Happy New Year to everyone! Let’s hope 2014 is as good as the year we just wrapped up. I was fortunate enough to spend just over 250 days on the water in 2013. I hosted nearly 400 people aboard my boat from 32 different US states and 3 foreign countries. I won the IFA Redfish Tour Team of the Year title for the Florida East division and finished as runner-up for the Florida Pro Redfish Series Team of Year in the East Division. I guided my son to his second straight grand overall win at the CCA Youth Inshore Tourney; and together as a team we grabbed a 3rd place finish in the annual 2-day Fishstock redfish & trout tourney held out of New Smyrna Beach. Over the course of the year my clients and I caught over 1500 redfish, and nearly 150 speckled trout over 5lbs (including 2 that tipped scales near 11lbs). Our snook population has made a huge comeback (during the last month we’ve been catching 15-20 per day). We caught a variety of other species during the year including tarpon, flounder, jack crevalle, sharks, bluefish, black drum, pompano, and grouper. Our fishery is alive and healthy!
Last month I spent a day with the Digital Editor from Salt Water Sportsman magazine as we did a piece about redfish in the Mosquito Lagoon area. You can read it and see a short video by clicking Seeing Red. During the next two months we can expect great fishing and consistent daily opportunities. Through early spring we’ll be targeting redfish, speckled trout, black drum, and snook. Sight fishing won’t get any better with crystal clear waters in both the Mosquito Lagoon and North Indian River Lagoon. Cold fronts will continue to work through the area on a weekly basis. Each time they do fish will school harder and catching will be phenomenal. It’s the best time of year to catch sheer numbers of fish with some days producing 20-30-40+ fish per day.
Redfish fishing has been excellent throughout the Mosquito Lagoon and the North Indian River Lagoon. Lower water levels combined with gin clear water has fish schooling on deeper flats and sand bars. When it’s colder some schools will hold 200-300 redfish. In creeks near the Ponce Inlet area fish are starting to school around mud flats and oysters but they are still a little scattered. Catching in any area varies based on the weather. Some days will produce 5-10 redfish, others will produce 20 or more. Live shrimp, cut crabs, and live mullet will produce best on spooky winter time fish, but Aqua Dream spoons, Mirrolure plugs, and soft plastic shad style baits work as well.
From now through the spring it doesn’t get any better for catching monster trophy Speckled Trout. We’ll see dozens of big trout this time of year, with several in the 8-10+lb range. Big trout are laying up in sand sloughs, potholes in the grass, and around oyster bars in the creeks. They often lose a lot of weight during the winter months but it’s still possible to catch trout over 10lbs. A live finger mullet is the best chance to score on these trophy size trout. If we’ve had a run of warm weather we’ll have luck with small soft plastics, swimbaits, and suspending plugs.
Snook fishing has been epic. We’ve been doing on a daily basis lately and catching 10-20 per day has been the norm. Most of our catching is with fish in the 10-25” range. We’re seeing plenty of big ones, but often times the “rats” are grabbing baits before big ones muster up enough energy to eat. Most guides and anglers only think of snook fishing as a summer event, but this is our peak time of year as they are schooled in the same areas and once it gets warm they spread out and catching diminishes. Snook fishing for us is at it’s peak from now through the first part of March.
Black Drum seem to be everywhere and doing their normal schooling rituals gearing up for an early spring spawn. Some schools have 20-40lbr’s while others are in the 5-15lb range. Catching is generally pretty easy, doesn’t take much skill or effort to get a bite. We often don’t mess with them in favor of other preferred actual game fish. If we run across a school of giant ones we’ll stop and catch some. Shrimp and crabs work instantly. They’ll also eat dark flies and jigs with soft plastics.
February calendar is starting to fill up. March and April are the two busiest months of the year and I’ve already filled half of each (both will be fully booked ahead of time). So don’t wait to miss out on the best quarter of the entire year. Short notice trips are available if I have the date open. Call or email to secure a date. Read my fishing charter page to view the top reasons why you should book your trip with me today. I look forward to fishing with you soon…386-212-4931.