April 20th, 2012 New Smyrna Beach Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Report
All I can say is wow! Just wow! It just keeps getting better and better as time is going by here in central Florida. It is starting to look more and more for all of us here on the Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River that this year is going to be epic. The weather has just been perfect along Florida’s beaches and along with this it has brought some of the best sight fishing I have seen in a few years now. The New Smyrna Beach, Oak Hill, Scottsmoor and Titusville areas are the epicenter for some of the greatest fishing on the backcountry grass flats there is.
The past few weeks have been just drop dead gorgeous outside as March and April turned out to be very nice. This makes for great days on the inshore saltwater lagoons. Some of the main targeted fish have been redfish, trout and black drum. A few lady fish, jacks, and even a stray bluefish here and there have been mixed in. Some of these fish have been roaming the lagoons in very large schools, both on the south end and the north end, including the Indian River side by the Mims and Titusville areas. So in reality of things there is not just one hot spot. On average the fish are anywhere from 3 to 15 pounds give or take.
Redfish have been schooling in massive groups and also have been found in very good numbers in singles as well. I personally prefer the singles, as to they do not spook the entire group when approached. Like the flock of bird theory, spook one they all turn. However larger schools are easier targets due to their large numbers. However with this comes a price. When targeting big schools of either redfish or black drum you have got to approach these fish with extreme stealth and caution. All that it takes is for the slightest sound or movement to scare one fish and they all will lift up and push out. Being the first one there does help tremendously but also covering a large area with great patience is a key to success as well.
Trolling motors are okay at times but not to chase fish in 10 inches of water. Use your push pole for a greater success rate. Push with the sun at your back if you can. Try to anticipate the movement of them in advance. Remember these fish roam sometimes without rhyme or reason. Back and forth, all over the crazy place like a pin ball bouncing around. What I mean here is you may see one boat pushing/poling in a specific direction. Apply a type of 3 dimensional thinking when fishing a flat. DO NOT assume that they are going to just go straight on that path. Think about this, redfish are not just moving in a straight line, do they? No. The search pattern they are doing may change by a few degrees here and there, so give them a wide berth.
The redfish are hitting several forms of bait and lures. The top ones are the D.O.A. Shallow Runner Baitbuster, the D.O.A. CALS(I like to rig these with a weed-less configuration and a small bullet weight added. This gives you a little bit of an extra distance on your cast), live shrimp placed on a small circle hook, and of course as always a small hand-picked live blue crab. If you are encountering redfish that are schooled up be sure to lead the fish with enough distance as to not scare them by landing inside the middle of the school. Cast past them and in front too. Again watch for other boats in the area too. Respect goes along way and that door swings in both directions. If throwing at singles that are tailing and feeding a soft cast and a perfect targeted shot is a must. Like always take your time and don’t rush it.
The black drum are being very mysterious. One day they are there and then the next day not a sight or sound from them. I am finding them at times several miles apart from where they were just days or the day before. So this tells me they move, all of the fish that are in the Mosquito Lagoon move, like cattle grazing in a massive field. Not just a few hundred yards but great distances.
The majority of the black drum on the flats have been feeding mostly on live shrimp and small live blue crabs. I use a 3/0 circle hook with a very small weight attached, again helps with not only the distance but to get it down to them. If you are fly fishing try a black crab fly pattern. Try to be extremely careful when approaching them. They will lift up and push out very rapidly when scared. Also they are nibblers so work your baits with ease and a poetic motion.
Most of the trout that are being caught have been in the deeper waters. Drop offs and ledges leading from the shallow water out to the deeper water. All kinds of jigs and baits will work on them. If you have kids on board try the popping cork. Never fails and keeps kids busy and active. The bigger trout have been hitting the Baitbusters on the grass flats. A few have been caught while casting to a tailing redfish or even the black drum. Please be sure to handle every single fish you get to the boat quickly yet safely so they can be returned to the water for a higher rate of survival without complications. Without these fish in the water there will be none to catch for the future.
Captain Drew Cavanaugh
Florida Inshore Fishing Charters