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
Now is the time to target schools of fish in all three lagoons, Mosquito, Indian, and Banana. With lower water levels, the fish will leave the shallow backwaters and all be concentrated around flats with deeper water nearby. Redfish, Black Drum, and even schools of Sea Trout can be found on healthy grass flats that hold bait fish and crustaceans.
With Spring around the corner, Redfish and Trout will be concentrated on bait fish so it’ll soon be time to break out the surface flies and topwater lures to see some explosive action.
John Kelly from Palm Beach, FL. comes up frequently to take advantage of Mosquito Lagoons excellent sight fishing opportunities. He proudly holds up a nice Redfish that he caught out of a pod of tailers using his 7wt fly rod.
Brett Reed from Chicago came down to target Redfish on fly but the winds were blowing pretty good that day so we decided to change plans and hit the backcountry creeks for Snook and Tarpon. Even though the tarpon were rolling all around us, Brett only managed a few to eat but none came to the boat…that’s tarpon fishing for ya. He did get a few small snook on fly.
Kershel Barfield from Stuart, FL. came up to fish the Mosquito Lagoon for his first time. We got into some large schools of Redfish this day which Kershel has never seen so many grouped up like that before. Well placed D.O.A. Shadtails did the trick on these fish.
BJ and Scott joined me on the Mosquito Lagoon for their annual fishing outing. Wind was cranking a bit but that didn’t keep them from catching fish. Golden Bream D.O.A. Shadtail was the hot lure this day.
A great day for Kevney Dugan from Bend, Oregon. He got his first Redfish on fly this day and witnessed Mosquito lagoon at it’s finest. The water was slick calm and we saw schools of Redfish pushing and tailing from a mile away. Kevney’s good casting ability landed him some nice fish.
I recently had a free day to get out and do some fishing for myself. I called up fellow Mosquito Lagoon guide Capt. Billy Rotne to do some exploring for bigger fish. We did some running around and found some good schools of fish ranging from 12-30lbs. Although I love watching other people catch fish while I’m on the poling platform, sometimes I gotta feel the tug for myself.
Capt. Willy Le
I hear a strong winter storm approaches our buddies in the NE this weekend and I reflect on how fortunate we are here in South Florida this time of year.
The classic sight fishing scenario in my home waters on the clearer side of the Everglades has been nothing short of epic this year. From fat redfish floating on the surface like a laid up poon to hoards of sheepshead tailing like a school of small permit (just as skittish and at times even tougher to catch on fly). Of coarse, all this fishing helps pass the time between poon season but is lots of fun nonetheless. It makes for a great opportunity to sharpen your skills using clear fly lines, turning over longer leaders, sneaking heavier flies into zones with skittish fish, and of coarse helping to calm your nerves before the day you are confronted with a more difficult or rewarding challenge.
So to my buddies in the NE, I leave you all with some fish porn and wish you all safe passage through this nasty winter storm. Stay tuned… there is far more to come shortly.
Scott Deal and Charlie Johnson of Maverick Boat Company recently approached me to run the newest addition to the Maverick family up in Mosquito Lagoon. The 2013 Maverick HPX-Micro was designed specifically for the Mosquito Lagoon, Florida Everglades and similar areas where you have to get skinny to find fish.
Weighing in at (approx. w/ engine) 850lbs with the Yamaha F40, this 17ft skiff drafts around 4.75 inches of water. Poling this skiff is a dream, its quiet, light, spins on a dime, tracks very well, and is super stable. I was very impressed once I got on the poling platform for the first time. I couldn’t believe how skinny I was getting in the Micro where my Maverick HPX-Tunnel would be dragging bottom. Both skiffs have their purposes and both are great for the Lagoon but the Micro does pole shallower than my T, while the T will run and jump up shallower than the Micro . I do not recommend the HPX-Micro or the HPX-T if you have to cross big waters to get to the flats, that is what the HPX-V is for. For comparison on the three boats check www.maverickboats.com for detailed specs.
The ride on the Micro also impressed me. It has a fairly soft ride in chop and is very dry. The trim tabs are pretty sensitive since the boat is so light so it takes a bit getting used to, but once you get it down and find the sweet spot, it will handle great. With the F40 and a 3 blade prop I got this boat running top speed of 31mph with 2 people, fishing gear, in calm conditions. I’m sure we can get a little more out of it if propped right and with the help of a prop specialist.
There is plenty of dry storage on the Micro with a huge compartment under the seat for tackle bags, camera gear and other stuff. The front compartment is good for Life vests, safety equipment, and room for extra bags and gear. The rod storage under the gunnels are roomy and are easy to get fly and spin rods in and out of. There is one small crustacean well on the port aft side of the boat, which is great for a couple dozen shrimp or crabs.
Overall the Maverick HPX-Micro is a perfect skiff for shallow water fishing. It passed my test in the Mosquito Lagoon and did everything I would imagine it to do but better. For what I do in the Lagoon, I think the Micro fits me best since I’m on the poling platform most of the day. I would definitely recommend this skiff for anyone who likes to spend all day on the poling platform and fish in super shallow water whether it be fly or light tackle using artificials.
-Capt. Willy Le
Took the new 2013 Maverick HPX-Micro out for some photos and a test run in the Mosquito Lagoon. I am running the boat for a couple months for Maverick to see how it performs in the Lagoon and to shoot some photos. Here are some photos that my buddy Dominic shot and a short clip of a tailing Redfish that he caught on fly. The video was shot with my iPhone 4S.
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!
Here is a cool little video that a client from NY made from a Mosquito Lagoon trip he booked with me back in April of 2011. Little did either of us know that the photos that I took that day would get him on the cover of the 2012 Florida Saltwater Recreational Fishing Regulations Magazine! Sergio Diaz is also a great fly angler and has been down a couple more times since that day to land his first Redfish on fly with me. Enjoy!
I made a decision earlier this year to take time off from guiding starting this Fall. I set forth to rediscover the feeling of being the dude on the bow of the skiff facing a great technical fishery right at my doorstep. Of coarse, this can only be possible with an alternative source of income as I am no trustafarian. This past summer was all all about calm windless days, waving flags, and lots of copper. The days spent on the water this Fall amongst friends was set in the Everglades and upper end of the Florida Keys, primarily focusing on silver-clad gamefish.
The shameless plug this time goes to Maverick Boat Company. My first ride in a new Mirage 18 HPX-V was back in 2009 and from there-on, I knew this was to be my next skiff. I sold my 17 Mirage HPX-V shortly after that demo ride and have been fishing in my 18 HPX-V for the last couple of years. For my style of fishing, the 18 Mirage was just the work horse technical fishing platform I needed. A Mercury 115 Optimax ProXs found it’s way on my transom this past year, replacing the 90 horsepower Yamaha I had originally hung on the skiff. This set-up is perfect, achieving fuel efficient 40mph cruise speeds and top speeds in the low to mid 50s. The extra 6lbs on the transom was negligible taking into account the extra speed gained from the motor swap. Recent fishing trips and tournament days have really pushed the limits of this great skiff… traveling over 100 miles a day, covering lots of water, getting there at just the right tide, and remaining stealthy once arriving at the stalking grounds. Kudos to Maverick as all performance expectations were exceeded. It is almost time for a new skiff soon and I may actually have an itch for something a little bit different. Though the idea a new skiff is tempting, it is difficult to not to fish another season out of my 18 Mirage. I guess time will tell…
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
Just an assortment of photos from last week’s flood tides that I thought were worth posting. For some reason unknown to me, the fish tailed better on this set of tides than they have all season. I tried a new bait by Berkley Powerbait that was pretty effective in the grass – its the 5″ jerk shad in mullet color. It looks exactly like a small finger mullet.