April 09 - Mosquito Lagoon, New Smyrna, Ponce Inlet Backcountry
Capt. Nathaniel Lemmon
April 2, 2009
New Smyrna Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report
Citrus trees in full bloom, white butterflies in the air, and glass minnow and mullet are filling the area waters...April has arrived in Florida! We are just wrapping up a fully booked March and the fishing was pretty great. Trophy size redfish in the 20-40lb range dominated the best action, followed closely by trophy size speckled trout from 4-10lbs. Black drum schools are everywhere in both lagoons, snook have broken free from their winter hiding spots, and tarpon are up and moving in various locations. Spring tides are always higher and that combined with a persistent south wind has brought water levels considerably higher than the dramatic winter lows. A warmer than normal March has also kick started the beginning stages of the spring bait run and the fish definitely shifted their preferred food source. Open dates for April are limited, with less than 10 open dates remaining.
Redfish continue to be the dominant action here on Florida's Space Coast. The only change from the previous couple months is the size we are catching. There are many schools of GIANT redfish up and moving in both the Mosquito Lagoon and North Indian River Lagoon. Most of the schools currently contain anywhere from 50-150 fish in the 15-40lb range. The bite has been fairly consistent lately and we landed quite a few trophy size redfish in March around 20lbs, a few over 30lbs, and two that pushed the 40lb mark. This action will only get better over the next couple months as the fish start to move around and prepare for their annual spawn cycle. Higher water levels have helped break up many of the schools of smaller redfish (3-10lbs) up on the flats. When the schools disperse we begin to target singles, doubles and small pods tailing up in the shallow grass. The warmer water in the New Smyrna Beach area also has redfish moving back up to the oyster bars so there are a variety of areas to target smaller redfish. The best action is being found using bait, soft plastics and lures that resemble minnows, mullet or pinfish. Fly anglers are finding success on redfish using bendbacks, ep minnows, spoon flies, and bunny patterns.
Spotted Sea Trout would have to currently rank as the second best bite. The warmer weather and water temperatures have really turned up the action and loads of trout are working the available bait pods. More importantly they are letting their guard down and biting well as they look to replenish lost body weight coming out of the winter. This all day action for trophy size trout will stay consistent into May. Plugs, soft plastics, and live mullet are the ticket. We caught two gator trout over 29 inches during the past couple weeks (upwards of 9lbs) and also landed many fish in the 4-7lb range.
It's almost time for the bigger juvenile Tarpon to turn it up a notch. Right now we are settling for catching 1-5lb babies in a few locations I fish around New Smyrna Beach. These fish are actively taking DOA shrimp, 3-4" minnow plastics, or flies that resemble either of those. I have a few areas that lately are showing 10-30lb fish, but the action is still to slow to merit taking clients there, a quick roll here and there just to let you know they are there. As the water temps work their way up to a consistent 75 degrees these fish will start to eat more frequently and allow us to pick off a fish or two. Tarpon spin rods and fly rods are rigged and ready for the bigger juvies, it's just a matter of time.
Sticking with the theme of warmer water temps turning on the action, the Snook bite has picked up in several areas from New Smyrna Beach down into Mosquito Lagoon. The fish are on the move from their wintering areas towards Ponce Inlet before they head out onto the beaches to spawn this summer. Docks and deep shorelines along the way will be where the best action is. Lately we've been hitting snook spots during the first hour or so of the morning before moving on to redfish and trout once the sun is up. The average size fish is anywhere from 1-5lbs. Topwater plugs and suspending/diving plugs are the choice for working tight to mangrove shorelines. Jigs, DOA plastic shrimp and bucktails are the choice for docks and bridges.
Black drum schools are still everywhere, but the bigger fish are moving off the flats into deeper water. The schools are a little smaller than the last couple months, but there are still 200+ fish in each. I located one roaming groups out in deeper water one day and found they were all 8-15lb fish. We hit them in passing a few different days and caught several fish around 10lbs and one big one that was approx 17lbs. Shrimp, cut crabs, and cut clams are the best bait. They will also readily eat a fly.
March was a fully booked month and April dates have been reserved well in advance. I have less than 10 openings remaining for April and expect another fully booked month. I look forward to fishing with you soon…386-212-4931.
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