., were casting to schools of redfish at dawn. Junior was using a DOA Baitbuster and hooked three fish which all managed to come off before he landed them. Dad landed the first fish and both guys caught several reds before the day was through along with a couple jack crevalle. It was a perfect summer day and we saw hundreds of redfish.
Some large tarpon have made their way into the Lagoon system and can be found rolling through mid morning in 6-8 feet of water. While there are some 10-20 pound fish mixed in, most of these fish are from 40-100 pounds and are too large to be landed in a reasonable time with conventional redfish and trout tackle. To target these fish, you will need 20 pound braided line on a heavy rod with 60-80 pound leader. Live baits can be used but will often be eaten by ladyfish or catfish before the tarpon get to them. Casting single hook artificial lures like the sinking Baitbuster at rolling fish is the most effective tactic.
With water temperatures between 85 and 95 degrees, fish can often die of stress if fought for prolonged periods. During the past few weeks, I have seen numerous large redfish and even tarpon floating dead. It is important to use proper tackle and fighting techniques to make sure these trophy fish survive release.