Fishing reports for the entire United States coastline and freshwater systems.
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Well several weeks of weather changes have come and gone leaving us with optimal conditions for flats fishing. The temperatures have dropped and then come back up and are leveling off comfortably now. The water levels were high and now, after the massive rain storms we just had, are even higher. Not long before it drops for winter. The water clarity should start to improve with the fresh water added and a mixture of conditions happening stirring things to say. This has the fishing going up and then coming down, then going back up again. However now that we are back in a steady weather pattern I see the fishing improving tremendously and eventually we should be in a sight fishing paradise once again throughout all of the flats here in the east central Florida area. The weather will start to cool down as well. Making for a typical Florida fall/winter day on the Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River, perfect! Next thing you know we are in the winter months of Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River fishing. This means world class sight fishing on the crystal clear grass flats. This is why the lagoon is known as the redfish capital of the world.
The past several weeks brought in numerous great days of fishing trips and produced some very nice catches along with it. Redfish have been the staple of most trips. Along with this a few sea trout, flounder, lady fish and black drum have been mixed into the days catch. A few tarpon have been spotted here and there but they have been hit or miss ever since the bad freezes we had the past two years. A few of my clients, Rob, Darryl, Mitchell, June, Tom and Aaron just to mention a few, had outstanding days on the water. The top baits and lures used have been the D.O.A. Shallow Runner Bait Buster, live finger mullet, mud minnows, D.O.A. Cals, D.O.A. BFL 5.5, black crab flies, mullet flies all on 8 weight fly rods and small live blue crabs. The blue crabs I have been using were all hand caught and are in the size range of a silver dollar and used in combination with a 3/0 circle hook. These are gold to redfish. All fished light tackle on Stradic & Sustain 2500's/4000's mounted on St. Croix Legend Elite rods. Line and leader go from 10 pound braid to 15 with roughly 20 inches of 15-20 pound fluorocarbon leader.
The waters we have been fishing have basically been the entire Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge areas. There were days we stayed in the New Smyrna, Edgewater and Oak Hill area and then days we fished the south end near Titusville in the lagoon and the river. On a few occasions we fished the west bank of Mims, the areas near the railroad bridge in Titusville, the north end of the Indian River there in Scottsmoor and the north bombing range in search of the big bulls that have been all over the area. The big bull reds have been in a spawning mode and are throughout the deeper waters here. When you find them try the D.O.A. Shallow Runner Bait Buster. Throw it in front and past the lead fish. A steady retrieve bringing it across them will entice a bite or ten. Do not slow it down or let it sink. It is not normal for a bait fish to stop for a predator. Hang on and have fun. Please be sure to handle these and all fish very carefully as to get them released safely and quickly for a higher survival rate. Also do not hold these fish vertically. Hold them horizontally if you have too. It is better for them this way. Practice catch and release, the future of this fishery depend on all anglers. Not just one.
The tactics and techniques are basically unchanged. Search the flats early and look for signs of bait and bird activity. Tailers should be found early and throughout the morning time in grass flats where mullet are present. Approach fish easy. Do not rush it. I have stressed this before and will stress it again. Take your time and be stealthy about it. Use your push pole as much as you can. Be sure not to cast on top of your fish as they will spook. Watch the noise levels in the boat too. Also please, give your fellow angler plenty of room. Do not crowd up on top or run your boat too close to others as it will scare fish away. There is plenty of water to fish out there.
Captain Drew Cavanaugh
Florida Inshore Fishing Charters
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