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
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
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
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
It has become tradition for good friend Capt. Tim Mahaffey (www.flatshead.com) and I to take a day to pursue and attempt a 5 fish slam on fly that to my knowledge has not been documented in the past. These 5 species are the most sought after gamefish in Islamorada; Tarpon, Snook, Redfish, Bonefish, and Permit. To achieve a feat like such would be the ultimate accomplishment, but to document this with professional cameras and a pro photographer will certainly raise the bar. Timing had to be perfect, the skiff had to be set up right, and the fly anglers on the skiff had to have their act together and be able to work well as a team poling and/or fishing.
Our tools: My Mercury 115ProXs powered Maverick 18 Mirage flats boat, a range of old school and new school G Loomis fly rods, lots of different flies, and lady luck.
With my good buddy Rick De Paiva tagging along to capture todays events, we headed off into the darkness of morning in search of silver. The day started off as planned with a 50lb Everglades tarpon to the boat for a quick photo, fly extraction, and safe release. The next species we would spend time on would be the elusive snook. Luckily, our first snooky looking hole held some small tarpon and a snook that was willing to eat a minnow fly. I fought the snook more carefully then I had fought any other snook I have ever hooked. With some luck, I kept the sub-slot snook out of the snags in the water and it finally came to hand. With two out of the way, we moved on to the venerable redfish. We poled the 18ft Maverick flats boat up onto a very shallow flat where the tide was bottoming out. The tide had not been right yet and the mood displayed by the fish were evident of this. It didn’t take long for the tide to turn over and the water to start moving again. Once this happened, our flat lit up with happy spotted flats waving about in a very civilized manner. We caught half a dozen redfish on the tail covered flat before moving off to find our 2 other species in Islamorada. It was difficult leaving so many fish but to catch our next two species, we had to race time and tide. Luckily, at 50mph+ we arrived where we needed to be right on time. While bonefishing, we had a quick shot at a pair of permit that didn’t seem interested in our offerings. Our bonefishing led us to find an area with better current flow. Once we found that, it yielded 4 bonefish shots, 3 fish hooked, and 2 bonefish landed. The toughest of the 5 species was the last challenge to complete our already epic day of fishing. We poled our way onto a flat that should hold permit only to have the red zone on the flat run over by a weekend angler in an Actioncraft with rods flying out the back of his poling platform rod holders and cuda tubes doing pinwheels. Disappointed at what had just occurred, we poled the rest of that flat and didn’t get that permit shot we needed. Coming this close to achieving the ultimate slam only means we should attempt this again another time. Perhaps our next attempt will be more rewarding, as if the day of fishing we just had wasn’t rewarding enough.
It has been a very short and violent spring this year. The harsh weather we experienced didn’t allow for many epic tarpon fishing days that were anything close to what we’ve experienced in the past 2 years. It wasn’t all that bad as we got the warm weather early and experienced some of the great summer time redfishing and bonefishing available to us. So I spent fewer days tarpon fishing this year and more days chasing the alternative from testing new DOA (http://www.doalures.com) colors on redfish to throwing old reliable at big gator trout, to chucking flies bonefish, and pitching crabs at permit.
Pictured below, DOA Lures has released a new color known as blood worm in the shrimp, CAL Jerkshad, and CAL shad tail. This has been a very effective color used in clear or darkly tanned water. The blood worm shad tails should prove to be a regular in my tackle bag.
Upon returning from my week over at ICAST 2012 in Orlando, there is a lot to catch up on and some new gear to put through the rigors.
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
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.