If you can find a day that’s not windy or storming to get out and fish the Indian River or Mosquito Lagoon, then the fishing should be pretty good. Schools of redfish are still around and with the water temps warming up a bit, more singles should scatter the flats which I prefer to fish rather than large schools.
Lots of big sea trout are still lurking the sandy areas and have been taking well presented artificials and flies really well. I’ve been impressed with the numbers of big sea trout that I’ve seen this year.
Don Thomas – a well respected author, outdoor journalist, and photographer from Montana is a doing a piece on the Mosquito Lagoon for a couple fly fishing magazines. Here he displays a smaller fish that beat about 5 bigger fish to the fly, it was crazy watching them fight over it. His wife Lori took some great shots this day. To learn more about Don visit his site: www.donthomasbooks.com
…and something a little creative using Alissa’s eyes as the main subject.
-Capt. Willy Le
Happy New Year everyone! I guess the world did not end in December 2012, which means we are stuck on this beautiful Earth to enjoy more memorable days of fishing….DARN!
Fishing in the Mosquito Lagoon/Indian River has been hit or miss. The crazy weather pattern that we’ve been experiencing with 80 degree temps one day and a high of 45 degrees the next, then back to 80 and so on. If this pattern didn’t get Floridians out of whack, it sure did get the fish acting all crazy.
My week of being on the water consisted of a ton of fish schooled up and happy one day, then gone the next. If temperatures decide to stay consistent for at least a week, then the fish should be more predictable and make the lives of guides and anglers a lot easier. But what’s the fun in that?
Well, when the fishing is good, you can find Redfish schooled up in big numbers on the flats, some trophy sized “Gator” Trout laid up in shallow sandy areas, and some small pods of Black Drum roaming around.
Mark Wolaver who is a great caster and knows how to feed fish on the fly rod joined me for a great day of redfishing in the Mosquito Lagoon. This was one of the better days to be on the water with blue bird skies, light winds, and happy fish.
Buck and Jim were the lucky ones to have their trip fall on the coldest day of the year. The thermometer in my truck when I arrived at the Mosquito Lagoon ramp read “ICE”, which was the next level below 37 degrees. This was one of the slower days where fish were scattered and far in between, but they managed to catch a few redfish on D.O.A. Shadtails.
Paul Casserly from Boston, Mass came down for some Mosquito Lagoon action. Plan was to catch his first redfish on spin tackle to break the ice, then switch to the fly rod the rest of the day to try his luck. Well, conditions were still cold and fish were still scattered from the previous cold front. Paul did get his first redfish on the spinning rod but had a few shots with the fly rod afterwards with no luck. Paul will be back for revenge one day.
Tim Creasy came down from Kentucky during the holidays and has planned to fish the Mosquito Lagoon with me for a couple years now. The weather on this day was not so good. 25-30mph winds with a 70% chance of rain and storms. Instead of canceling the trip and Tim being bummed out that he didn’t get to fish while he was vacationing in Orlando, I opted to take him into some small wind protected creeks in the Indian River Lagoon to try our luck on Snook and Tarpon.
Tim ended up catching a couple Snook, jumping a few small Tarpon, a couple jack crevalle, and ladyfish all on fly. We turned what would have been a cancellation into a fun day of catching mini species…..he now can scratch Snook off of his list of fish to catch(almost scratched Tarpon off the list but you know how it goes.)
On New Years day I had a last minute cancellation. I decided to head out solo on a scouting mission for a trip the following day. I forgot how nice it was to get out on the water alone, everything seemed to happen in slow motion and I was enjoying every second of it. I had no worries, no pressure, no rush, just enjoying doing what I love. I found fish, caught a few, but most of the time I was just memorized by all the wildlife and everything happening around me while poling the skiff peacefully down the shoreline.
John Kelly is an avid fly fisherman from Connecticut(now lives in South Florida) that fished a lot of places around the world. He’s caught Stripers, big Bluefin Tuna, Roosterfish, bonefish, Tarpon, Snook, and even Marlin on fly but has never caught a Redfish….until now. John learned that you have to be more patient with tailing Redfish than any other fish. When they tail, you have more time to think than if you were casting at a cruising fish. I had John wait until we got at least 40-45ft from the fish before making a cast, then I had him watch the fish for a minute to see what direction it was facing, once he knew where he wanted to place the fly, take a deep breath, relax, and make the cast. When the fly landed at the perfect spot, a couple twitches of the fly and BAM, John was hooked up to his first Redfish ever! After the first fish, John was catching tailing Redfish left and right.
John also had shots at some monster laid up “Gator” Trout, but feeding these fish are extremely tough, they are as spooky, if not spookier than Islamorada Bonefish. Getting them to eat is a challenge, which makes them even more rewarding to catch on fly…if the stars align.
I wish everyone a Happy New Year and great fishing for 2013!
-Capt. Willy Le
My daughter Jasmine Ann Le aka “Jazzy” was born Dec. 6th 2012 in Cocoa Beach, FL. She is amazing! I am looking forward to my journey in fatherhood and teaching Jazzy everything I know about the Ecosystem, the Ocean, Respect, Compassion, Simple living, being Positive, and maybe even poling a skiff so old dad can get some bow time
Ok, enough with the Awwwwws, let’s talk fishing.
The Fishing in the Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River has been really good these past few weeks probably because of the picture perfect weather that we’ve been having here on the East Coast of Florida. Redfish are happily grouped up, aggressive, and ready to eat a well placed fly or lure. Water level is high so you won’t be seeing much tailing action in most areas, but with the gin clear water we have and a good pair of polarized glasses, you can easily spot fish to make a casts to.
Medium to large Sea Trout can be found in the sand holes laid up waiting for something to eat. These fish are extra alert, so keep your distance if you see one and make the farthest possible cast to your target. The hard part is getting your fly or lure in the water without spooking them, if you can get past that point, you have a good chance of catching that fish.
Jorge and his wife Lauren were visiting from Miami and decided to spend a day fishing in the Mosquito Lagoon. This was Laurens first sight fishing experience and Jorge was pretty happy to have her witness the fish charging and smashing the D.O.A. CAL Shadtails.
A couple good buddies and fellow guides from Miami came up to fish the Mosquito Lagoon for a change. Capt. Honson Lau and Capt. Jeremy Alderman both run Purple Isle Fly Fishing down in the Florida Keys and Everglades National Park. We had a windy day with tough light, but these guys know what they are doing and caught plenty of fish including Honson’s biggest Trout on fly to date. We estimated it to be around 32″ and 9 or 10lbs.
Most of you have some time off to get out on the water to do some fishing over the Holidays. If so, good luck, be safe, and if you plan on fishing the Mosquito Lagoon, please grab a brochure that are at the ramps and see where you can or can’t run your motor. There is a Pole and Troll only zone that will be marked in the brochures, be careful not to run in those zones. There are shallow sand bars, underwater debris, and most importantly, fellow fisherman that are trying to sneak up on fish in those zones, so please have courtesy to others and obey rules. Here is a link to map of the Pole/Troll areas: http://www.fws.gov/merrittisland/Images/Mosquito_Lagoon_Map.jpg
Happy Holidays everyone!
Short video clip of one of the eats today on fly.
Triple Tail fishing in the west coast has been really good the past few weeks. I’ve been so darn busy I have not had a chance to get out and try it just yet. Today was the day though. With bright sunny skies and fairly low winds it was a good set up not to give it a go.
Met my buddy Mark about 10am and started to drive around the crab traps looking for triple tail floating in the current. It did not take long to find a few. I think we fished for about 4 hours saw about 20 or so triple tail. We manage to catch 9 of them through out the day.
Mark got 6 on live shrimp and I got 2 on fly and one on the unfair lure shrimp. Our Ratio might have been better if all we did was throw shrimp. Since 90% of them were undersize we figure we would be sporty and go the fly and artificial route at first.
Here is the eat using the Unfair Lure Shrimp and a reel shrimp. The first clip I got the fly stuck in the trap, then cast a lure into it.
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
It was an interesting summer to say the least……Tarpon season, in which we fly fisherman look so forward to each year was one of the hardest seasons I can remember. We were plagued with bad weather, bad luck, dirty water and mechanical skiff issues all season long. The only thing we had going for us was the fact that if we did make it out to the beach, we were stabbing poons on every outing!! This said, makes it even more frustrating, for that we have full confidence that we will put metal to their mouthes but just cannot get out to do so… Being weekend warriors, we missed full months at a time due to negative weather conditions. Yet, there were a handfull of beautiful days that allowed us to put a few bugs in the faces of some giant poon!
And then something happens that totally throws your tarpon season into high gear….A trip to the Everglades National Park (ENP)..Hooking 8 Big Tarpon by 10AM on fly will allow you to quickly forget about the bad days you previously had!!! Long-time, good friend Capt. Jesse Lavender and I were to make a poon day in the glades and that we did. Not the highlight of the day, but a great story…”Jess – there is a big girl laid up, eleven o’clock, 60 ft…” “Ok, got it”… Cast..strip, Lady fish eats fly…tarpon then destroys hooked lady fish on top and off she goes! Fish ended up throwing the hook (Or lady fish, I should say but nonetheless just another aspect to an epic day fly fishing for tarpon in the glades. I hear they are still around in some parts of the glades…Look for a post poon season report in the upcomming weeks….
Tis the season where snook should also be crashing bait around spill-ways and sandbars up and along the Rivers of SWFL….It has been a really, really slow start in that regard. I have had days where we can land North of double-digits in regards to quantity, but I have yet to see a snook over 35″ be landed…and our summer is running out.. This was an everyday occurance last year…Here are a few photos from the iphone of snook season “so far” from the SWFL Rivers. Stay tuned – this will get good.
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
One of the more rewarding aspect of running Saltyshores all these years is hearing from people telling me how SS gets them through the work day. Many tells me they have tried things and started new hobbies like photography or fly fishing. It’s a good feeling to know the SS gang has empowered people to enjoy life and “seize the day..”. Encouraging changes in people for the better is very satisfying.
Kapers is an angler I met a little over a year ago on the water. He had just started fishing and now has caught the bug big time. He had saw me fly fishing and have been following the progress of the Saltyfly tournaments. He recently picked up a fly rod and now has added a new aspect to his angling addiction.
—————–Baby Tarpon by Kapers Murph————————-
I was just having a lazy evening browsing the internet as most of us do. Checking out gear for the up and coming tarpon season. And a click here and click there I ended up at the FWC web site and came across the Tarpon Genetic Recapture Study.The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), in collaboration with Mote Marine Laboratory, encourages anglers throughout the state to genetically sample tarpon, regardless of size, before releasing them. The FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) evaluate the genetic samples over time to estimate recapture rates. The study also may help determine how tarpon travel between Florida’s estuaries and off shore. A tarpon DNA sampling kit is available by e-mailing the FWC at tarpongenetics@MyFWC.com or calling them toll free at 1-800-367-4461.
I said what the hey. If I’m going to attempt to capture tarpon why not assist in the study and research which is vital to the populations we have here in Florida. So i requested a kit. DNA can be obtained from the Tarpon by rubbing a sponge across the lower jaw bone and once the DNA is there simply filling out some short information and submitting your sample. Sounded pretty easy. Much easier than actually landing The Silver King. So I decided against chasing the Silver King but instead to chase the Silver Prince ( aka Baby Tarpon ). What better opportunity than to practice my fly casting while out trying to do my part. Hooking juvenile tarpon and landing them on fly from my understanding was a challenge in itself but it polishes the fundamental skills needed for catching fish on fly.
I received my KIT mid week and was excited to get out on the water and take on this challenge. So the following weekend I loaded up the Dodge and hit the road.
After a very short drive I was at the location where rumors had been told of Juvenile Tarpon all over the place. And a rumor it was no more. As I walked to the waters edge i quickly saw large schools of juvenile Tarpon everywhere. I had with me a borrowed fly rod because I wasn’t truly sure if i would like this fly fishing “thing” so before i made a purchase I wanted to give it a try. As i casted the fly out beyond the school of Tarpon I was nervous and my heart rate was pumping. I brought the fly ( which was initially suppose to be used for red fish ) into the school, I witnessed a fight over who was going to eat my little fake bug and in a matter of seconds I had a fish on. The acrobatics of this fish was simply beautiful. The fish got closer and closer to shore and I started singing to myself Im going to land a Taaaaaarpon in my Wayne Brady voice. And before i could finish the verse off comes the baby poon in mid air.
The fly gently landed on the waters surface as my heart broke in 2 and before I could gather myself and recast there was weight on the end of my line another Tarpon decided he wanted to be the one to participate in the study after a few leaps and bounds he was landed. I quickly took some DNA and sent him on his way.
This was repeated over in over again throughout the 2 hours I spent fishing these little guys. I managed to jump 28 but landed only 13.
Since this outing I have now upgraded my fly gear to a Loop Evotec 7/9 reel married up with a TFO BVK rod. What I feared has now happened. A new addiction.
I will start off by saying this has been wonderful winter for redfishing! We have had a very mild winter with warm and windless mornings!
As every fly-fisherman does, I try and incorporate my everyday lifestyle around my addiction to fly fishing…We try and do anything and everything to surround ourselves with something that puts us on our favorite stream, river, ocean or flat. Even if it is as simple as listening to music that circumvents this lifestyle.
Everyone can admit that there is a song, album or artist that gets us going as the sun is rising and we are heading for water. This is also relevent after a great day on the water as you are returning to the reality of life’s strenuous feats.
I was fortunate enough to meet an upcomming rising artist, Jeremy Rizer, vocals and guitar of the band “Lowlands”, based out of Grand Junction, Colorado. This guy is a class-act in every way. Their sound, progressive country/blue grass with that comforting hint of Rock-n-Roll will put you instantly back on your roots. The hit song “Snow Road”, is worth the listen and you will quickly understand the potential this band has. http://lowlandscolorado.com/
I believe there is a free download on their Facebook page if you “like” the page or view “soundcloud”. http://www.facebook.com/lowlandsband?ref=ts&sk=wall#!/lowlandsband?sk=info
As the past week went – wind was low as was the tide. We had a heavy push of fish concentrated in Charlotte Harbor that were will really willing to play. Steve Tubbs (Who happens to be best friends with lead vocalist Jeremy Rizer of “Lowlands”) and I used the means of Kayaks to pursue the shallow flats and stalk tailing schools of fish that really never stopped traveling through, even at high noon and high tide. There is something to be said about the strength of solitude when fishing out of a Kayak. You become your own team and are able to do as you please and just “fish”…..We had one of those epic days and placed ourselves in the right place at the right time. Its amazing how looking a your log from years ago, will actually hold true for patterning these fish for future years to come. We were able to capitalize with flies and DOA’s.
You would have thought these two fish were the same…..Nope! This is how fast the fish were pushing in on us! If you look closely, you will see that these are different fish…This is how our fishery has strived this year. We are very fortunate to have such a play ground in our back yard.
It is now only a matter of weeks before we can start to see the large silhouettes of a silver fish laid up in their pre-season haunts! Let the season begin. Stay tuned for pre-season tarpon fishing is about to begin!
A short clip of Honson catching a nice Redfish on fly while he was up visiting from Miami.