January 2011 - Ponce Inlet, Indian River, Mosquito Lagoon
Capt. Nathaniel Lemmon
January 4, 2011
New Smyrna Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report
Happy New Year to everyone and welcome to a new decade! I'm eagerly looking forward to 2011 and continuing great fishing success in guiding, tournaments, and personal time on the water. While others have closed up business in a down economy, I've been blessed to thrive and maintain a busy charter schedule. In 2010, I spent just over 240 days on the water and I did over 140 charters with clients from across the United States and several foreign countries. In 2010 I won 2 redfish tournaments, had a couple top 5 finishes, and guided my son to a redfish tournament win. Besides catching thousands of redfish, we had an oustanding tarpon season, and caught over a hundred gator trout in a year coming off a major winter freeze that killed many fish. If I could take one thing back in 2010, it would be releasing a new junior world record jack crevalle my son caught because we were unaware of the accomplishment...dohh! So as we roll into the new decade, I can tell you that the fishing at the start of the year is about as good as good can possibly get. Another extreme series of cold fronts have chilled the water considerably and schooled up the redfish, trout, and black drum by the hundreds if not close to 1000. It's the best time of the year to catch 20-30-40-50+ fish per day during the next two months. Throw in the fact that the water is crystal clear, it's without a doubt the best time of the year for sight casting.
The Redfish bite has been fantastic from New Smyna Beach south through the Mosquito Lagoon. A series of hard cold fronts have dropped water temperatures to an average of 50 degrees during much of the past few weeks. During that time we have found schools of redfish in the main portion of Mosquito Lagoon numbering anywhere from 300-500 fish. In the tidal creeks around Ponce Inlet, New Smyrna Beach, and Edgewater we have found creeks and holes holding hundreds upon hundres of redfish. The bite has been incredible...we literally could catch 100 or more everyday if we wanted. Many days we've caught 20-40 and left to go spend time catching trout or bigger redfish. My light tackle anglers are connecting on DOA shrimp, Gulp shrimp, Mirrolure mirrodines and mirrominnows. If we want to use bait we've used live shrimp or small live finger mullet. Fly anglers have had the best success throwing small shrimp, slider, and seaducer patterns.
Speckled Trout fishing has also been nothing short of superb. During the last week of December I found a few areas that had anywhere from 500-1000 trout schooled up and many others holding a hundred scattered trout. Most of these fish were 10-20 inches with some bigger fish in the 20-30 inch range mixed in. Since the water has warmed slightly we are again finding giant gator trout from 8-12lbs laid up in shallow sand spots, perfect for sight casting. Mirrolures like the 7m, 17MR, and 19MR have been our best producers for catching speckled trout followed by a DOA or Gulp shrimp. Live bait anglers have had good luck with live shrimp or a small finger mulletFly anglers will find success with a seaducer or bendback pattern.
The cold weather and water temps have also brought out hundreds of Black Drum in the North Indian River Lagoon and a few areas in the Mosquito Lagoon and the ICW. Most of these fish will range from 3-15lbs and give a great tug of war on light tackle and/or fly. Live shrimp and cut crabs will get you on a good black drum bite and they can provide a neat change of pace sight fishing action. Bluefish are piled up by the hundreds around Ponce Inlet and fishing for blues will get better over the next couple months with bigger fish arriving in early February. They are like a saltwater pirahna...agressively eating lures, flies and live bait. Diving plugs, crankbaits, and jigs will score on blues you come across in the ICW. Finally there are lots of Flounder in the tidal creeks around Ponce Inlet and New Smyrna Beach. With the clear water we are seeing many of them laying on the sand flats. Stick a gig in them or a live mud minnow or mullet on a jighead if you want to cast a line.
January looks to be a busy month with over half the month already booked. February and March are always the two busiest months of the year so book ASAP if you have a desire to fish anytime soon. As always short notice trips are accepted if I have the date open. Call or email to reserve a date. I look forward to fishing with you soon…386-212-4931.
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