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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


20/03/2015 - Fishing the Mosquito Lagoon Florida

I headed east out of the Beacon 42 Landing to the other side of the Mosquito Lagoon, the wind was coming out of the ESE at about 5 mph. I haven't fished out of there for several years because it is the busiest Landing on the Lagoon and I don't like the odds of a big crowd when I'm sight fishing for Redfish and Trout. I pulled into the Landing and there were only about 8 vehicles there, I was late, the time was 7:30 in the morning, I expected to see more activity, but it was clear enough and I launched.

I just motored mostly straight across from Marker 38 toward the nearest land I could see. About a half mile out I could see lots of Redfish moving toward the interior bays so I kept up the pace to try to get into position and await their arrival. Some anglers would have tried for those fish out there, but I knew they had already spooked and there was little chance to do anything other than chase their shadows. I cut the motor about 300 yards out and poled in toward a quiet bank where I could see a big school of Mullet working.

I eased in toward the shore and saw a couple of Mullet spook from the crash of a big Speckled Sea trout, I knew I was in the right place! I pulled out my WInston BIIISX 8 weight and tied on a small Grey, Chartreuse, and White streamer I made this past Fall, stripped out about 80 feet of line and launched a cast toward the latest explosion. The line sailed out toward its target and spooked about a dozen big gator trout, I had drastically underestimated the number of fish in the area! Needless to say, I had to reset, slow way down and get my head a little deeper into the game. After slowly moving about 30 yards north, scrutinizing the situation and watching the fish, I spotted a likely target resting on the edge of a sand hole, it was not a gator, but a respectable 18 incher. I launched a cast just a few feet short and slightly off to the side in the sand and began a slow retrieve, the fish flashed, I twitched the fly a little faster and he hit me hard. I strip set and was hooked up! The fight was brief but satisfying, I could feel a groove coming on. In the next hour I landed a decent Redfish and about 16 trout of various sizes, most of them around a foot to 15 inches, a few smaller and a few a bit larger.

I moved off that spot in search of larger fish and in an attempt to follow the school as they moved off shore a bit along the now well defined wind line. I could see a few big trout still smashing bait and off about 100 yards I saw a Redfish tail, but I knew there were lots of fish between me and that tail so I let it go. A few more yards ahead I saw my next target, a good sized trout tracking a small school of Finger Mullet, I had a shot at this one, I aimed my cast about 5 feet to one side of the Mullet in hopes I wouldn't spook them, but it went a bit close and they bolted, the good news is the commotion get that trout to charge and my fly was the first thing he saw! He hit me solidly and the battle was on, the fight was good and in about 8 minutes I had a nice 5 pounder in my net, I was feeling pretty good and the fish were co-operating, what could be better?

After that things slowed down a bit as I tried to relocate the school, but they were gone. I made a few blind casts and caught another slot sized Red, but I could not find that school of trout, they must have had enough of me and slid off the flat! I looked around and saw a few Redfish working the bank about 50 yards away chasing Glass Minnows, I eased over to have a go at them. I blew the first one, but got a solid hook-up on the next one, those Redfish pull so well, I really just enjoyed the battle, I let the reel sing a little and then brought him to me, but not without a little argument for the fish! Now this was a birthday present!

Over the next hour and a half I slowly worked upwind along the bank just inside the wind picking up either a slot sized Red or an average sized trout , I must have landed a half dozen and spooked at least twice as many, it was bliss! I got up to a small tidal creek mouth where I staked out and let the water settle down for a while. A few minutes later the water blew up as bait scattered I placed a cast right in it and another decent slot sized Redfish was on! This fish was just as good as the last and my Winston bent with delight as the reel sang it's sweet song in the salty air - all was well with the world. Throughout this entire time I noticed several boats out in the bay moving all over the place, my guess was they were just not patient enough to let the fish settle down. An hour or so into the day those boats were gone, none of them ever got in my way or even tried to move into my vicinity, thankfully. The sun was up and hot, the wind was steady around 7 mph and the bite had fallen off. I decided I would pole across the channel and take a look at the bank under the wind across from me, it was only about 100 yards or so and no real trouble to get to. The water was a little less than a foot deep going across, but on the far bank it was a good 3 feet deep, I was surprised. This will be a great area for some holed up fish in the winter months when water temps are in the 50’s instead of the 70's, I put that place into my memory bank for future use!

I had enough fun and decided to drift toward deeper water across the abundant sand holes and blind cast to the likely looking places, with the wind at my back it was easy to hammer out 80 to 90 foot casts looking for a big trout or another Redfish. I covered a lot of water before I got a light hit, it turned out to be a small brightly coloured baitfish known locally as a "Sailors Choice", they are difficult to get on a #4 hook since the rarely get larger than a small bluegill! At that point I knew my Dad was fishing with me, he always loved those tenacious little fish! I also knew today was his gift to me, he loved to relax with a day on the water after a hard week of work, it was nice to know I was not alone. Dad had one last gift for me, a few minutes later I made a very good cast to the edge of a small, deep sand hole and must have thrown the fly right into the mouth of a 35 inch Speckled Sea trout! The water erupted instantly as the behemoth crashed the fly and sped off across the flat, I was almost instantly into my backing! A good fifteen minutes later I finally get her into my net, her flanks were iridescent blue with hints of Chartreuse across her back, in the mid-day sunlight she was magnificent! She was well over 10 pounds and deserved to be returned to her home for another angler to enjoy. My camera batteries were shot and all I had was my crappy old flip phone, I have probably only taken a half dozen photos with it and was unfamiliar on its function, but I pulled it out and gave it a shot not knowing I was taking video instead of stills! Needless to say the pictures are not very good, but that does not matter to me, I know how big she was! After that I was completely satisfied, I made my way the last 100 yards to deeper water and headed home.I could not have had a better day, or birthday present, I always love going fishing with my Dad! Captain Bill Sherer e-mail:[email protected]



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