New Smyrna Beach Fishing Report
Well that’s a wrap…..2013 is behind us and I am looking forward to 2014. I think it is human nature to feel like you will never reach your goals but when you look back at where you were maybe just a few years prior you may actually see how far you’ve come. Each year I get closer to reaching my goals and living my dream as a Fishing Guide in a very special place and get to work side by side with some of the best Guides and Company’s in the industry. December was another windy month with unpredictable conditions and tough fishing at times. I helped a good friend and fellow guide Capt. Joe Roberts of IndianRiverGuides.com as a second boat with some of his regular clients. Conditions were not favorable as me and Joe were getting rained as we dropped our skiffs into the water. With high winds and rain in the forecast we were throwing our cast nets to fill our wells with finger mullet and strive to make the best out of it.I had the pleasure of fishing with Jim and his brother and Jim’s little dog Pearl. We pulled away from the ramp all suited with rain gear except Pearl who was shaking like a leaf already. It wasn’t long before the rain let up and little Pearl was jumping in the water after a redfish boat side that Jim hooked up.
Little Pearl had me second guessing the importance of being quite while fishing in shallow water as he barked at every movement and fish that we hooked up and managed to jump in the water three times determined to touch the fish before we did. Little Pearl your welcome on my skiff any day.
Winds over the next few days approached 25 to 30 mph out of the north dropping our temps and water levels causing fish to drop off the flats in the Northern Mosquito Lagoon. I booked a repeat client for the next six days Todd and his good friend Tony from CT. With some challenging days ahead presenting high winds, four mornings starting out in the low 40’s, full moon, and cloud cover. Each day I caught live finger mullet just to have in order to make something happen prior to making a 15min ride in the cold darkness to pic them up at JB’s fish camp
. As I waited each morning for them to arrive I witnessed the full moon setting in the west and the sun rising slow filling the sky with color.
The cloud cover wasn’t as bad as predicted and it was shaping up to be a beautiful start to their trip.
Right off the bat these guys were talking smack and spitting out dollar amounts on how many fish each would catch and the size of there catch. Within the first few minutes Todd landed the first fish of their trip on a live finger mullet.
Shortly after Tony was on the board.
Day one was just a warm up trying to dial in what mother nature was delivering and putting together a plan for the rest of the week. We managed to lose a few and land a few. Our second day was a little slow with the winds still cranking out of the north but Tony came out the winner sight casting a nice little red on a DOA shrimp
and a nice one later on a live finger mullet.
Day three was a lot colder starting out around 38 degrees and dropped our water levels and water temps. We started fishing with live finger mullet in a cove that was holding some nice gator trout without any response except from the redfish and we lost just as many as we caught with some good action to start. We then switched gears throwing DOA Cals
rigged on Hook Up Jig heads along edges and in the sloughs and got into a few schools that were willing to eat on this cold morning.
Day four would be the last day that Tony would be joining me and Todd and would be considered the fourth quarter between them. The conditions could not be any better with clean water, blue bird skies and hungry fish. It came down to the wire with who was going to come out that champ of their four day excursion. We finished out the day getting shots at pods of tailing redfish up shallow with a few hook ups but nothing stuck. I said lets move off the edge of the flat where they’re has been a lot of scattered fish and see if we can get some shots to finish the trip. I had Todd rigged with a DOA Shrimp and Tony with a live shrimp within seconds Tony spotted a few off our right side…he made the cast and hooked up….while he was fighting his fish I spotted a nice redfish at about 11 o’clock slowly swimming down the edge and Todd made a perfect shot just passed him with his DOA Shrimp and the fish ate giving us both a good visual. I can tell you this with Todd landing his on an artificial and being bigger Tony had a long flight back to CT.
The next day Todd was fishing solo so I offered to take him in my canoe back in some shallow water that boats could not reach to get to some deeper sand holes that were holding some blackdrum and redfish. Todd had never caught a blackdrum before so that was the goal. It was tough finding them but when we did we landed a few.
We finished the day landing a few redfish that were mixed in with the blackdrum.
My friend Capt. Joe Roberts was also on a canoe charter fishing the same area and enjoying some amazing conditions that had not been seen in days.
Joe’s client was tired of catching fish and the next thing I know Joe has his fly rod in his hand and this what I see through my lense.
I was very jealous to say the least!!
The following day would be Todd’s last day and he invited his sister Jennifer to join us. Two days in a row of calm conditions…………..I most be dreaming!!!! It was also the second day of a warming trend which had the redfish roaming around the flats in small groups feeding well that is until the dolphins made a showing. Jennifer landed her biggest redfish ever casting a live shrimp to a cruising school.
The winds did not stay down long so we moved to a spot that had some nice gator trout holding in sand holes. We free lined some live finger mullet and quickly landed another redfish and had a few missed strikes on the surface. Moments later Todd hooks into the biggest trout that he’s ever caught by far not the biggest that had been swimming around us but still a nice one.
We made another move to fish closer to JB’s Fish Camp
before ending the trip and within minutes Jennifer was hooked up.
I had a blast fishing with Todd and he was able to experience Mosquito Lagoon with a variety of weather changes and tough fishing conditions.
A few days later me and a fellow guide Capt. Nathanial Lemmon
ran a two boat trip together taking out some locals from FL. The fishing had been mediocre to say the least but with a few spots starting to hold small schools of redfish we had a double header on the first cast of the trip
We realized the school was bigger than we thought and had some nice size fish in it. We fished them with live finger mullet and had some nice surface strikes landing two fish before losing sight of the group.
At this point we were off to a good start and so was Nate on the other boat who was into some big gator trout. After losing that group we made a few moves with no success. We decided to target tailing redfish up shallow and we found a few groups landing one and losing another.
We finished the trip landing a few more redfish and a few small trout.
The day after Christmas I took out some long time regulars Casey and his dad Skip. for a short 4hr trip. We did well landing most of our fish early and Skip came out on top over his son Casey.
The following day was a rescheduled trip from Christmas Eve due to the nasty weather from an approaching cold front. Also regular clients Stewart and his son Cameron. Stewart usually fly fishes with me but just wanted to kick back a bit and fish with his son. Cameron put four or five fish in the boat before Stewart landed one.
The cloud cover really settled in coupled with some steady north winds. We fished with live finger mullet and finally put Stewart on the board.
With more consistent cold fronts and loss off water the redfish will begin schooling heavy. and can be caught on a variety of soft plastics and live baits like shrimp, mud minnows, and live finger mullet. Smaller presentations are key this time of the year whether its live or artificial. Down sizing your hooks, leader, and flies or lures is very important along with longer leaders and a slow retrieve to entice the eat. Happy New Year and good luck to everyone in 2014!!
Capt. Justin Price