Mosquito Lagoon Fishing, Trips and Information
Join me on a guided fishing trip, on Florida’s Space Coast shallow, golden waterway. Adjacent to Canaveral National Seashore and Playalinda Beach this body of water is quite remarkable in many aspects. Its golden tint from the natural tannic trickling off the freshwater feeder tributaries and rain covered marshes fringe the lagoon’s shorelines. It’s also golden-red when the sunlight reflects off the backs of large schooling redfish often numbering in the hundreds. This is a sight my anglers enjoy while on their Mosquito Lagoon fishing trip.
Fishing Mosquito Lagoon offers many different challenges for the angler simply by the diverse topography and structure provided. Bottom variations like the famous Tiger Shoals in the middle of the lagoon or the Whale Tail Shoal in the southern part of the lagoon offer places for fish to relate and forage for food. Mangrove shorelines and saltwater marshes combined with crystal clear water and healthy seagrass void of human development make the lagoon a virtual paradise for anglers and wildlife.
A Fisherman’s Mecca may be an appropriate term for the lagoon over the last decade and a half. If there was a downside to the tremendous success when the redfish rebounded in the mid-1980’s, it would be with the lagoon being found out and hammered by every fishing celebrity and their shows from ESPN’s Outdoor channel to videos/DVD’s mass marketed in Bass Pro, Cabelas, and the internet. Weekend warriors and overzealous part-time fishing guides are sometimes putting extreme pressure on the fish and the lagoon’s fragile environment. Anglers wanting to go flats fishing on the Mosquito Lagoon may want to consider trips on a weekday, staying away from Saturday and Sunday crowds. The smarter anglers will wait till the late fall, winter and spring and remain off the lagoon during the summer months. Many anglers are on the water an hour or more before dawn to be in place for the sunrise before less exuberant boaters get on the water. None-the-less Mosquito Lagoon Florida still holds plenty of redfish for anglers wishing to sight fish with artificial, fly or natural baits.
Fishing on Mosquito Lagoon North
Northern Mosquito Lagoon near Oakhill and Apollo beach consist of winding waterways, islands, sandbars oyster bars, creeks, troughs, and holes. It’s not as bright as the southern part of the lagoon, but it can be every bit as productive. Many anglers caught-up in the sight fishing craze have forgotten how fun it is to catch fish with more traditional methods or modified versions that are tried and true. Here in the northern end, a smart angler can catch quantities of fish by merely using methods from live bait to slinging plugs such as top waters or jigs; fly fishers will like poppers and dahlberg diver type patterns that produce noise or wakes.
New Smyrna Inlet ebbs its tidal currents in and out every six hours and with it comes to a change of tide and flow over the northern lagoon. Fish react differently at tide phases and so should the angler. Incoming tides generally get big sea trout and pods of redfish feeding along oyster bars and dropoffs. Dropping flows tend to send fish deeper and further away from the bars and land. Try using jerk baits or subtle top waters around dropoffs and holes during falling tides. As a Mosquito Lagoon fishing guide, I like to live bait around holes by chumming with greenies or hooking on finger mullet when the conditions are not optimum for sight fishing. It may not be as glorious but more often than not these old methods out produce the newfangled sight fishing that’s popularized by the camera and southern Mosquito Lagoon.
Mosquito Lagoon Middles
By far the most famous part of the lagoon is the middle section. Tiger Shoals marks the middle of the bay with an old plane wreck protruding from its southern end. East of Tiger shoals is marl of islands and saltwater marshes adjacent to Playlinda and Apollo Beach, both meccas for the naturalist, sun worshippers, and surfers. There are so many nooks and crannies on the eastern shoreline where fiddler crabs are abundant, and raccoons wade the mudflats. You’ll find places like twin palms where traditionally redfish schools and skittish trout lurk in the grass and marl bottom. Sight fishers can get buck fever by casting with pinpoint accuracy at the tailing redfish lazily wallowing in the shallow waters and sandbars. West of Tiger Shoals is a series of islands often referred to as the clinkers. If you are looking for shelter from the wind, use these islands as a refuge. Keeper-sized redfish and trout stay comfortable with crab, shrimp and baitfish nearby in these warm shallow backwaters.
Fishing Mosquito Lagoon South
I’ve saved the southern part for last because that’s often the most talked about. The water is crystal clear and when it’s calm you can see redfish schools, singles and pods from great distances with a trained eye.
Shortly after the redfish moratorium in the mid 1980’s we started seeing for the first time in many decades and certainly my lifetime… schooling redfish! Commercial netter’s might argue this fact but everyone that was involved in flats fishing prior to 1986 saw a transformation in the fishing industry centered around redfish. Flats fishing was off to a racing start and everyone was on the bandwagon to purchase a shallow water boat with a poling platform. Jon boats were no longer in vogue and gave way to sleeker, faster, quieter boats. Now it’s not uncommon to see $50k or even $70k put into a small flats boat from a prominent manufacturer.
Sight and Fly Fishing
Look for fish around potholes in the grass, dropoffs, and shoals on the south end of Mosquito Lagoon. Sightfishing can be challenging and very rewarding for those who have the patience and build the confidence to locate and spot fish. The skills involved after marking the fish can be as tedious and challenging as finding them. An accurate cast is a must for each angler, as the poorly placed cast can cause a redfish to spook and disappear as quickly. Practice precision casting in your yard with a hula hoop as a target and you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration out on the water.
Fly fishermen will want to perfect a 60-foot cast with an eight weight rod. I like to use redfish candies & clousers for redfish streamers, crab and shrimp patterns work awesome too.
Anglers are often seen sight fishing on the lagoon when the water is calm enough to stalk and pursue wary fish feeding in shallow water. Redfish have a weakness of giving themselves away to anglers by showing their tails above the waterline while feeding or traversing the grass flats. Aided with keen eyesight and a pair of polarized sunglasses a willing partner will to push the skiff along with a long fiberglass push-pole most anglers acquire a sense of sight fishing within a couple of trips. “It’s all a matter of building confidence and having fun while you get the hang of things,” explains Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Guide Captain Richard Bradley.