Sorry for a delay in my monthly report, I spent over a week recently in Houma, Louisiana fishing the Redfish Tour championship. Finished the 2 day tourney in 22nd place out of 86 boats, falling from 7th place on day 1. But did win Team of Year for our division. Epic fishing in the marsh and bayou's in Houma. Saw thousands of redfish and caught hundreds up to 25lbs. Can't wait to go back again nexst year.
Back home, we're just a few days away from Thanksgiving and we’re stuck in a transition between fall and winter in the coastal waters of Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River Lagoon and the Ponce Inlet area. Cold fronts are making a more regular appearance. The water clarity is exceptional on the flats in the Lagoons and the creeks near the Inlet. Fish are starting to group up into winter schools. The only thing holding the fishing back from “epic catching” is the high water levels. As the wind continues to shift to more of a north and west orientation those water levels will drop. Our targets through the rest of the year will be primarily redfish. Added opportunities for giant speckled trout laid up in the shallows, flounder over shallow sand bottom, and snook in deep backcountry creeks and holes.
Redfish have for the most part completed their annual spawning and scattered widely. So it’s on sightcasting schools and small pods over shallow grass flats in Mosquito Lagoon and the Indian River Lagoon. Most of these fish range from 4-10lbs and they feasting on shrimp, crabs, and finger mullet. Soft plastic shad style jerkbaits, spoons, and topwater plugs are all producing for us. The obvious choice for live bait has been cut finger mullet, shrimp and cut crabs. Since bites can be less noticeable this time of year, I prefer to use live baits on Lazer Sharp 4/0 circle hooks (L197BKU). Fish are still fairly scattered as the day wears on so catching has been a bit limited. Some days it’s a few, other days it’s 10 or more. As we get into December (and water levels drop) catching will take off with 10 or more being the norm and days of 20-30+ not out of the question.
From now through the spring it doesn’t get any better for catching monster trophy Speckled Trout. As the water temps continue to get colder, these big trout in the 4-15lb range move their way from the deeper edges up onto shallow flats to lay up in potholes in the shallows of the Lagoons and in the shallow sand shelfs in the creeks around Ponce Inlet. We’ll see dozens of big trout this time of year, with several in the 8-10+lb range. They can be a big lethargic during the winter months but if you’re patient with them the reward is the trout of a lifetime. Live bait like finger mullet are a must have if you want the best chance. Although we’ll occasionally catch some trophy trout on soft plastics and suspending plugs. I’m already seeing a lot of big trout and during the past week we caught a 10lb trout on a plug and a couple others in the 27-28” range on live bait. And it’s only going to get better! Giant trout are my favorite thing to target and my Trout Photo Gallery speaks for itself on the quality of fish we catch.
It’s been a surprising year for Snook, with many small juvenile fish in the 12-20” range moving around in the tidal areas right now. They’re on the move because they are headed to areas they plan to spend the rest of the winter when cold settles in for good. Before the big freeze in 2009, I used to spend many days during Dec-Feb targeting winter time snook and it looks like I’ll be able to get back to that this year. Flounder too are starting to move around quite a bit, heading out of creeks towards the ICW and on towards the Inlet. Jigs tipped with shrimp, mud minnows, and live mullet will produce for us around creeks mouths on outgoing tides.
November was slammed with a lot of charters. December and January dates are now starting to fill up too. If you want to take advantage of some of our best catching of the year during the next 2 months, be sure to get on the calendar now. Short notice trips are available if I have the date open. Call or email to secure a reservation. Read my fishing charter page to view the top reasons why you should book your trip with me today. Read my fishing report archive to review write-ups from the past several years. I look forward to fishing with you soon…386-212-4931.