Inshore fly fishing continues to grow in popularity for fisherman looking to challenge saltwater gamefish like redfish, speckled trout, tarpon and snook. Fly fishing on the east coast of Florida is a visual game. Acres of grass flats with clean water yield schools of redfish, rolling tarpon, laid up speckled trout, and snook around deep structure. Successful fly anglers find themselves posing for a picture of their fly rod caught saltwater gamefish!
When fly fishing inshore saltwater you will do a mix of sight fishing and blind casting. Most anglers find using a 7-8wt with a floating line set up will handle all Florida fly fishing opportunities you are presented with. At times using a 9-10wt for bigger fish or breezy conditions will be to your advantage. Every now and then casting a sinking line in deep creeks and channels will get a fly to the bottom where tarpon or snook may be hanging. Fly patterns like a shrimp, crab, baitfish streamers will give you the best chance for catching success. Fly fisherman should be comfortable casting 9-12 foot leaders. While casting distances may range out to 100 feet, anglers that can make quick accurate casts at 20-30 feet will be quite successful fly fishing the Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River Lagoon flats.
Fly fishing Mosquito Lagoon and the Indian River Lagoon can be a challenge even for the most experienced fly fisherman. Clean, super shallow water that receives heavy fishing pressure makes for spooky trophy redfish, speckled trout and black drum. Mosquito Lagoon redfish and black drum will generally be found schooled up or tailing on grass flats through much of the year. Late summer and fall can be some of the best fly fishing conditions because redfish will be widely scattered on shorelines. Shrimp, crab, spoon fly, sliders, and Clouser minnows are all popular fly patterns for redfish. The Indian River Lagoon and Mosquito Lagoon give fly fisherman a rare chance to sight fish trophy bull redfish over 20 pounds throughout most of the year. During winter and early spring, fly fisherman will find good fishing for trophy spotted sea trout and snook in the Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River. Speckled trout will be found in the shallowest of water, while snook will be schooled on edges of deep creeks and channels. Clousers, seaducers, and EP baitfish patterns are all good flies for spotted sea trout and snook. Early spring and summer will give fly fisherman a chance to connected with a Mosquito Lagoon or Indian River Lagoon tarpon. Colder ocean temps will bring in big tarpon approaching 100 pounds that can be found laid up or rolling in deeper water during mid-summer after things have winded down everywhere else in Florida. Toads, EP Baitfish, and bunny patterns are all good flies for our tarpon.
Fly fishing around New Smyrna Beach and Ponce Inlet is a bit different than in the Mosquito Lagoon or Indian River. Around Ponce Inlet are numerous oyster filled creeks with lots of tide movement. When fly fishing these areas you will find redfish laid up on oyster beds or cruising mangrove shorelines on outgoing tides. Shrimp, crab and minnow flies are great redfish flies for backcountry creeks near Ponce Inlet. Speckled trout are often on deeper edges so blind casting Clouser or mullet style flies in the current with a sinking line will produce results. You can fly fish for snook and tarpon in New Smyrna Beach and the Ponce Inlet area by targeting docks, bridges, and deep creeks and channels. Mullet and white bait style flies are good options. During the late summer and early fall we have a brief run of big tarpon over 100 pounds near Ponce Inlet and in the Intracoastal Waterway following schools of migrating mullet. A 10-12wt set up with big baitfish flies on a sinking line set up will give you a late season chance for a giant silver king.