December turned out to be the coldest in recorded history here in central Florida but we still managed to have some excellent fishing. While the cold snaps were frequent and severe, they were not as prolonged as last January and I have not seen any significant fish kills. The water is crystal clear and redfish, black drum and huge seatrout can be found in schools throughout the Mosquito Lagoon. Both fly and light tackle anglers can expect some spectacular days on the water.
During mid December, I made a trip to Mosquito Lagoon with fellow guide Capt. John Kumiski on a frigid morning. With the water temperature at 46, we did not expect to find any happy fish. To our surprise, the fish we found were a bit sluggish but happy to eat our flies. During several hours of fishing, we landed 18 redfish with 13 of them on fly. We used mostly black or olive redfish worms or crab type patterns.
The following day, the weather had warmed significantly and I took a canoe trip with friend Capt. Charlie Imwalle. We had an excellent day targeting redfish and black drum on fly.
Mid-month charters brought varying levels of success. We saw plenty of redfish on each trip but they were very shallow and required quick accurate casts to get a bite. The past week, another strong cold front drove many of the fish off the shallow flats and into deeper channel, sloughs and edges. Even with water temperatures at the beginning of the week in the lower 40's, the fish were often fighting over the baits.
Malcolm and Wayne were visiting from South Africa and wanted to try targeting some redfish. They had an outstanding day of catch and release action landing at least twenty redfish and several nice trout on 3" DOA CAL jigs.
The following day, I was joined my Maureen with her son Michael, 12, and Brittany, 17. It was another banner day with thirty redfish landed and released.
The following two days were a bit tougher due to thick cloud cover. We saw plenty of fish but many were nearly under the boat by the time we noticed them. At the end of the day on Thursday the clouds finally parted but the wind began picking up. At our last stop before heading in, Fred talked me in to making a few casts with him. A nice trout was willing to eat my 3" CAL.
Friday, we barely saw the sun all day but we did see hundreds of fish. Ray got a Mosquito Lagoon slam landed several redfish and drum, along with a couple seatrout.
This month, anglers should expect more top notch sight fishing. Weather is the most influential factor during the winter. Because of the shallow depths of the Lagoon system, water temperatures can go up or down significantly in a short time. Sudden drops will chase most of the fish off the shallows but they will return as soon as the water warms. Small lures and flies are the key to success. The colder the water, the slower the presentation should be.
Capt. Chris Myers
Orlando Fishing Guide