January - Mosquito Lagoon, New Smyrna, Ponce Inlet Backcountry
Capt. Nathaniel Lemmon
January 2, 2009
New Smyrna Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report
Happy New Year to everyone and best wishes for a great 2009! Last month I commented how fantastic the fishing was...well it hasn't slowed down, in fact it only got better. It was a great way to close a busy year as I fished with charter clients from many states across the country and they weren't disappointed with summer like conditions of 80 degrees and glass calm days throughout the month. Our catch numbers have held steady with a 10-20 fish average on most trips for light tackle spin fisherman. My fly fisherman have really done well with too many chances to count each day at redfish, trout, snook, and even some tarpon; and on most days got at least 5-10 eats. All of the fish are now firmly into their winter patterns and favorite holding spots. It's my favorite time of the year to sightfish and I'm looking forward to the coming year.
There are thousands of Redfish schooled up throughout Mosquito Lagoon and the North IRL, with most schools now averaging 100-200 fish. But don't be surprised to see schools of 400-500 redfish like we found during the last week of December. The water temperatures warmed quite a bit from all of the recent 80 degree weather and we've seen quite a bit of tailing behavior on the edges of flats and sloughs throughout the entire day. For my light tackle anglers we've been throwing lots of soft plastic shrimp, as well as a few of my more favorite small fluke patterns and twitchbaits. To catch the most amount of fish, live shrimp and blue crab have been too much for redfish to pass on. (A recent 4 hr trip tallied 28 redfish from 4-11lbs). For my fly anglers, a well placed slider, spoon fly, or my hand tied crab puff have gotten great reaction strikes. (Call me before scheduling your charter and I will give you a better rundown of other patterns, fly sizes, and color choices if you want to bring some with you) All of the recent warm weather really got the GIANT redfish up and moving, there are at least 7 or 8 schools now showing up in various areas in Mosquito Lagoon or the North Indian River Lagoon in the 10-30lb range. We caught a few on light tackle from 15-20lbs and a couple more on fly around 10-15lbs.
Snook are schooled up and the fishing has still been pretty great. It's a great option to close out (or even start) those full day charters after redfish and trout. Depending on the tide, where we fish, (and when we fish them) 5, 10, 15, or 20 snook has been the standard . All of the the fish we've landed are ranging from 1-10lbs. Snook season is now closed until February, but that doesn't mean we can't fish for them...we just can't keep them. Most of our caught snook lately have come on plugs and plastic. A couple of my favorite winter snook holes are now loading up on big 8-15lb snook as the ride out the winter. There are snook in a few places in Mosquito Lagoon, and lots more around New Smyrna Beach, Ponce Inlet, and Port Orange. A well-timed night fishing trip around tides/moon will yield jaw dropping results.
It's been epic Spotted Sea Trout sight fishing in Mosquito Lagoon, this is the time of the year to sight cast the biggest fish you will ever see. I've guaranteed everyone who booked with me a shot at, at least a 10lb+ trout and everyone got their wish. Now catching one in 6-12 inches of water on artificial or fly is a different story...they are certifiably the spookiest fish you could ever target in shallow water. Nevertheless, I stuck one 10lb'r two weeks ago on plastic and on my last day off got another one in the 8-10lb range. A few clients caught several in the 4-6lb range and we lost another that was in the 6-8lb range. We've been finding schools of gator trout laid up in the grass and sand spots. Two weeks ago I hosted two great photographers and came away with some amazing shots of tailing 6-10lb trout (up so close you could count the spots on their tail and dorsal fins).
After spotting a lone 10lb fish rolling in a creek, I had to go play with some Tarpon. We jumped 7 tarpon in December (all of them around +/- 5-10lbs). I caught one on fly and one of my clients caught 3 to complete his tarpon, snook, redfish grand slam on the worst weather day of December (go figure). I found a few recently in the 10-20lb range, but their younger brothers/sisters are much more active and willing. Bluefish are everywhere around New Smyrna and the Ponce Inlet backcountry, some nice fish in the 4-7lb range in a few areas I like to fish. I love bluefish, but when they move into my spots and start biting, the snook shut it down for a few hours. The remainder of this month and next will usher in the best blues of the year...some upwards of 15lbs. I'll catch them any day.
There is a annual slideshow on my website highlighting some of 2008's best catches! www.floridasightfishing.com/report.htm
December was almost fully booked and January dates have been filling quickly. The best sight fishing of the year is now through spring, so don't miss out on it. I look forward to fishing with you soon…386-212-4931.
Redfish, Snook, Spotted Sea Trout, Tarpon
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