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
Capt. Ron Presley invited me to hop on his 20ft Pathfinder to target some American and Hickory Shad in the St. Johns River. I’m always excited about targeting these fish not just for the fishing, but the scenery in the St. Johns.
The Shad were not too active on top this day so it was tough to target with the fly rod. I did catch some small crappie and blue gill, and hooked a couple shad that popped off on the jumps on fly, but we mainly caught fish on bright colored Road Runners and D.O.A. Tiny TerrorEyz on ultra light spin tackle which made it a blast.
I plan on heading back out before the Shad Run ends mainly to enjoy the scenery and catching a few on the fly rod while I’m there.
-Capt. Willy Le
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
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.
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!
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!
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