The reason why I focus most of my trips in the Mosquito Lagoon is because the fishing is never the same. There are so many little nooks, crannies, and creeks to discover that every trip for me is a new adventure. Nothing gets my heart pumping more than tailing Redfish on a quiet, calm morning with no other boats in sight.
Me and fellow Mosquito Lagoon guide Capt. Billy Rotne ran around looking for some tailing fish to photograph, which we found plenty that cooperated very well for us. It was so peaceful just to watch these fish tail for minutes that all we wanted to do was watch instead of catch. That’s what we did the first part of the morning, then we ventured off to different areas to catch a few with the fly rods.
In these areas, we had to change up flies to match what the fish were keyed on eating for better success. For the tailing fish, a copper slider with a rattle inserted in it did the trick really well. The rattle helped call out the fish which had their heads buried thick in the grass searching for a meal. Once the fish detected where the rattling was coming from, they would then see the copper flash of the fly and move in for the kill.
We then found some fish that were cruising the sandy shorelines busting on mud minnows and small finger mullet. A tan pattern that resembled a mud minnow got better reactions than the copper slider that we were using for tailers.
In another area where we found Redfish cruising on top of dead grass, we noticed small shrimp skipping all over the surface. I had the perfect shrimp pattern that a good buddy Capt. Honson Lau tied which worked great on these picky fish. It’s good to have a nice variety of flies in your box just for these occasions.
Last week I had journalist Jan Maizler on my boat to do a write up on me and my guiding career. Jan who is from Miami, FL. travels the world to write for multiple fishing magazines and online publications. We had a short day on the water due to some rain storms but we did manage a few fish using D.O.A. Shadtails.
Branden Roberts from a new lure company out of Texas called Logic Lures joined me on his first trip to Mosquito Lagoon the other day. He brought a camera man along with him to film for a video project that they are working on. Branden proved that his lures work well catching multiple fish that clobbered his 4″ PlastiX. visit www.logiclures.com if you would like more info on lures and innovative hook systems.
Fishing is definitely getting better in the Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River, and Banana River. Fish are starting to school up and attacking topwater lures. Fly fishing is really good in the Mosquito Lagoon and will be getting better as the cooler temperatures approach. Fly fishing in the fall is great but winter can get even better with crystal clear water and blue birds skies.
Also, the Black Drum start to show up in big schools around late Fall early Winter. They are a blast to target with the fly rod and can put your patients to the test.
Gotta love the year round fishing down here in Florida!
-Capt. Willy Le
Wow is it hot out there…the fishing that is. After Tropical Storm Debbie back in June, the water clarity in the lagoon systems have gotten really dirty and really high, which made sight fishing tough for most anglers. The spots that usually hold fish in the Mosquito Lagoon was a ghost town for weeks, which pushed me to run my trips way down south around Sebastian Inlet just to find the cleaner water.
Recently I went back to the Lagoon to check up on what was going on in there. The water dropped a couple feet, but still dirty. Once I arrived to the first spot, I had noticed more bait activity in the area, like how it should be on a normal day. As I poled the skiff along the shallow grass flat that was less than a foot of water, I witnessed Redfish rooting and tailing all over the place like they haven’t eaten for days. The grass was really thick, the fish were so buried in it that we could literally get close enough to touch the fishes tail with the tip of your rod. Most of the fish caught were within 20 feet from the boat.
The key was to use a weedless and HEAVY fly or artificial lure. For my spin anglers, I would tie on a new weedless weighted hook system for soft plastics called the “Jig Rig” made by Owner hooks with a D.O.A. Curt Tail rigged on it which worked really well to get down to where the fish’s face was and that curl tail has great flowing movement even when sitting still. For flies, heavy lead eyes tied on a flashy crabby pattern worked perfect. Here are some photos of recent trips in the past few weeks and a short video of a tailing Redfish being caught next to the boat.
Tomo Shiraishi from Boston, Mass was down for the ICAST(Worlds largest Sport Fishing Show) at the Orlando Convention Center. That was the time when the Mosquito Lagoon was really slow so we went to the Indian River where Tomo caught some nice Trout and had lots of shots at Redfish but only landing this one, which happened to be his first Redfish ever.
Dennis and Kaz were also here for ICAST from California and Japan. They work for Owner Hook Company and were the ones who introduced me to the “Jig Rig” made by Owner Hooks. At first I thought I’d never use such a rig, but you will see in the video at the end of this report that this rig was the ticket to catching some tough Mosquito Lagoon Redfish. Here is Dennis and Kaz with a couple small Banana River Redfish that we had to work hard for.
Mark and his girlfriend Rey were surfing the web for fishing guides in the Mosquito Lagoon area, came across my site and decided to give me a call. After a quick run down over the phone of their chances to catch some Tarpon, Trout, and Redfish on fly, they hopped in there car and drove down from Georgia to fish with me for the weekend. Day 1 we searched for Tarpon, Trout and Snook in the Indian River by Sebastian Inlet. Mark had multiple shots at small Tarpon ranging from 15-30lbs, getting a couple to eat but only landing 1, which is great on fly.
We then went to fish for Snook and Trout which we he had tons of shots on both species on the clear sandy flats. The fish were being spooky but we got one nice Trout to cooperate which happened to be Marks biggest Sea Trout on fly.
Day 2, we head to Mosquito Lagoon for some tailing Redfish action. The Redfish were all happily tailing for us all morning and were ready to take a fly. Rey even had a chance to take a few shots and fight a few of her own.
Capt. Shawn Neurath from the West Coast of Florida has never fish on the East Coast and always wanted to experience the Mosquito Lagoon. Again, Redfish were happily tailing, and this time we put the Owner “Jig Rigs” to the test rigged with the D.O.A. Curl Tails. As you can see, it worked well. If you plan on fishing the Tampa Bay area, check out Capt. Shawn at: www.missionfishincharters.com.
Here is a clip of Capt. Shawn catching a tailing Redfish about 10 feet from the boat.
Remember to stay hydrated out on the water, it’s been scorching out there!
-Capt. Willy Le
These past couple weeks have been pretty busy for me out on the goon. Poling the skiff for 6 days straight can really put a hurting on someone but I wouldn’t trade it for the world! The fishing in the Lagoon has been really good. Reds on the shoreline, Reds tailing, Reds schooled up, and Reds just cruising around by themselves waiting for an easy meal to plop right in front of them. Big Sea Trout are also plentiful in the Lagoon. I haven’t seen a Sea Trout bite this good in years! Multiple fish up to 30″ is not uncommon. D.O.A. CAL 4″ Jerkbaits has been getting the job done, while baitfish pattern flies has been working well on the long rods. Here are a few highlights of my previous trips from Mosquito Lagoon.
Glen from Pittsburgh joined me on his first trip to the Mosquito Lagoon, he used his Smallmouth Bass and Walleye fishing skills to catch him some nice Redfish and Trout. He was amazed of how hard a Redfish can pull!
RCI Optics has launched a new Ad of me promoting my signature series of the “MONSTER HOLE” model. Should be available later this Summer! I can’t tell you how much I love these sun glasses, the lens has been holding up great and seems to impress me every time I’m on the water with them….no joke.
-Capt. Willy Le
This past weekend I made the 3 hour drive down to Miami to fish with good buddies Capt. Honson Lau and Capt. Jeremy Alderman to do some Tarpon fishing in their home waters. We launched Honson’s 18ft Maverick Mirage HPX at Jeremy’s house in Key Largo and made the long run all the way to Islamorada. The 115 Mercury Pro XS made the run a piece of cake, and man, that motor scoots!
Fishing the Tarpon migration is not easy. You gotta know where to sit, what direction to point, what tides are doing, what fish to feed, what flies to throw, how to strip the fly, where to put the fly and so on, and these guys know it all, and exactly what to do.
Sure I wanted to catch a Tarpon on fly while I was down there, but what I really wanted were some good action shots of Tarpon jumps. I was on bow a couple times and had some good shots at some laid up and cruising fish, had a few follows but no takers. I had Honson take my place on the bow while I was behind the lens and Jeremy on the push pole. Sure enough after a few shots, Honson jumps a nice fish that gave us a spectacular air show! The cool thing about this fish was that the first cast at this fish, it tracked the fly all the way to the boat but didn’t eat because the fly was fouled, Honson quickly picked it up, fixed the fly, slapped it back in front of the fish and next thing you know, there’s explosions in the water. Of course like what most Tarpon would do, this one gave us a good short show then shook the fly out of its jaw. You can see the fly ejected from the fishes mouth on some of the photos.
Next up on the bow was Jeremy with Honson on the push pole and me behind the lens again. After sitting at a spot waiting for fish to show up only seeing a few here and there, we decided to leave since it was a little slow. As soon as we were about to power up. a pod of 50-60 Tarpon come heading our way and Jeremy quickly grabs his rod, strips out some line and fires out a shot into the pod and hooks up! The fish never knew it was hooked and stuck with the school just daisy chaining around the boat and then shortly after, th hook pulls without a jump. Frustrating, but that’s the name of the game. After that, we called it a successful day and made the long run back to Key Largo.
The next day, my friend Ramiro invited Honson and I to hop in his Maverick Mirage HPX-T and fish the Everglades National Park. The conditions were horrible with 20-30kt winds and some storms brewing so it was going to be a short trip. We launched at Flamingo and made a good run to some spots that were holding a bunch of Redfish. It was too windy for fly rods so we all threw some D.O.A. Cals on spinning outfits. The fishery down there is amazing, beautiful water, healthy grass and lots of fish. We caught Redfish, Snook, and Sea Trout until we got chased out by storms. Great day on the water with great company, that’s what it’s all about!
I’ll be back down very soon for more action and hopefully better conditions. Stay tuned for part 2….
-Capt. Willy Le
Spring means Cobia fishing on the East Coast of Florida. During this time of year, the Cobia make their way north for their annual migration. They will be either cruising in pods, singles, under turtles, shadowing bait pods, or shadowing Manta Rays. Most fish can be spotted free swimming on the surface and will look very similar to a shark. When you see Spring Breakers flocking the beaches of Cocoa Beach leaving their trash everywhere….. then you know the Cobia are here as well, lurking just off the beaches!
I had a chance to sneak out last week to see if the Cobia run had started yet. It wasn’t in full swing, but plenty of fish were out there to be caught. Bright colored jigs work great, but I have best luck on D.O.A. Swimmin’ Mullet! Fly fishing for these brown clowns are a blast, and are pretty easy to catch. They will give you plenty of shots with the 12wt, just be prepared to strip the big baitfish pattern as fast as you can and hang on when it eats!
Woody, Marshall, and Chris joined me last week to search for these fish and try to catch a few for the grill. We didn’t see many, but we had our chance to catch our daily limit hooking 4 fish but only landing 2. Cobia are good at shaking hooks out of their mouths with their powerful head shakes. Here’s Woody with his first ever Cobia!
Here is a short clip of my buddy Lam landing a Cobia with the help of Romeo the puggle.
Give me a call if you would like to get in on some of the action whether it be inshore for tailing Redfish or Nearshore for the hard fighting Cobia. Large Tarpon should be showing up soon off the beaches as well for those of you who would like to tango with the Silver Kings!
-Capt. Willy Le
RCI Optics is a new sunglass company that was founded and designed by a group of friends from Brevard County that have a passion for surfing and fishing. Having been in the sunglass business for a very long time, these guys have put in years of research to create a company that represents the East Coast surfing and fishing community, hence the name RCI which stands for “Right Coast Independent”.
The names of each frame(which is 100% Made in Italy by the way) will be named after surf spots and fishing spots that are most popular by locals. The 2 frames that are available now are the “Monster Hole” with a copper lens/gold mirror and the “2nd Light” with a grey lens/blue mirror. “Monster Hole” is a surf break outside of Sebastian Inlet that only breaks on bigger days and is known for it’s big resident sharks lurking around the line up and “2nd Light” is a popular surf spot in Cocoa Beach that produced world champs such as Cocoa Beach’s own, 11x World Champ Kelly Slater and a bunch of other local rippers. A 3rd frame which will be named the “Mosquito lagoon” is in the works and should be available by Summer of 2012.
The lens on these are like no other. I’ve owned a lot of different polarized sunglasses and these are by far the most technical lens that I’ve ever used. I tested the copper lens with gold mirror for inshore fishing the other day, it was the first time that RCI Optics have been field tested by someone that has to rely on polarized sunglasses for their success and I have nothing but great things to say about them.
Not a lot of sunglasses fit my face, I need a more wider, flatter frame and the “Monster Hole” fit as if it was a mold from off of my face. I wore them on the water for 8 hours straight and had no discomfort what so ever. The frames and lens are lightweight and was suctioned to my face all day. The copper lens lightened up the flats which made spotting fish a heck of a lot easier like an amber lens would do.
The most amazing thing to me about the lens is that they have a special coating that is permanently bonded which repels water, oils, dust, etc. When I tested the lens while out on a charter, the crosswinds were a good 20-25mph which sprayed us pretty good from head to toe with salt water while crossing the larger waters in my boat, normally I would have to wipe the lens after a ride like that in order to see, but with these lenses on RCI Optics, I did not have to do that. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to, it was because I didn’t need to. I realized by the end of the day that I haven’t cleaned the lens all day, which if I had my previous sunglasses on, I’d have to wipe them off every time they got sprayed by water.
Here is what one of the designers from RCI had to say about the lens: “The Monster Hole is ANSI Z87.1 certified but by no means is it a safety glass. It is one of the most advance lens system out there. The Xiphos 4.0 lens treatments is a permanent application that is Anti-static (dust & stuff) don’t stick, anti-scratch, anti-water and anti oil or contaminants. It should hold up forever, but that needs to be real world tested.”
Right now, the only shop carrying RCI Optics is Shady Characters Sunglass Emporium in Cocoa Beach, FL. and in Indialantic, FL. The website for the shops is www.opticflare.com and the RCI Optics website should be launched by March 2012. These 2 models that are out now retail for $240
Give the guys at the shops a call for more info on RCI Optics. I am proud to be part of the RCI Optics Team, with the technology in their lens and good sense of style, big things are coming for the future of this company.
-Capt. Willy Le
Native Fly Charters
I’ve always preached the importance of “shooting more” and showing more people. And what better way than to start with things that you are passionate about. For me…family and doing things outside. Simple. They are my best teachers, muses, subjects and reasons for capturing good moments. When you can let go of the restraints of “what you have to shoot” and get in touch with “what you like to shoot,” you will undoubtedly find who you are an an artist.
I had the privilege of going out to Mosquito Lagoon with Willy Le of Native Fly Charters. Willy and I became fast friends after we worked together down in the Keys during an Everglades Boats shoot. We share a passion for fly-fishing and followed through with a trip to the coast to chase some redfish around. Willy is an incredible fisherman, photographer and guide. He knows those waters well and can spot a redfish from damn near a country mile away.
I shot some photos of our adventure.
A huge thank you to Willy for hosting me and pushing that boat around all day. It was a humbling, yet more importantly, awesome experience.
Everywhere that I’ve lived in my life, I was at least 30 minutes away from the St. Johns River and I keep hearing about the Shad run that takes part every Winter and Spring but I’ve never went out and tried catching them until recently. My buddy Dominic Agostini invited me to join him on his new and improved Micro Skiff that he’s been working on for a while now. You may have seen it in one of my previous posts called Micro Skiff = Micro Poon. Well, since then he has added a poling platform by BT’s Welding and pushpole holders from Renzetti.
If you ask me one thing about Shad, I will probably scratch my head and say “huh?” This experience was all new to me, so I just sat quietly and took notes while Dominic explained everything there is to know about the American Shad. I never knew that these were saltwater fish that migrate down to freshwater areas of the river to spawn.
Once we launched the skiff and headed north through the windy creeks, It came back to me how pristine this part of Florida was. The scenery and all of the wildlife put me in a whole new world as if I was going on an African Safari Tour. What a great time to break out the Nikon DSLR and the long lens for a photography session while we were on the way to the fishing spot.
Once we came off plane, we immediately saw some flipping on the waters surface. It was Shad feeding on small minnows that were flowing in the current. It didn’t take long until Dominic hooked into the first fish of the day on his 3wt.
I think I might started taking advantage of living close to the St. Johns River and make more trips out there to enjoy the great fishery and amazing scenery.
-Capt. Willy Le
Me, my brother and friends ventured out of Port Canaveral in the 22′ Pathfinder TE this past weekend. Conditions were sloppy but that didn’t stop the fish 80ft below from biting. We used nothing but D.O.A. Swimmin’ Mullet to jig the bottom and caught multiple species including Flounder, Red Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Sea Bass, Trigger fish, Grouper, Cobia, and Toad fish this day.
-Capt. Willy Le