Ponce Inlet to Mosquito Lagoon report

The fishing has been a lot better than the weather this January. We've only had a few days of decent weather. The fishing has been fantastic though, anglers who bundled up had some of their best catches ever! Even the windiest days produced great fishing. We've had a few schools of reds come through that provided some hot action even on the coldest days.
Although the sight fishing has been off because of the wind, during the calm spells that technique produced as well. Poling up on a school of reds on the flat lit by the sun gets any anglers heart going.
Last Friday I did a little scouting and came up on a small school of big reds in the 15lb. + range in very shallow water. Normally I just look when scouting and don't fish. But this time I just couldn't stand it and broke out my 8 wt. fly rod. The big reds didn't cooperate and kept moving out of range. Man, I needed someone on the poling platform or me poling some angler on to those fish!
Most of the redfishing has been by anchoring up on the schools that are moving through the Lagoon. The water is clear and shallow making it easy to spot the schools and throw a bait to them. Sometimes you have to fish these schools with other anglers and little courtesy goes a long way.
Large live shrimp have been my best bait along with live finger mullet. Capt. Mikes Gold spoon worked real slow produced too.
David Ranken of Apopka and son Andy had a beautiful morning picking up a few redfish. David was the high bidder during the National Wild Turkey Federation auction for my charter. Thank you David!
The afternoon trip with Patrick Phillips, Pres. of the Back Country Fly Fishers and his uncle Bill Miller found the fish in a eating mode. We spent the afternoon poling with the sun and wind (NW) at our backs sight fishing redfish. The fish were hanging out in the sandy spots among the thick grass and were plainly visible and hungry. A quiet approach and short accurate casts took about a dozen reds.
The following morning John Sego, Jim Wilson and Craig Grant took time out from a convention in Orlando to get in some hot redfish action. We found a school of reds in the clearest of waters. The bite was slow at the start and we watched this school mill over our baits uninterested. Switching from the large shrimp we tossed in a live mullet. From then on it was hot action. John starting using his Capt. Mikes gold spoon, 3/8 ounce with a red eye and hooked up with that too. Twenty something reds later we drifted out with the fish still biting.
Orlandoans Danny McCartney ( see Jan. 5th fishing report) and Jamie Capo broke in their new rods and reels on a school of reds. They both had new Shimano Stella 1000 and Loomis rods that were thoroughly used after well over 30 reds.
Dan Shattuck of Deland and son Scott visiting from Newburgh N.Y felt the pull of redfish all morning. Like the morning before we had some great fishing. The school was finally spooked by an aggressive group of anglers throwing baits with sinkers into the school. No problem, we headed to the flats and sight fished. On the way back in we found the school intact, caught a few more and headed in. Nice day!
Danny Micklebrink of New Smyrna and John Swain of Newburgh N.Y. wouldn't cancel and braved 20+ knot winds and cold rain. Three good reds right off didn't make us feel any warmer. We headed in after a hour, severely punished by the redfish gods.
That afternoon it was sunny and gusting to 30+ knots. The lagoon can provide great shelter in windy conditions knocking down the chop, but this was a little too much wind. I called to to cancel the trip. Dave and Barbara Nichols, used to the ice storms in Oklahoma were ready to go. Have you ever noticed how when running down wind at 30 knots in 30 knots of wind it actually feels calm? We anchored up and in two hours caught near twenty redfish. That's some hot action.
Bud McKecknie of Longwood, Florida and son in law Chris Cryan fished a school of reds in 20+ knot winds, hooking up steadily. We left the fish to seek cover, and found another large school in relatively calm waters. Taking our time we approached the tightly packed school slowly. Bud and Chris cast their shrimp and immediately hooked up to two good 26 inch redfish. That's some good sight fishing!
Temperatures are predicted to go into the 70's this weekend and next week. Have a great week, get out and fish!
Capt. Brian Clancy/Eldora Charters
www.eldoracharters.com
eldoracharters@ucnsb.net
1-877-409-7380 Toll Free
409-7380 Local (New Smyrna Beach, Florida)