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December 17, 2013

Seeing Red

Sight fishing for reds in Mosquito Lagoon, Florida, can make you a perfectionist.

Capt. Nathaniel Lemmon isn't you're average fishing guide. He doesn't fall into superstitions. He carries bananas on board and even uses them for bait.

"I was fishing out with some buddies and I cut up some banana peel to make a jig to prove that the superstition isn't real," he says. "I caught two reds, back-to-back."

Capt. Lemmon has been running his guiding charter for the past eight years out of Mosquito Lagoon. He is originally from the mountains of West Virginia, but frequently traveled to Florida with his family. Before becoming a full-time guide and angler, he worked for non-profit organizations. He now says he fishes over 280 days a year, not of all them charters, but always looking to be on the water.

He has guided people from all over the world, from South Africa to Japan. He offers fishing charters in Indian River Lagoon, Daytona Beach, Ponce Inlet, New Smyrna, Titusville, Cocoa Beach and even north as Jacksonville. This day, Capt. Lemmon was out on the north end of Mosquito Lagoon, sight fishing for redfish.

Capt. Lemmon seems to break the mold when it comes to traditional fishing superstitions — all he needed was the sunlight and the right moment.

Sight fishing explained by him seems like a scientific exploration more than a type of angling. He slowly trolls to find the perfect dips at the north end of the lagoon, where the sun hits it just right. Capt. Lemmon gives true meaning to polarized sunglasses, waiting for the second to cast near the pods of reds. Sight fishing in Mosquito Lagoon is all about silence  Capt. Lemmon doesn't like any movement on the boat, not even a step. The only thing that should be heard is the red hammering down on the bait. He watches for the breaks in the water that go the opposite way of the current. He casts just far enough past the redheads to make the bait swim right into their eyeline. He watches the clouds as he keeps one hand on the trolling motor to follow the redfish. He is a perfectionist.

Mosquito Lagoon is 25,000 acres of old Florida views with NASA landmarks in the background. It is home to redfish, tarpon, sea trout and snook. One also can catch glimpses of manatees and bottlenose dolphins. Boating through the cuts of the lagoon is like transporting to a time where tourism didn't exist — hell, when people didn't exist. If you find yourself in Mosquito Lagoon, be sure to admire the desolate experience. And to also throw a line out with Capt. Lemmon.