Had the afternoon off Monday so headed to the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge in Titusville, FL and was on the water by 4PM under bluebird skies and windy. Headed to my favorite backwater pond near Gator Creek to take advantage of the bright sunlight to throw a gold spoon. Caught a fat slot red (pic follows) and several dink trout before moving to work the eastern shoreline of the Indian River with a orange/black top dog jr among the large black mullet roaming around. Managed a couple of short strikes from what appeared to be larger trout in very shallow water (foot or so) just as the sun was disappearing. Looks like they were shadowing the mullet for anything they stirred up and/or pushing bait against the shoreline. Had to work the plug very slow but couldn't get any to come back for a second look. Tried a zoom fluke and paddle tail as well but no luck. Still not bad for a couple of hours on the water.
There are only so many casts in life, so shut up and fish!!
Yep, they seem to be back in these muddy backwater flats/ponds where it is warmer and with the water falling I guess easier pickings to fatten up on before it gets really cold/skinny. Key is finding either wind/rain driven flow with some sort of channel that never dries up. All the fish have been this bright color so aren't residents in these brackish impoundments. Pretty soon though there are a couple of deep holes they stack up in.........a few winters ago when it was really dry this one pond was stacked with lots of mullet, ladyfish, and giant trout - almost everyone 5lbs plus. I was catching and releasing all winter..........then when it got warmer but didn't rain we had that first algae bloom...........and by the next weekend they were all dead.........shorelines just stacked with dead gator trout. I should have been taking some home or transplanting them..........hindsight..........
Tell me about the gators - I can't even throw topwater plugs in these ponds because they are like gator magnets - but fortunately I haven't seen them lately though trust me I'm always looking around for them and really won't wade where I can't see the bottom in these backwaters. But bottom line in Florida where there is water there are gators - I fish around them all the time - actually prefer when they are out and about and I can see them - it is the risk you have to accept if you want to wade fish. Most don't bother you......when they do I just leave. Have almost stepped on a couple laying on the bottom.......had them burst out of the water right in front of me......and I walked on water heading the other direction! I also avoid areas where they are nesting or mating - when they are bellowing and getting territorial in the spring - I stay away. Also, one bad thing about the older gators in these brackish ponds - the saltwater apparently damages their eyesight - so they become a lot more attracted to sound/vibration - makes them more aggressive........can't spook them away........all you can do is leave. BTW - I saw one giant female a couple of years ago........I was judging from a distance but guess very close to 15 feet - 3 ft or more between the shoulders - a foot or so between the eyes - 3 to 4 ft long snout - I didn't get into the water that day.
That's funny you mention that.........I haven't seen as many gators around this past year either...........but haven't been fishing as much due to the algae bloom.