Mosquito Lagoon fly fishing
I get a lot of people that ask me “what do you like to do when your not guiding?”. Most people think that since I am a full time fishing guide, the last thing I want to do is fish.
For some guides/captains yes, but for me and a handful of others, all we can think about is going fishing on our days off. It’s a great way for us to get in on the action on the pointy end of the boat. It’s also a great way to stay on top of the fish and know how they are acting for upcoming charters.
I made a short video of a day off with fellow Mosquito Lagoon guide Capt. Billy Rotne….enjoy!
– Capt. Willy Le
The Mosquito Lagoon water level has been low the past couple of weeks and the clarity has been really bad possibly from a brown algae bloom due to high nutrients in the water. That doesn’t mean that the fishing is bad though, it means that you just have to look harder.
Every Summer the Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River and Banana River goes through the same pattern, some years worst than others. I actually prefer to fish in dirty water rather than crystal clear, you don’t see as many fish, but when you do you can get pretty close to make multiple casts until it eats or spooks. I like to use very flashy flies and lures, especially ones with gold flash which reflects more light and you pretty much have to present the fly/lure right in the fishes mouths.
In the cleaner waters which is in the Indian and Banana Rivers right now, there are an abundance of glass minnows and mullet on the flats. Topwater lures have been working great like the MirrOLure Top Dog, Top Dog Jr. and She Pup series. On really calm mornings, I like to use something less noisy so I’ll tie on a D.O.A. Shallow Runner Baitbuster and do a steady retrieve on the surface letting the tail vibrate to top. Redfish, Trout, Snook and Tarpon love that!
These past couple of weeks, I’ve been leaving the Mosquito Lagoon Redfish alone and focusing on Tarpon in the backcountry waters of the Space Coast. Summer time is when they typically show up and most of my clients prefer to target them on fly. I get a lot of clients that are really good fly anglers up North in the small stream but when they come down here, it’s difficult for them to adapt to the style of saltwater fly fishing. I encourage all anglers that want to fly fish in Florida to learn how to double haul your line. That will increase the speed of your cast, the distance, and be able to cast in windy conditions which will increase the chances of catching the targeted species big time.
Andres from Brazil was having a tough time sending the fly out far enough to where the Tarpon were at. Tarpon here keep just enough distance from the boat to barely reach them with a flyrod. After trying for a couple hours with no luck reaching the fish, I set him up with a spin rod and a D.O.A. Baitbuster which he was glad to try. A couple casts to rolling fish, and Tarpon were in the air after that.
Andres also caught a few snook with the fly rod while blind casting against the shorelines.
Matt from South Florida brought his brother Ryan along to introduce him to the world of inshore sight fishing. After he got used to seeing what to look for and casting in the right spot, he started catching them and now he is hooked. Here’s Matt showing his brother how it’s done.
..and here is brother Ryan with his first sight casted Redfish. All fish caught using D.O.A. Shadtails.
Reid and his dad Rudy come up to fish the Lagoon with me at least once a year, they don’t have much sight fishing down in the Palm Beach area so they come up to enjoy some father and son time. Always a pleasure having them aboard and listening to them bust each others balls!
Luke was on a family vacation to Ormond Beach and wanted to scratch a Redfish on fly off of his bucket list. He did just that and caught a few more on top of it on a half day. I’d say that’s pretty good for not having much experience sight fishing for Redfish!
Stuart from North Carolina was pretty excited to catch his first tailing Redfish this day in the Indian River lagoon using a D.O.A. Shadtail.
On June 13th, I was invited to fish a fly only Invitational Tarpon tournament in the Brevard County area. The 2nd annual “Chase for the Chalice” is all for charity and Tarpon research. All of the money went to a German Shepherd rescue of Central Florida and all the tarpon caught and released needed to be swabbed for DNA for research. It was all great times with a great group of anglers and guides for a good cause. My good buddy Honson Lau from Miami came up to fish with me in this event. We ended up getting 1st place with our names on the Chalice that will be showcased at Harry Goodes Outdoor Shop in Melbourne, FL.
Right now from what I’ve been witnessing on the water lately, anglers will have a very good chance at chasing a Grand Slam on fly this Summer. That’s catching a Redfish, Sea Trout, Snook and Tarpon all in the same day which is a great accomplishment!
-Capt. Willy Le
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
This is a little series of video clip that I will be coming out with on a regular basis. All of these videos will be filmed with my iPhone 4S and edited on the computer. Here is the first one of a regular client John Kelly encountering a pod of tailing Redfish in the Mosquito Lagoon. Enjoy!
-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.
Fall/Winter is my favorite time of year to go out of town and experience fisheries outside of my own. One special place I always look forward to travelling to this time of year is the Mosquito Lagoon. In the interim of dropping my skiff off to get work done and picking up my buddies finished skiff from the area, my buddy Jeremy and I found a good opportunity to get together with Capt. Willy Le (http://nativeflycharters.com) and sneak out for a couple of days in the “goon.”
The ride to the launch destination was a scenic one different from what we are used to in South FL.
Chilly morning rides and blue bird skies in the backdrop made for great expectation for the days of fishing ahead. With great conditions, experienced fly rodders, and the right tools for the artisan; we set out to stalk redfish and trout in some anorexic depths. Can you catch fish with other tools? Sure, but we preferred to use high end tools available to us such as comfortable sun gloves, UV-protecting clothing, high modulus graphite fly rods, technical skiffs, and advanced light weight push poles to make our pursuit a little more comfortable.
We never found the redfish willing to tail these last couple of days but there were plenty of laid up and slow cruising fish that the sun was willing to reveal to us. Moments of good visibility would overcome the 20kt breeze climbing over the small clusters of islands that make up part of the Lagoon.
We encountered many scapes different from that we are used to. They were different from what we are used to seeing in Biscayne and Florida Bay. The wildlife and birds had different attitudes on their own. It was a familiar but different part of the world for those of us who call the Purple Isle our home waters.
And one of the highlights of fishing in the Lagoon is the opportunity to sight fish giant seatrout up in the shallows. As far as fishing goes, this is something we don’t have back at home. The level of difficulty to sight fish a big weary gator trout on a fly rod is somewhat equivalent to the challenge of fishing for big Islamorada bonefish. I managed to catch my biggest seatrout on fly this trip. The epic bite from this behemoth as I slid an olive SS Permit crab fly over it’s head was more memoriable and impressive then the size of the fish itself. What an amazing fishery.
When sight fishing is a little less then great down south, I highly suggest looking towards our neighbors to our north and sampling the great fishery offered by the Mosquito Lagoon. Thanks to Capt. Willy Le for having us. Great times are had as always….
I’ve been boatless now for a week but far from fish-less. Stay tuned…
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
Did some exploring in the Mosquito Lagoon yesterday with buddy Capt. Justin Price. Justin and I decided to check some areas where we haven’t been in a while, and guess what? That’s where the fish were hiding! With the water in the lagoon still dirty and high, it makes for tough fishing and the fish are more scattered. We should have gin clear and low water this time of year but with the Summer conditions we are still having while we are ending December and going into the New Year, things are going to stay Summer-like until the temperatures drop.
I’ve heard a lot of “not so good” fishing reports of where the fish should usually be, instead of going to those spots, we decided to go and look around where not a lot of people check. Boats normally run past these areas to get to the “hot spots” that are normally crowded with boats pressuring the schools of fish with trolling motors. With no other boats in sight, Justin and I did some work with the fly rod on some pretty aggressive and unpressured fish, these fish happily took most of our fly offerings that we presented to them. We had a successful day of finding fish that were tailing, cruising shorelines, and were not spooky. Hopefully they will still be that way for our charters that we have lined up next week!
Capt. Willy Le
As soon as I thought the water was actually going to clean up enough for some good sight fishing in Mosquito lagoon and the Northern Indian River, we get another week of high winds that has been turning up the water and making it difficult to see fish again. What do you do when that happens? You go to where you think you know where the fish are and just blind cast like crazy while praying to the fish gods for a bite! It seemed to work for Danny Francis on this breezy day in the Mosquito Lagoon.
On Saturday I hopped on Eddie Oliveras’s skiff to do some exploring in some areas of the Indian River that we haven’t fished in years. Same story, the water was high and dirty but at least the winds were a little calmer for us this day. We poled along a flat that I used to catch some big Trout and started blind casting. Eddie was first to hook up with what we thought was a Redfish because of how hard he was pulling but once the fish was shaking it’s head out of the water, we saw huge fangs and a yellow mouth….Big Sea Trout!
Eddie and I switched positions after releasing the fish.(which by the way is out of season all thru November & December in the South Region.) Since the water was so dirty, I wanted to try something out with my lure. I was throwing a D.O.A. Cal in New Penny color rigged weedless, I then slide a glass bead and a 1/16oz. tungsten bullet weight on that I got from my bass fishing buddy. I tie about a 1 inch loop knot and slip the bead and the weight below the knot which cannot slip back up because the tag makes for a stopper. That rig creates a little rattle along with a brilliant sparkle from the diamond cut glass bead. It seemed to work better this day versus fishing with just a hook and plastic.
After catching some nice size trout, we left them still biting and decided to go find some Redfish. After a short run, we made a stop at a cove where I’ve had good luck with Redfish during higher water. Immediately after pushing up to the spot, we see multiple fish crashing bait on the shoreline. I make the cast with the same D.O.A. Cal/rattle set up and instantly hook up to a Redfish! This was a fat fish and we figured out why after getting it to the boat.
I have found some big trout in the past with the same thing, but the trout were not so lucky to live thru it. I figured I would pull the mullet out of the redfish’s mouth so it can swim and eat like normal again, the fish was not harmed and swam away healthy!
While in the same area, Eddie gets himself a Redfish on spinning gear as well. We then pulled out the fly rods and poled along the sandy shoreline. You can barely make out a fish in the murky water but it was possible. I get my fish on fly, then shortly after Eddie gets a nice one on fly.
We ended the great day of fishing at Ms. Apples Crab Shack along the Indian River Lagoon for some cold ones and spicy steamed blue crabs! Inshore fishing is getting better and better each day, and it will only get even better as the water gradually clears up.
Capt. Willy Le