Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River Lagoon Fishing
Capt. Tom Van Horn
April 16, 2016
Indian River Lagoon - Saltwater Fishing Report
Fishing conditions on the central east lagoon coast of Florida this past week covered the entire spectrum from very gorgeous to very challenging, but the catching was very rewarding for many anglers despite the adversity. The week started out with gorgeous conditions both inshore on the lagoons and offshore, and then it ended with stalled cold front and small craft warnings with the weekend of fishing being completely blown out.
The water quality on the north IRL and in the Mosquito Lagoon is showing some improvement, but still remains dirty and the water levels are on the lower side.
On Monday I decided to scout fish on my own in the Titusville section of the Indian River Lagoon. It was my first trip in that area since the fish kill south of there several week ago, and I wanted to see if I could still fine fish in that area. Although the water was still dirty, I did not see a single dead fish the entire morning. There was still plenty of mullet and other fish moving around on the flats, but I did not see a single redfish all morning.
On Tuesday my good friend Larry Carter joined me for a day of scouting on the Mosquito Lagoon, yes Larry dose have a few friends and yes he is a good angler for those non-believers out there.
The morning started with a little fog about just before sunrise, but once the sun cleared the eastern shore line, flat and glassy conditions made sight fishing easy. At our first location we decided to give top-water plugs a try since it is the season for the return of the silver mullet and the top-water sea trout bite, but we only had one rise on a Zara Spook Jr. Larry was throwing, so we moved on. At our second location we started moving in shallow looking for reds, and started seeing tails in every direction. The only problem was the fish were working in extremely shallow water where reaching them was an issue, but they were there and Larry manager a few on DOA Jigs. It was good seeing tailing fish again, especially in those numbers.
Returned to the Indian River Lagoon on Thursday with legendary lady angler Angie Johnson, and we decided to target black drum in some of the deeper channels and dredge areas and she commenced in give me a fishing lessen on how to wrangle flats donkeys, catching three in the 20 to fifty pound range.
Although the weather turned snotty on Friday, I convinced my charter to give it a shot and we returned to the same location Angie and I fished the day before. My plan was to fish with father and son team Bryan and Will Stross from Jacksonville in a strategic location where a quick retreat to the lunch site from predicted thunderstorms was possible, and I glad this father and son team were both very experienced anglers, because the very challenging conditions made a team effort a necessity to catch and land these fish. Between the two, they managed to catch and release four of the six black drum hooked between 20 and 50 pounds. The only way to catch fish of this size on light tackle (20-pound test) in rough conditions is to work as a team. By the end on the charter the winds gusted up above 20 knots and we eased back to the dock surviving a very adventurous and memorable charter.
As always, if you need information and have any questions, please contact me.
Good luck and good fishing,
Captain Tom Van Horn
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