It’s February, but you could hardly tell it from the very warm winter we’ve had thus far. Baitfish are still all over the flats, water temperatures have consistently been in the 70’s, and fish have been feeding agressively. The fishing between Daytona Beach and Cocoa Beach has been very strong. The sight fishing is really good in the tidal areas between Ponce Inlet and Oak Hill, sporting crystal clear water and schooling fish. We are catching lots of redfish, trout, and big black drum on the flats in the Mosquito Lagoon and North Indian River Lagoon, however, the water in those areas still hasn’t fully cleared and sight fishing is tough without perfect conditions. Regardless where we fish, we’ve been catching a lot of them.
Some great news from this past weekend was me capturing the first tournament win of 2012. After garnering five 2nd place finishes last year, it felt good to get another 1st place in the first event I entered this year. The HT Redfish Series came to town, hosting a qualifier open for their pro redfish series. Fishing with my teammate Capt. Paul Jueckstock, we took the win with 12.2lbs. We’re now qualified to fish their Pro Tour in 2012, and are currently looking for a major sponsor to make that happen. Contact me if interested in potential sponsorship opportunities.
The Redfish bite locally has good in all areas from Ponce Inlet to the extreme south end of Mosquito Lagoon. Low water levels have fish schooled up in great numbers on the edges of creeks, sloughs, and bars, and flats. In other areas you can find redfish tailing on the shallow grass flats. Lately we’ve been catching anywhere from 10-30 redfish per day. Lure anglers have done great casting Aqua Dream spoons, soft plastic jerkbaits, Mirrolure and Sebile suspending plugs and DOA shrimp. Live bait anglers have done well with mullet, pinfish, and mud minnows. Fly anglers have done well with spoon flies, worm patterns, and deceivers. We’re also starting to see our giant trophy 20-40lb redfish form into small groups/schools on the deeper flats/edges. You need perfect weather conditions to find them and have a chance, but this time of year those days are few and far between.
Speckled Trout fishing has been on and off again, depending on the prevailing weather patterns. We’ve done well catching smaller fish in the 12-23” range in good numbers in deeper sloughs, edges and creeks. Most of our huge gator trout in the 25-34” range have been laid up in over sand spots in super shallow water. Fishing for them has been tough, however, as they are ultra spooky in the crystal clear water. Conversely, the bite for smaller trout has been good in deeper water because they aren’t as put off my boats and birds. Live bait like finger mullet, mud minnows or live shrimp work quite well, as do lures like small crankbaits and soft plastics on jigs. Fly anglers will connect with clouser minnows, seaducers and deceivers.
There are numerous schools of Black Drum in the southern half of Mosquito Lagoon the North Indian River Lagoon, and the ICW in New Smyrna Beach. These fish are schooling in big numbers preparing for a spring spawn. Many of the fish range from 5-25lbs, with a few larger fish upwards of 40-50lbs. Getting them to bite is really easy, so when everything else is slow, they’ll put a pull on the line. Live shrimp and cut crabs work extremely well. If you want to throw lures, dark colored jigs and soft plastic shrimp will produce bites. Fly anglers will have a good chance at scoring using black clouser minnows and black crab flies. For a different change of pace, Bluefish are scattered throughout the ICW and creeks adjacent to Ponce Inlet. We’re still catching mostly schooly size fish in the 10-20” range. They aren’t picking on eating; diving plugs, crankbaits, spoons, and jigs will score on blues you come across blasting bait on the surface.
February is nearly fully booked, only 5 dates remaining. March is getting close to fully booked as well, with only 12 dates remaining. April bookings have also been going quick so book ASAP if you have a desire to fish the early spring months. As always 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.