Significant changes have taken place over the last few weeks but the one thing that has remained consistent is the excellent fishing on the flats.
Just ten days ago, we were still experiencing frost in the morning and water temperatures in the low 50's. This week, the water was reaching 70 with air temperatures hitting 80. The white pelicans are flying off signaling an end to winter and the baitfish are getting more plentiful by
the day. Huge schools of redfish can be found roaming the flats with some having over 500 fish in them. There have been few, if any, days in recent weeks when we have not seen nearly one thousand redfish per day.
On one of those aforementioned frosty mornings, Canadian anglers Juha and Linden joined me on Mosquito Lagoon. Despite the cool temperatures, the fish seemed happy and they landed twenty redfish between 5 and 8 pounds on three inch DOA CAL jigs.
The following day, Don joined me for a solo trip. He tarted off with the fly rod and within minutes, Don hooked up with his first redfish on a black crab fly.
It was a great start to the day and it only got better. Don switched to a CAL jig to get a bit more distance and battled ten more redfish from 8-15 pounds.
The fishing was so good I couldn't resist grabbing the flyrod and hookinginto one myself.Don ended the day with some shots at 20-30 pound fish but was unable to convince them to play.
The next day brought clouds and rain. Fletcher started off hooking up with a black drum from a school of tailing fish. Our second spot held lots of tailing redfish. He had several bites but was unable to hook up.
Near the end of the day, the sun made an appearance and we spent an hourfollowing a school of giant redfish. Unfortunately, the casts never quite landed in front of the school.
Bob and Darryl were with me the next day, We had more clouds but at least it did not rain. We had tailing redfish in the morning and fish to 30 pounds late in the day when the sun came out. Both guys landed a few reds on CALs but visibility was tough much of the day.
Last Friday was picture perfect. Light winds, clear skies and warm temperatures made for some excellent sight fishing conditions. Everywhere we went the fish were happy and hungry. Will caught around twenty redfish on a variety of lures including several colors of DOA shrimp, CAL's, and
even had a few bites on a Baitbuster. His first fish of the day was around 15 pounds and his last weighed in at 19.
Sunday I had a fly fishing trip with Jed and Joan. We encountered some huge schools of redfish in the morning. Even with large schools, cast placement can still be very important. Coming from small trout streams at home. Jed was not able to quite reach in front of the schools. They soon
spooked and fled the flat. We moved to another spot holding a slightly smaller school and hooked up with a few fish on the spinning gear. Near the end of the day, we had some shots at some slightly larger fish and got one of them to eat.
Russ and Judy had some fly fishing shots at schools of redfish over 500 strong first thing in the morning. We could get within 50 feet of them but the casts did not quite reach far enough and the fish soon took off for deeper water. We had one large redfish hooked up momentarily but it came off. We tried some trout fishing along the deeper edges of the flats. It was not red hot action as it will be in a couple months but they did land several.
Ray and Linda had shots at the giant schools of redfish early Tuesday morning. Ray landed one on a black crab fly. Our second stop produced a couple more fish and then we spent the final hour targeting large reds which they saw but did not catch.
Wednesday's trip brought clouds, fog, and high winds to Mosquito Lagoon. Kacy and Jessica quickly landed three redfish before the wind really began to kick up.
We briefly considered packing it in but decided to bundle up and keep going. That decision paid off with Kacy landing two redfish between 15 and 20 pounds and Jessica catching the biggest fish so far this year, a 48 inch redfish weighing 32 pounds.
The next day, we were back to the perfect weather, Sunny, warm, and calm. The big schools of fish eluded us in the beginning of the day but John jr. finally broke the ice with a beautiful redfish with a 7 weight rod and a black #4 Clauser Minnow.
A couple hours later, we hit the gold mine with some huge schools of happy redfish all to ourselves. Every cast that landed in front of the fish resulted in a bite and both father and son had some fast and furious action. A prior commitment forced them to have to leave the fish biting.
Hopefully, we have seen the last of the cold weather for this year. The fishing for redfish will remain excellent and the trout bite should get better each week. This is still an excellent time for fly fishing as the redfish are still eating small crabs and shrimp. Spin fishing anglers
should stick with the smaller three inch baits for the most consistent bite.
Capt. Chris MyersOrlando Fishing Guide