Happy Groundhog Day! Doesn’t matter if he sees a shadow today or not, it’s been like spring time fishing for the past month; except a few days here and there where we get passing cold fronts. It’s been a mild winter thus far and the fishing has been more spring like than winter like. Redfish, speckled trout, and black drum have been our main targets for the past month. I’ve also managed to find some willing snook biting too, albeit on the small side (but it’s a major step in the right direction considering the last 3 years have been painfully slow for snook). Catching around those cold snaps has been phenomenal, with days of 30-50 redfish. After the warms back up and the fish scatter again it’s been back to 5-10 redfish days with a couple dozen trout too. Black Drum are schooling to spawn and it’s time to catch the biggest ones of the year. With March looming, it’s safe to say that “winter” is nearly behind us and 80 degree days are quickly coming on the horizon...which means t-shirt weather is almost back again.
Redfish have been the best bet as of late. Crystal clear water is yielding excellent sight fishing from Ponce Inlet down through the south end of Mosquito Lagoon. The North end of the Indian River is still a little stained but there are a couple schools of GIANT redfish in the 20-40lb range starting to form up. In the Mosquito Lagoon, however, schools of 4-10lb redfish are scattered everywhere on the edges of shallow flats. Around the few, short cold fronts we get, catching has been epic when the fish get into big schools in deeper water in creeks, sloughs, or edges of flats. The last front produced three days in a row of 30-40 redfish per day. When the water warmed back up and the fish scattered, it was back to 5-10+ redfish as we spent time poling and sight casting tailing fish and small pods over shallow grass flats in the Mosquito Lagoon. Redfish are ravenous on live shrimp lately. DOA shrimp, soft plastic jerkbaits and small Mirrolure plugs have been tops for lure anglers. Fly fisherman have done well on shrimp, crab, and small minnow patterns.
Around cold fronts we’ve been finding dozens of huge gator Speckled Trout in the 7-10+lb range laid up in shallow sand areas. While the cold water is great for finding them, catching is tough when they are lethargic. It’s takes a great bit of finesse to get a bite throwing lures and flies, but the reward is the trout of a lifetime. If you want to get serious, however, we’ll go with free-lined live mullet for a better chance. Notice I said better chance, even with live bait there is no guarantee and it’s not easy. Catching 4-5lb’rs hasn’t been too difficult lately but the bigger ones have been. We’ve catching numerous smaller trout in the 10-20” range on the edges of deeper water casting lures and live shrimp.
It’s getting to be about that time for Black Drum to spawn, and they are schooling up in big numbers in the Mosquito Lagoon and North Indian River Lagoon. They are often in deeper water in the wide open so we need light winds to find them. Many of these fish will be 5-10lbs, however, we’ll occasionally catch some upwards of 20-25lbs. Live shrimp and cut crabs will get bites fast and work extremely well, 10+ fish can be the norm. Dark lures that look like those will catch a few. Fly anglers also connect with dark clousers and shrimp patterns.
It seems like forever since I’ve written about a consistent Snook bite in the Lagoon area. I’ve finally started to catch fair numbers of them in 2 places, but they are on the small side. Hey, at least it’s a snook, even if they are all 10-20 inches. It’s a major step in the right direction and it likely means within a couple years we could be getting back to where things were before the major freeze in 2010 that nearly wiped them out. (Once upon a time we were getting 10-20 a day in the our area). There have been better numbers of snook in the Tomoka River and Spruce Creek area. I can do speciality snook trips to each if that’s stricly your main catching preference.
February through May is great fishing. It’s also the busiest charter months of the year. I have 13 days left open in February, 15 left open in March, and only 12 left open in April. If you want to fish in any of those months, better book ASAP or they will all be gone. Short notice trips are available if I have the date open. Call or email to secure a reservation. 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.