Florida has not quite decided if it wants to participate in winter this year or not; at least not fully. Our weather has been a mixture of cold for a couple of days, followed by spring like conditions for four or five days. With the confused weather, the fish have been a little confused. They have not made the full transition into their winter pattern or back into their spring pattern. But, it appears this week and next should complete the push into their winter pattern. Despite this, fishing has been really good.
On the saltwater side of things, my best fishing has been taking place from the north end of Mosquito Lagoon into New Smyrna Beach. This is tidal water, which means hitting areas at the right tide stage is of utmost importance. Winter time means a drop in water level and our water levels are dropping to where they should be; this is a big relief after a summer that saw nothing but high water. This drop allows the water to get rid of the suspended sediment that it picks up during high water intrusion into the mangroves and spoil islands. Couple that with cooler temperatures, that restrict micro-algae growth, and you get crystal clear water. Water conditions like we have now make for phenomenal sight fishing for redfish, seatrout, black drum, sheepshead, and more. We've even tried sight fishing flouder, but with limited success. This fishing pattern should continue for the next couple of months. This is an excellent time for fly fishing with lighter gear and light spinning outfits. Small, shrimp or crab flies have been the ticket to success on redfish and seatrout. Z-Man Fishing Products (which I use exclusively for my soft plastics), have been great on the conventional side; especially their Scented Shrimp pattern. Typical days are seeing plenty of opportunity for catching fish. However, it does require proper presentation as the clear water conditions make them a little spooky. But, just like the photo above proves, if you do it right, they readily eat (Yes, he sight casted that fish all by himself!)
The freshwater side of fishing is also going off. Shad season is just beginning, with American and Hickory Shad showing up along stretches of the St John's River. This fish are like small, freshwater tarpon. They hit fast, run hard, and throw in a couple of jumps along the way. Ultralight spinning gear, with small jigs, and light weight fly outfits, rigged with shad flies, are the way to target them. The action is fun and the scenery is unbeatable. If you are looking for something for dinner, crappie season is getting good too. Whether trolling or fishing debris piles, the key is to locate the fish and then concentrate on that area. I've got a few areas that have always been good and provide plenty of fun times. While some of the crappie may be small, most of the ones we take home are well over a pound and up to two pounds. Light, sweet, flaky meat makes them a perfect fish fry food. Of course, there are plenty of bream, catfish and bass to target too. This is the trip to enjoy some of the last remnants of Natural Florida and enjoy a relaxing day of fishing.
No matter what trip you want to take, I'm here for you. All gear is provided and licenses are included. So, come join us, get out of the snow, and see what Florida has to offer! Redfish, black drum, seatrout, crappie, bass, or shad; one guarantee is that you will have a great, relaxing time and come back with a smile.