Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Finding Winter Redfish

Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Report

Fishing in Mosquito Lagoon has been very good for the first two weeks of this month. Despite having some record cold temperatures at the beginning of the month, there have been plenty of redfish, black drum and large trout on the flats. This past week, the weather was back to normal with warm temperatures and happy tailing redfish.

The first day of the month, I fished with Tim and his wife Noley. Very low water made it tough to get to the spot I had chosen but we arrived to find multiple schools of redfish and black drum. The fish were plentiful but, as is common with fish in very shallow water, they were spooky. As the day progressed, Tim started getting the hang of how to make a proper presentation and was able to hook up with a couple nice redfish with a 3" DOA CAL.

nice redfish with DOA CAL jigI had to cancel my trips for the next two days as a front pushed through with high winds followed by overnight temperatures in the 20's. By Friday, I had to get out on the water. It was still cold and when I arrived I found the water had dropped to 44 degrees. It was not a pleasant day with the wind whipping across the cold water. I saw plenty of very large redfish and black drum but most were not interested in eating. I managed to land two black drum around 15 pounds and one redfish.

Sunday, it was still cool but much warmer. I fished Mosquito Lagoon with my wife. We saw plenty of redfish and caught both redfish and trout on holographic 3" CALs.

Thursday, UK angler Jerry made his second trip with me to Mosquito Lagoon. Heavy clouds most of the day made for poor visibility. Jerry landed a redfish on his second cast and things were looking positive. We encountered multiple tailing redfish throughout the morning and spooked many we did not see. As the day wore on, the sun began to break through and we fished a flat holding a good number of redfish and large trout basking in the sand holes. Unfortunately, Jerry never hooked another fish.

Friday, the weather was perfect. Not a cloud in the sky, light winds and near 80 degrees. Joe and Dustin took a break from the races and Daytona Beach to check out some Mosquito Lagoon fishing. Our first spot held about ten small schools of happily tailing redfish. Dustin was soon hooked up to his first redfish but the hook pulled before it got to the boat. Both walleye fishermen, Joe and Dustin were not used to being able to see their targets in the water and found the precision needed to properly present the baits fun but challenging. Despite missing lots of fish throughout the day, their persistence payed off. They ended the day landing redfish of 38 and 42 inches, both over 20 pounds.

fisherman siting with big redfish
huge redfishYesterday, I fished Tim and Mike. Despite a cold front bearing down on us, the fishing was surprisingly good. Tim hooked a very large fish that pulled the hook and Mike followed up landing redfish of 36 and 38 inches.

big redfishThey each caught some nice trout and a couple smaller reds before we found a flat holding many tailing redfish. High winds made casting tough but each guy managed to fool one into biting.

Royals fan with slot sized redfishThe redfish, trout, and drum fishing should continue to be excellent during the next month. Many of the fish are in very shallow water. Stealth and quickness and accuracy are the keys to success.

Finding Winter Redfish
The winter season has both advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, there are many schools of redfish. Find a school, approach them quietly, and don;t cast on top of them and you are likely to get a hookup. Schools make larger targets and are much easier to see. On the down side, if most of the fish are in schools, that leaves few singles and pairs on the flats. If you are not where the schools are, you may see very few fish.

So, where do you start looking for them? For starters, you need to get shallow. If you cannot get in 18" of water or less, you will be unable to get to many of the winter redfish. Often, they are in a foot or less. Pick a spot and begin to pole or drift across. While looking for the reds, watch for stingrays, mullet, and catfish. If you see none of then in ten minutes or so, It way be time to move. Often times, moving less than a mile can bring quite different results. Even if they are not tailing aggressively, the redfish schools will commonly show themselves by flashing their bellies or by part of fin breaking the surface.

There is no substitute for searching and covering water. When you locate the fish, they will often return to the same general locations year after year. Keeping a log will help you to keep track.

During winter, the shallow flats can experience quick and large swings in temperature as fronts pass through. The first day or two after a sudden drop may force fish off the flats. once they have acclimated, they will return to the flat for food and warmth.

Tampa Fishing Show
February 27- March 1, I will be at the Tampa Tribune Outdoors Expo and Boat Show and the Florida State Fairgrounds. I will be giving seminars on flats fishing Friday and Saturday. http://promos.tbo.com/triboutdoorexpo_2009/speakers.htm . I will also be at the DOA booth throughout the day.

Capt. Chris Myers
Central Florida Sight Fishing Charters

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