Last week, the coldest weather of the season came through the area causing the water temperature to drop twenty degrees in twenty-four hours. High winds and cold made for unpleasant fishing conditions so I stayed off the water. This week, however, was the complete opposite. For the most part, it was sunny, warm, and calm. I spent four days on the water with some excellent results.
Monday, Capt. John Kumiski and I spent the day fly fishing the Mosquito Lagoon. We began the day targeting tailing redfish in very shallow water. After spooking the first few fish, I caught one around four pounds on an olive #2 crab pattern. Capt. John quickly followed up with a redfish of similar size on a black redfish worm fly. As we were looking for the redfish, we came upon numerous large trout lying in shallow sand holes. I switched to an unweighted bendback style fly and managed to convince one of them to eat. With both trout and redfish having been landed, we went looking for some black drum. We found a school of them and Capt. John made several casts with a brown Merkin style crab. The lone redfish among the black drum was the first fish to grab the fly. The drum moved off and we were unable to find them but I was able to get my crab in front of a 27 inch redfish which grabbed it as I let it fall. John got a nice trout and I followed with one more redfish before some rain arrived and we headed in.
Tuesday, I was joined by brothers Rob and Gray from South Africa. Rob wanted to fly fish and his brother stuck with spinning tackle. We came upon numerous redfish and big trout throughout the morning. Rob was used to fishing in more remote locations with fish that are much less wary than our shallow water redfish. Although he made a valiant effort, most of his casts didn't quite get to the fish quick enough. I elected to give them a shot at some black drum and we found a school of about 50 fish. Rob cast an olive Merkin crab to them and hooked up with a drum around 20 pounds.
Next it was Gray's turn. He was soon connected to a drum in the 15 pound range.
Rob had three more bites but the hook pulled on all of them before the fish stopped cooperating. We finished the day with more shots at redfish and trout but could not hook up.
Wednesday, I fished Allan and Mark from England. We spent the first part of the day casting to schools of both black drum and big redfish without success. Our second stop revealed a large school of big redfish. Allan was soon battling a 38 inch fish that weighed around 21 pounds. After posing for a picture, the fish was released.
The fish settled down and Allan hooked into his second fish of the day which was even bigger than the first. This fish topped 40 inches and was pushing 30 pounds.
Mark had only one bite and, as luck would have it, the fish ran straight at the boat and he could not get the hook set. Even though these were big fish and there were a lot of them, it still requires precise casting to have success. Casts that land in or too close to the school will spook them off. If your cast lands too far away, they will not see your offering. Mark was able to use his DOA CAL tail to land a smaller redfish to break the shutout.
Thursday, the calm weather continued. I planned on trying to fly fish for some black drum. I arrived to find another boat working the area. I came upon some big redfish and decided to put a new prototype Kistler Rod to the test. The 7' medium action rod was rigged with a Daiwa 3000 reel and ten pound braid was able to whip a couple redfish over 38 inches in less than ten minutes.
I left the big fish happy and finning and got out the 5wt flyrod for some light tackle action. The green crab fly fooled a trout and a few more redfish to finish out another great winter day on the Lagoon.
Next weekend, I will be at the Central Florida Boat Show at the Orange County Convention Center. Look for the Mosquito Creek Outdoors booth. In addition to the boats, there will be fishing seminars all weekend long. I will be speaking Sunday at 3pm on fishing soft plastic baits in Mosquito Lagoon.