Things are heating up in February...literally. January fishing was fantastic and many capitalized as I nearly had a full booked month. I also had a nice write up featuring me and out winter fishery appear last month in the Miami Herald; Chills Provide Sight Fishing Challenges. We seem to have shrugged off the cold weather and lately have been basking under the Florida sun and daytime highs in the 70’s. While we will still see some cold fronts dipping this way from time to time, they will be much more limited and short in length. Spring isn’t far off. Small pods of mullet are showing up on the flats and the shrimp runs around the moon cycles have been strong. The water in the Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River Lagoon is crystal clear and we are sight fishing schools of redfish, black drum and speckled trout on fly, light tackle lures and bait. The fishing is excellent, so jump on the boat and let’s get to it.
Redfish have been a primary target in the Mosquito Lagoon, North Indian River Lagoon, and the creeks and tidal areas around Ponce Inlet and New Smyrna Beach. There are lots of schools of 25-50 redfish in all areas and some scattered schools in the Lagoons that are holding 100-300 fish. Lower water levels have the smaller redfish pulled out of the extreme shallows and holding on adjacent deeper flats. Warm, calm weather and rising tides have them scattering up into the shallows. Out on the edges of the flats we’ve begun finding schools of GIANT redfish. Over the past week I’ve located several schools of these trophy size redfish in the Mosquito Lagoon and the North Indian River Lagoon. The schools are small in numbers, 20-50 fish, but most are in the 25-40lb range and they are biting. We caught a couple in the 20lb range and one approaching 40lbs. Gold spoons, Mirrolure mirrominnows, and DOA shrimp and Gulp baits have been especially productive for lure anglers. Live bait anglers have had most success using live shrimp or live mullet. Fly anglers have had success using clouser minnows, borski sliders, and spoon flies and my shrimp fly.
Black Drum have been the next best option in both the Mosquito Lagoon and the North Indian River Lagoon. A close cousin of the redfish, black drum have been schooled up by the hundreds and there are plenty of schools to find roaming the muddy/sand sections of the flats. These fish tend to receive far less fishing pressure than redfish. Several of the schools have fish in the 15-25lb range, while the average fish has been in the 4-12lb range. Live shrimp have been a must to have guaranteed success catching them. Lure anglers have had success using DOA shrimp crawled slowly along the bottom. Fly anglers have had as good as luck as those using live bait. Dark colored shrimp and crab patterns have been the ticket.
The other main target of our late winter fishing is Speckled Trout. In the Mosquito Lagoon, Oak Hill, Edgewater and New Smyrna area speckled trout have been schooled up on the edges of deep cuts, creeks, and channels. With the warmer conditions of late, we’ve found some large trophy trout from 6-10lbs laid up in deep sand spots. Soft plastic jigs and Mirrolure plugs like the 7m, 19m, and 52m around the bait schools is currently putting 10-20-30 or more trout in the boat a day. If they have been picky, cut mullet thrown into bait pods has managed to produce consistent bites and bigger fish. Clouser minnows, EP minnows, and seaducers are good flies for my fly anglers. With the improving bite, our average trout lately has been in the 12-20” slot range, with a few over 4lbs.
Some limited remaining dates in February and March has been filling fast. March and April are the two busiest months of the year, so don’t wait till the last minute to reserve a date. Having said that, short notice trips are accepted if I have the date open. Give me a call call now to reserve/book 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.