Happy New Year to everyone and welcome to 2012! I’m eagerly looking forward to another busy year, filled with great fishing success in guiding, tournaments, and personal time on the water. 2011 was a spectacular year! I spent nearly 260 days on the water and played host to over 175 charters with clients from all of the United States and several foreign countries. Despite not personally taking first place in any tournaments, I did grab five second place finishes, a third place and a couple other top tens. As part of our team, my son also won the junior division in a big two day tournament. Besides catching thousands of redfish, we had an oustanding year of fishing for speckled trout, catching nearly 100 trout over 5lbs. We also had the best year of flounder fishing I have personally seen. Without a doubt our fishery is strong and continues to produces strong days of catching numerous fish. Redfish, speckled trout, tarpon, snook, flounder, black drum and sharks are all regular opportunities. Whether you are a sight fisherman, bait fisherman, fly angler, lure angler, seasoned angler, or novice there are things to experience here. As we roll into 2012, I can tell you that the fishing at the start of the year is about as good as good can possibly get. Strong cold fronts have become to make their presence known and that means schooling fish and crystal clear waters. It’s the best time of the year to catch 20-30-40-50+ fish per day during the next two months. Winter is all about catching, not fishing!!!
The Redfish bite has been fantastic from New Smyna Beach south through the Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River Lagoon. A series of hard cold fronts have dropped water temperatures to an average of 50-60 degrees during the last week. That combined with low water tables have schooled redfish up by the hundreds. On the grass flats in the open parts of the Lagoon we have found large schools of redfish. In the tidal creeks around Ponce Inlet, New Smyrna Beach, and Edgewater we have found creeks and holes holding hundreds of fish. Catching depends on the weather and severity of the cold fronts...for me the colder the better. It’s not uncommon to catch 100 fish when temps are at their coldest. On an average trip, however, we should always expect at least 10-20 redfish. Live bait produces the most catching, live shrimp, live mullet, mud minnows, and live blue crab are my top choices. Lure anglers are doing well on gold spoons, doa shrimp, and crankbaits. Fly anglers have had the best success throwing small shrimp, slider, and worm patterns.
Speckled Trout fishing has also been strong. World class size gator trout in the 6-12lb range have been laid up over shallow sandy bottom warming in the sun. Smaller fish in the 10-25” range have been staged on the deep edges of flats, creeks, and sloughs. This is the time of year, however, to target the trophies. We’ll see more fish over 10lbs during the next few months than any other time of year. These fish are lethargic though, so it takes a bit of patience to get your bites, but the reward is often the fish of a lifetime. Live bait like finger mullet, mud minnows or live shrimp work well, as do lures like small crankbaits, soft plastics on jigs, and doa shrimp. Fly anglers will connect with clouser minnows, gurglers, and seaducers.
The cold weather and water temps have bring out Black Drum by the hundreds in the North Indian River Lagoon and a few areas in the Mosquito Lagoon and the ICW. Most of these fish will range from 3-20lbs and give a good pull on light tackle and/or fly. Live shrimp and cut crabs will get you on the bite real quick. Dar colored jigs and artificial shrimp and crabs will also get you a few bites. Fly anglers will get best results on dark colored flies like a clouser or my own hand tied shrimp pattern. For a different change of pace, Bluefish are piled up by the hundreds around Ponce Inlet. We’re still catching mostly schooly size fish in the 10-20” range, but by the end of the month we’ll see the biggest blues of the year with some in the 8-10lb range. They will eat just about anything, but diving plugs, crankbaits, and jigs will score on blues you come across in the ICW. Finally there are lots of Flounder in the tidal creeks around Ponce Inlet and New Smyrna Beach. With the clear water we are seeing many of them laying on the sand flats. Stick a gig in them or a live mud minnow or mullet on a jighead if you want to cast a line.
January and February looks to be busy months with many dates already booked. March and April are always the two busiest months of the year so book ASAP if you have a desire to fish either. Short notice trips are accepted if I have a date available. Read my fishing charter page to view the top reasons why you should book your trip with me today. Read my fishing report archive to review write-ups from the past several years. I look forward to fishing with you soon…386-212-4931.