Last week finally brought some sunny and pleasant days to east central Florida. A few of the mornings were frosty but winds were light and skies were clear. That combination makes for some of the best sight fishing of the year. The redfish and drum have been forming some big schools and the large trout invaded the shallow flats. We have been seeing hundreds of fish on every recent trip. The water is very low and crystal clear offering oustanding sight fishing opportunities for both fly and spin anglers. The fish are feeding heavily on small crabs and shrimp. Lures and flies that mimic them will be very effective.
Last Thursday, I made a solo trip to Mosquito Lagoon. It was a cold day by Florida standards and the water temperature was 47 degrees when I hooked my first fish. I used a variety of small crab and shrimp flies to fool six redfish and one nice trout. Some of the fish were lethargic and not feeding due to the cold water but there were plenty around that were. An accurate cast with a very slow presentation was most effective.
The following day, I was joined by Joel, a fly angler from Miami. Again, we found plenty of very shallow and spooky redfish, drum, and trout. He was able to get a holographic bendback fly in front of a redfish that followed it for quite some distance before attacking.
Saturday, Ben and Lou joined me for a half day trip. We went to one flat and never had to leave. Within five minutes of starting, Lou hooked up with his first redfish using a holographic DOA CAL. We switched over to a DOA shrimp and both guys hooked a few more redfish.
As was the case during each recent trip, there were lots of schools of redfish, trout, and drum to cast at.
Sunday, Alex made his first trip targeting redfish with the fly. We had another beautiful winter day with light winds and plenty of finning redfish and drum. Alex had consistent shots at schools of fish throughout the day. Unfortunately, his fly fell a few feet short on most occasions and he did not hook up. We worked on a few tips and drills to add some distance to his cast. With a bit of time to practice, he should have better luck his next time out.
Tuesday, I fished with my long time friend Scott. We hit only two spots before the weather turned sour but found redfish at both of them. The three inch DOA CAL was the most productive accounting for redfish to 32 inches and several trout.
Len joined me the following day for some Mosquito Lagoon sight fishing. The first half of the day had more clouds and wind than we had hoped for making spotting the fish challenging. We did, however, encounter numerous schools of both drum and redfish. By mid day the skies had cleared and the redfish began tailing aggressively. The tails could be seen from a long distance as they rooted in the mud and grass for small crabs and shrimp. Another great day of winter fishing in Florida.
Unfortunately, the weather can't be perfect every day and a front is currently passing through. The sunny and mild days after the fronts, however, will continue to offer some great fishing for both fly and spin anglers. Stealth, quickness, and accuracy are the key factors. The more you practice your casting, the more you will catch.
Capt. Chris Myers
Central Florida Sight Fishing Chartershttp://www.floridafishinglessons.com