Mixed Bag New Year’s Orlando Fishing Report

Mixed Bag New Year’s Orlando Fishing Report

We fished the Mosquito Lagoon one day, and the St. Johns River two days, and the Banana River Lagoon one day. Of course results were a mixed bag. And Sunday is New Year’s Day! So we have a mixed bag New Year’s Orlando fishing report!

Best wishes to all for a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2017!

Monday around noon I went launched the Bang-O-Craft on the St. Johns. Son Alex and John Napolitano were with me. It was warm and sunny and every airboat in Florida seemed to be there. Fish were popping fry minnows all over the river.

orlando fishing report

Alex casting on the Econ.

At the mouth of the Econ there was a paddling fly caster who steadily caught 12 inch bass on a small white streamer. Since there were three of us we refrained from joining him and went farther up the Econ. We found breaking fish up there but they weren’t taking our flies very well. John and I each got a crappie.

orlando fishing report

Crappie on the fry.

When we went back down the river the other angler had left. We took his spot. Fish were breaking steadily. Using a fry fly I did some damage! Bluegills, bass, and my first shad of this season all succumbed to the fry fly’s charms.

orlando fishing report

Even the shad take the fry.

When the action slowed we went down the river, where we found another spot with breaking fish. Again, the fry fly did some damage, taking some reasonably large bass. The other fly that worked extremely well was a #10 white Gurgler, a silly little fly. The fish liked it, though!

orlando fishing report

A finished fry.

Fry Fly
hook- Daiichi X510, #10
thread- Danville flat waxed nylon, white
wing- craft fur, light grey, light tan, or cream
eye- Witchcraft 3-D, 5 mm

Start the thread. Cut off a clump of craft fur and pick out most of the fluff. Tie it on to the hook, smooth the head, and whip finish.

Glue the eyes on with Zap a Dap a Goo or Duco cement. After the glue dries, coat the head with Softex.

Since the fly is small, you’ll catch some very small fish with it. Some surprisingly large fish will take it, too. The hook is on 3x thick wire, so it will hold a good fish without issues.

orlando fishing report

Drying, not frying.

You can see how to tie a gurgler here http://www.spottedtail.com/how-to-tie-a-gurgler/. Since the #10 is so small I use hackle fibers for the tail and the tying thread for the body- simple!

On Tuesday Greg Scible and Caleb Cousins joined me for some Mosquito Lagoon light tackle action. Unfortunately the action part was fairly slow- a couple trout and small reds. We started fishing the spots that had been so good to me last week- not so good this day. We tried Deadly Combo-ing for trout. We got a few fish but again, pretty slow.

orlando fishing report

Pvt. Caleb Cousins got this redfish while home on leave.

We checked out a couple spots where I had found fish last week. Caleb got a slot red on a DOA CAL Shad. We Deadly Comboed again and got a few short trout. We tried soaking cut mullet in two spots where this worked wonderfully last week. Not even a catfish this day. I cranked the motor to move, and it pooped out. It would not start again.

I had them start fishing while I thought about the problem. They started hitting trout immediately, again on the Deadly Combo. Most were short, but a few were slot fish.

In the meantime I checked the in-line fuel filter. It looked fine, but there must have been some debris in it. When I reassembled it, the boat ran fine. We kept fishing though, and got a bunch of trout.

We ended the day with six reds and about 30 trout, not bad for a slow day.

Wednesday at 8 AM I met Paul MacInnis at the Space Center Badging Station. He got me a visitor’s badge and off we went to the Banana River Lagoon. We had perfect paddling weather- no wind, no clouds. We paddled a long way before we found any fish, though.

The fish we found was a school of large black drum. They were way more interested in each other than in our flies, as we did not get bit.

We got a few small trout, though.

We found some smaller drum. I got one about seven pounds or so on a crab pattern.

I later got a small, beautiful, nine-spot redfish on the same fly. Paul got a fish here and there too.

Some kind of rooted vegetation is beginning to grow on the otherwise barren sand bottom there, and the water is quite clear in most places. Perhaps it was just an off day, but it was pretty slow fishing-wise.

Thursday afternoon I went back to the St. Johns, by myself, by kayak. A short distance from the boat ramp there were breaking fish. My first two casts, on the little gurgler, each garnered strikes from 12 inch largemouths. Before leaving that spot three strikes were missed and two more bass released.

orlando fishing report

Bass on fry. Not a bad schooling bass, ay-tall!

The spots that had been so hot on Monday were not on Thursday. Apparently the fish are following the moving bait.

No shad or crappie were caught, but bluegills and a couple more bass rounded out the catch. All fish were released to make more fish for the future.

Thursday night a cold front came through, putting the kabosh on any thoughts of fishing Friday.

So that is the Mixed Bag New Years Orlando Fishing Report! Have a great holiday!!

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com
http://www.spottedtail.com/blog
www.johnkumiski.com
www.rentafishingbuddy.com
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jkumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2016. All rights are reserved.




Kayak Fly Fishing Mosquito Lagoon Redfish- A New Reality

orlando fishing report

The fly in question? A black redfish worm.

Kayak Fly Fishing Mosquito Lagoon Redfish- A New Reality

Kayak Fly Fishing Mosquito Lagoon Redfish- A New Reality

Mosquito Lagoon was long justly famous for its clear water and abundant fish- redfish, seatrout, black drum, and several other species. Anglers used a variety of techniques to catch these fish, but for kayaking fly fishers the main draw was the ability to sight fish the critters, even while sitting in a kayak.

The landscape began to change in 2011.

During the summer of 2011 an algae bloom appeared. It quickly spread. Soon the water in the lagoon became a sickening brown color. If you put your hand in the water, it disappeared. Unless a fish stuck a body part out of the water, you had no idea it was there.

Kayak Fly Fishing Mosquito Lagoon redfish

You can see the shallow water is not crystal clear. Again, the fly is black.

Winter came, and the bloom cleared.

It came back during the summer of 2012, and cleared again when winter came.

It came back during the summer of 2013, and cleared again when winter came.

It came back during the summer of 2014. Winter came. The water did not clear. It has been disgustingly dirty ever since. Friends of mine have said, “I can’t wait for the water to clear.” Well, yeah, but I think they’re being optimistic. None of the conditions that led to these blooms has been changed (and it’s a complex set of circumstances), so why should the water clear?

Perhaps I’m being pessimistic, but I think brown, dirty water is the new norm here. Adapt or get skunked.

The dirty water has had a cascade effect. Light cannot penetrate the water, so a lot of the seagrass has died. Seagrasses fed the entire ecosystem, so my fear is that the productivity of the system, its ability to produce finfish, has been seriously compromised. There ain’t as many fish, because there ain’t as much fish food.

If you kayak fish with a fly rod, there are fewer fish to find, and it’s gotten much harder to find them. What to do? What to do???

You could, of course, take your game elsewhere. Undoubtedly some fishermen have. Those of us who live here are loathe to take such a drastic step. No, we adapt. This piece examines how to do so.

In a nutshell, what the entrepid paddling hackle heaver needs to do is concentrate his (or her) effort at shallow spots that have lots of light-colored bottom. If you can wade there that’s a huge plus. Places that fit this description include Tiger Shoal, Georges Bar, and many of the spoil islands. There are many other places, and some time spent studying Google Maps will pay dividends when you’re out paddling.

If the water is low (0.5′ or less on this gauge http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?02248380) that’s a really huge plus. The deeper the water is, the tougher seeing the fish will be. The converse is true, too. Low water is one of your biggest allies.

Kayak Fly Fishing Mosquito Lagoon redfish

What you look for has not changed.

What you’re looking for hasn’t changed. Tails, wakes, busts, laid-up or finning fish, concentrations of birds or bait, all can lead to a pay-off. My preference is to find an area that has fish, then abandon ship and do my hunting on foot. Your conversion rate will be higher by doing this.

If there’s any silver lining to the dirty water situation, it’s that the fish can’t see you either. On a recent trip I got three reds. My longest cast was about 20 feet.

For reds and drum you still want flies that sink. My favorite color is basic black. It seems to be visible in the murk.

Kayak Fly Fishing Mosquito Lagoon redfish

Black flies work well…

Your casts will have to be more aggressive. Any fly not in the immediate vicinity of the fish’s head will just not be seen, much less taken. Don’t be afraid to lay it on them!

Seatrout, frequently tough to sight fish even when the water was clean, seem much less abundant now. I have yet to figure them out. When that happens I will write another article.

While this piece is about the Mosquito Lagoon, the Indian River and Banana River Lagoons have the same problems. Indeed, the problems may be worse in those lagoons. Last winter the Banana River Lagoon had an enormous fish kill between SR 528 and the Pineda Causeway.

In the Mosquito Lagoon that hasn’t happened, and in the Mosquito Lagoon there are at least some seagrass beds that remain. All that having been said, there are still fish in both those lagoons, and they can certainly be caught on fly tackle. Again, look for shallow areas with light colored bottoms so you have a chance to see any fish that may be present.

Kayak Fly Fishing Mosquito Lagoon redfish

…but other colors will work too.

So while we can hope that the good old days of plentiful fish and clean water aren’t gone, hoping does not put fish on the end of the line. Get paddling, look for fish in those shallow spots, and some good things will happen. That’s Kayak Fly Fishing Mosquito Lagoon Redfish- A New Reality.

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com
http://www.spottedtail.com/blog
www.johnkumiski.com
www.rentafishingbuddy.com
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jkumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2016. All rights are reserved.




Lone Ranger Orlando Fishing Report

Lone Ranger Orlando Fishing Report

Somewhat self-fishly, I fished alone every day this week. Thus the Lone Ranger Orlando Fishing report.
I fish alone, yeah, with nobody else.
You know when I fish alone, I prefer to be by myself!
My apologies to George Thorogood.

Fishing alone lets me try new techniques and places I probably wouldn’t try if someone else was with me. So this week was an opportunity for personal growth. Yeah, that’s it.

My old EZ Loader trailer has been rebuilt. It is now for sale. Details at this link- http://www.spottedtail.com/sale-rebuilt-aluminum-ez-loader-trailer/

Some fascinating reading about dinosaurs here-

orlando fishing report

I would love to tie some flies with these feathers!

Who doesn’t love reading about dinosaurs? I would like to tie some flies with dinosaur feathers. Probably won’t happen…

Monday, went out in the Mitzi on the mightly Atlantic. I wanted two things- Spanish mackerel for my aunt and a neighbor, and tarpon for me. Got the macks, at least. There was a load of them out there. Yes, the Sting Silver from Haw River Tackle is probably the best mackerel lure on the planet.

I did see one tarpon roll- talk about the Lone Ranger! My booby prize was a mongo crevalle jack that crushed a DOA Bait Buster. I got to try my new fighting belt, it worked quite nicely. It was an awesome day that I enjoyed tremendously.

orlando fishing report

This fishie crushed a deep running Bait Buster.

Tuesday morning found the kayak on the Econlockhatchee. Of course I was expecting it to be as good as the last time I was there and of course it was not. Five hours, five small bass, a missed strike or two, and again, one redbelly that managed to impale itself on the bass bug. The river looked great, running low and clear. It was an awesome day that I enjoyed tremendously.

Wednesday found the kayak on the Mosquito Lagoon. It had been wet all of five minutes when my somewhat disbelieving eyes spotted a pod of eight or ten redfish, tailing. The cast, the bite, the 16 inch trout that spooked all the other fish.

A few minutes later a pair of tails appeared, but disappeared before a cast could happen. Splash! Crash! Something chasing a shrimp. The fly (a rootbeer colored Sparkle Crab) fell there and an 18 inch trout bit. So I’ve been out ten minutes and have already released two fish. Before lunch I would release four reds, all in the slot, all sight fished.

After lunch six or seven more would get released, with a couple at the top of the slot, excellent fishing. Plus there were missed strikes and blown shots. It was going on! I got to that wonderful point where you say, “I do not want to fish anymore.” And I passed up a bunch of shots paddling back to the launch. It was an awesome day that I enjoyed tremendously.

orlando fishing report

For the fly tyers, here’s a photo of the very simple Sparkle Crab.

Thursday, doing something I don’t often do. I went to Playalinda hoping to pull a fish or two out of the surf. This involves walking the beach, as far into the water as I’m comfortable going, and casting a pair of bucktail jigs (rigged tandem) into the waves.

The surf was high enough that conditions were marginal. So was the fishing. In a little over an hour I had jumped a single bluefish.

Since I had the kayak and a fly rod, I went to a different spot in the Mosquito Lagoon than the previous day. Of course I was expecting it to be as good as the last time I was there and of course it was not. There were fewer fish and they seemed more spooky. But eight or ten decent shots came my way, and two handsome, seven pound redfish were released, still on the same Sparkle Crab. It was an awesome day that I enjoyed tremendously.

Friday I went to my favorite spot on the St. Johns River. Before launching the kayak I knew it would be tough fishing- there was no fishy activity going on. The bullfrogs were ribbeting, the birds were chirping and scolding, the coots were being goofy as always- but no fish. I never thought I would get skunked there, but that’s exactly what happened. I was out of there before noon. I had the whole place to myself, and it was still an awesome day that I enjoyed tremendously.

orlando fishing report

Hard to believe you could get skunked in a place like this, but there you go.

So fishing was a mixed bag this week, and I learned a few new things. The weather was great all week. I am so lucky to be able to do what I do.

Still have open days this month. Give me a call if you want to go fishing!

And that is the Lone Ranger Orlando fishing report from Spotted Tail.

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com
http://www.spottedtail.com/blog
www.johnkumiski.com
www.rentafishingbuddy.com
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jkumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2016. All rights are reserved.

Two Days Kayaking Orlando Fishing Report

Two Days Kayaking Orlando Fishing Report

We had two beautiful days this week, sandwiched between days that were good for web-surfing. I went kayak fly fishing on those two days- the two days kayaking Orlando fishing report.

Interesting Reads for No-Fishing Days
-Could the Internet Out-Evolve Humanity? A thought-provoking essay on our love affair with devices: http://www.iflscience.com/technology/not-so-science-fiction-after-all-internet-could-out-evolve-humanity

-Got Sunscreen? The Melanoma Foundation wants to keep you from getting skin cancer. They say, Practice Safe Skin! And to help, they are giving away sunscreen dispensers, putting their money where their mouths are. Learn more at http://mfne.org/practice-safe-skin/

-The FWC Confirming Spawning Redfish. Redfish spawn in east central Florida’s lagoons. And the FWC is collecting evidence! It’s an interesting read- http://myfwc.com/research/saltwater/fish/red-drum/telemetry/

Fishing!
Atrocious weather on Monday kept me home. Tuesday afternoon was cold and windy, Since I had to get out I mounted the bicycle and went for a lovely ride in the woods, flushing a flock of about a dozen turkeys. I’d never seen them all fly off before, pretty amazing stuff.

Wednesday found me launching the kayak in the Indian River Lagoon. The birds (and the day itself) were fantastic, coots and eagles and ibis and herons and egrets and more. The fish, well, not so much, but I did get a trout and a redfish using a black bucktail bendback.

Orlando Fishing report

The trout on the black bucktail bendback.

Still, days like that are worth being out fishing on even if the fish don’t bite so well. The fish were gorgeous, too.

orlando fishing report

File photo of a redfish like the one I caught. Who knows? Maybe it’s the same fish.

Thursday morning I launched at River Breeze. The water is still too high for really successful kayak fishing, but the water is clean up there for the most part!

Orlando Fishing report

Remember this? It’s seagrass, and there is still some growing near Oak Hill.

Although cloudier than the previous day it was pretty spectacular again. Between 9 AM and about 230 PM I ran over a dozen or so fish, had a couple half-baked shots, and got one rat red. Between 230 and 4, when I packed it in, I had shots at a couple tailers, got three nice reds and a half dozen trout to four pounds.

Orlando Fishing report

This was the last and nicest fish of the day.

Those cold days are always better in the afternoon. If I didn’t have to cook supper I would have stayed until dark.

Orlando Fishing report

This sweetheart took a surface fly, a white Gurgler. The gill tear was a pre-existing condition. The fish swam off apparently none the worse for our encounter.

I had been working on an article about Bouncer flies for Fly Tyer magazine. The nasty weather Friday let me finish it and get it sent off.

And that is the Two Days Kayaking Orlando Fishing Report.

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com
http://www.spottedtail.com/blog
www.johnkumiski.com
www.rentafishingbuddy.com
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jkumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2016. All rights are reserved.



Two Bites Orlando Fishing Report

Two Bites Orlando Fishing Report

Kayak fishing two days this week I managed two bites, thus the Two Bites Orlando FIshing Report.

Those readers who do not subscribe and have wondered where I’ve been, my last two reports came from Louisiana and can be accessed here: –http://www.spottedtail.com/blog/venice-la-fishing-report-and-photo-essay/

http://www.spottedtail.com/blog/the-rest-of-the-kayaking-louisiana-fishing-report-a-photo-essay/

Lots of photos, not much text.

Upcoming Events

-Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival- the largest birding and wildlife festival in the United States! January 20-25 at Eastern Florida State College – Titusville campus, 1311 North US 1, Titusville. http://www.spacecoastbirdingandwildlifefestival.org

Fishing!

Mike Conneen and I got back from Louisiana Sunday night. Unpacking etc. took place Monday. Photo work and thank yous took place Tuesday. Errands happened Wednesday. There were more errandy things to do Thursday, but it was so nice out I tossed a kayak on the roof of the van and went to the Indian River Lagoon.

Fishing was not hot. I saw a handful of fish. Incredibly, one was tailing and rooting around. Using advanced hoping-for-the-best skills, I tossed a black bendback out where I guessed the fish would be. It was quite a surprise when the line came tight!

A bigger surprise was the size of the fish. It was pushing 20 pounds, a real nice fish. Welcome home!

orlando fishing report

A nice result for one cast.

After a couple photos the fish swam off.

I made one cast, and got one fish. A good afternoon’s work!

After more errands on Friday I decided to try fishing out of River Breeze on Saturday. The water is still a foot higher than I like it, and it’s still real dirty. Expectations were low.

A total of seven redfish were seen, most close enough to be touched by the paddle. I got one shot and hooked and caught the fish. The fly was a Bouncer Fly, shown to me last summer in Alaska by the developer, Steve Duckett. This red was much more modest size-wise than Thursday’s fish but almost as satisfying emotionally. Again, a couple photos and off it went.

orlando fishing report

Battling the beast.

I made one cast, and got one fish. A good afternoon’s work!

orlando fishing report

The Bouncer Fly, a great idea I did not think of.

And that is the Two Bites Orlando Fishing Report.

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com
http://www.spottedtail.com/blog
www.johnkumiski.com
www.rentafishingbuddy.com
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jkumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2015. All rights are reserved.



  • Fish Pop in Ocean Drop 50% from 1970

Florida Saltwater Flies- Packing for a Trip to Florida

Florida Saltwater Flies- Packing for a Trip to Florida

Here in central Florida we find many species of fish- redfish, snook, seatrout, tarpon, snapper, moonfish, jacks, it’s a long list. Since you’re traveling, you don’t have room to bring a ton of tackle. I hope the list below reflects an exercise in minimalism for Florida saltwater flies.

The fish you’ll be encountering eat three things for the most part- smaller fish, shrimp, and crabs. The flies carried should reflect this. Additionally, some attractor-style flies like spoonflies and poppers should be carried, too.

Try to fit all the terminal tackle into a single Simms Dry Creek Waist Pack . In the pocket of the pack put the following items:

– a couple of finger guards

– a Dr. Slick hook file 

– a stick of sunscreen for the lips.

Inside the pack put the following:

-fluorocarbon leader wheels in 12, 15, 20, and 30 pound test

– a package of Knot 2 Kinky leader wire . You never know when this might be needed

– a dehooker

– a Gerber Multitool  or equivalent

– a small bag with a half dozen small white shrimp flies for nighttime dock fishing. If you get a chance you will be ready.

– a one quart ziplock back containg a couple dozen synthetic minnow fly patterns, similar to Puglisi style flies, in sizes from #4 to #2/0, many with weedguards, some tied as bendbacks.

redfish flies

 

 

– a small Plano box jammed with flies, including-

*3 Dupre spoonflies

Jim Dupre's Spoonfly.

* a half dozen Merkin crabs, size #4, with weedguards

A gaggle of Merkins.

*several Clouser Minnows in various colors and sizes (#4-1), with weedguards

packing for a florida canoe trip

*several black bunny leeches, #2, with weedguards

The bunny leech or bunny booger, a deadly fly.

*several of each Son of Clouser and Mosquito Lagoon Specials, size #4

the Mosquito Lagoon Special

* several Borski-style Sliders, size #4, in various colors and weights, with weedguards

port canaveral and mosquito lagoon fishing report

* a few Trout Bites (a hot pink and chartreuse bucktail bendback), size #4

The Trout Bite on top, and a synthetic minnow below.

* a few Rattle Rousers, size #4

Rattle Rousers, weighted and not.

* a selection of poppers and gurglers

My version of Gartside's Gurgler.

With this kit, you could fish anywhere north of Key Largo and would be prepared for most of what you would encounter.

So we have discussed Florida Saltwater Flies- Packing for a Trip to Florida. In your Florida fishing fantasy, what different stuff would you bring?

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2013. All rights are reserved.




How to Tie a Gurgler

orlando fishing report

The killer fly, a gurgler.

How to Tie a Gurgler

Gurglers, to the best of my knowledge, were invented by the late Jack Gartside. They are awesome, easy to tie flies that work of a wide variety of fish. Since I make them differently than Jack did, here are my instructions on how to tie a Gurgler.

First, you need to gather your materials. Use whatever color(s) you like.

how to tie a gurgler

Simple materials needed to make a Gurgler. Feel free to modify my list to suit your own needs.

-sheet of craft foam (available at any craft store)
-material for tail (in this case marabou, but it’s the tyer’s choice)
-tying thread (Danville flat waxed nylon for me) in Dr. Slick bobbin
-Estaz or similar product for body
-rubber hackle, sililegs, or what-have-you for legs if desired (for spider patterns or bass bugs)
-hook. For most of my saltwater flies I use a Mustad 34001 #2. For salmon I use a Mustad 36890, also #2. For freshwater applications it depends what the target specie is; i.e., for bass a stinger hook, #4 or #2, for sunfish an Aberdeen, #6 or 8, for trout and dollies a long-shanked, bronzed hook, #6 or 8, etc.

1. After placing the hook in the vise (I use a Regal), start the thread and wrap it back to the bend of the hook.

2. Using your Dr. Slick scissors, cut a strip of foam from the sheet of craft foam. Use the scissors to taper one end to a near-point.

how to tie a gurgler

Cut the strip of foam for the fly body. Wider ones float better but tend to rotate more. Taper one end to a near point.

 

To read the rest of these instruction, click here now…

 

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com
http://www.spottedtail.com/blog
www.johnkumiski.com
www.rentafishingbuddy.com
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jkumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2015. All rights are reserved.


Fished Around Central Florida Orlando Fishing Report

Fished Around Central Florida Orlando Fishing Report

Upcoming Events

Mosquito Lagoon Show and Tell Seminar March 14

Mosquito Lagoon On-the-Water Show and Tell Seminar March 15

Only one week until the show and tell seminars, but there is still room both days!

 

My preference is to fish during the week rather than on weekends, but Sunday I had an itch to fish. To scratch it I took a bag of Culprit worms and a spin rod and checked out some retention ponds in Oviedo. You may be familiar with this type of pond. As you drive by you ask yourself, “I wonder if there are any fish in there?” Then you tell yourself, “I need to check that out.” Sunday was the day. I checked out two ponds in three hours and got three bass, the largest (not pictured) which was about 14 inches long. It sure beat watching men’s figure skating on TV. Can’t wait for baseball to start!

orlando fishing report

Lots of bass like this can be found in a retention pond near you.

            Yes, there are fish in that pond.

The beneficiary of a good weather forecast on Monday, I took the kayak to the Banana River Lagoon. When I pulled up to unload my stuff a cock cardinal landed on my rearview mirror and proceeded to do battle with his reflection. Most extraordinary. Beautiful, silly little bird!

The cardinal landed on my mirror...

The cardinal landed on my mirror…

 

...and proceeded to duke it out with his own reflection.

…and proceeded to duke it out with his own reflection.

 

cardinal3

            The fog was thick and I found the spot with some good luck. I couldn’t see anything until a tidal-wave sized wake started moving away from me. After staking out the boat I went blind casting with a black bunny leech. The fish pictured below took the fly on the second cast. It was a nice fish- the photo does not do it justice.

orlando fishing report

Definitely not a bad start to the day.

            After releasing it I went blind casting again and hooked a significantly larger fish. It took me deep into my backing and then broke off. A piece of my heart may have broken off a second later.

            I could not find the fish again, and so moved along.

            There was nothing at the next place. In the meantime the fog cleared and the sun appeared in a cloudless sky, making for excellent sight fishing conditions.

            At the next spot I saw nothing for a while. Then I almost ran over a bunch of drum. After staking out the boat I went searching for them, now armed with a black and green Clouser minnow. A single was spotted. The cast was decent, and the fish obliged.

orlando fishing report

No one accuses black drum of being beautiful.

            That was the only black drum that cooperated, although several more shots were taken.

            Through the day two more redfish bit. One broke off on the strike (perhaps we need a beefier tippet), the other was about ten pounds, also on a black bunny leech.

            All in all a very enjoyable day.

Tuesday Mr. Joe Nourigat joined for a day’s paddle fly fishing on the Indian River Lagoon. Although calm in the morning we again had fog. When it blew away there were clouds up there so we never got any good sight fishing light.

            The fish were not very active. For every one we had a cast to, we ran over a half dozen others. Joe had a limited number of shots at tailing fish, only got a single eat, and as so often happens when your luck is running that way we missed it.

            We tried blind casting, which yielded exactly nothing.

            We did have a wonderful, day-long conversation about books, and music, and a smattering of other topics. But when the boat was back on the car we had not caught a fish. It’s a good thing the birds were awesome. Joe was pretty cool, too.

Wednesday Fernado Fonseca, Mr. Orlando Mobile Marine, visited me to do an annual service on the Yamaha. The job is done, the money is in his bank, and see ya next year!

Fernando doing his thang.

Fernando, doing his thang.

Thursday afternoon I dusted off the cobia tackle. The water temperature is hitting the right spot. If the wind ever dies and the sea ever calms down I am going out there. Hopefully that will be next week.

Friday I needed to scout, so in spite of the clouds and wind the Bang-O-Craft and I went fishing on the Mosquito Lagoon. No kidding, I caught a trout on the first cast. Often that’s the kiss of death. Not this day. The trout bite was steady by using the DOA Deadly Combo.

orlando fishing report

The Deadly Combo was, well, deadly.

As often happens there were quite a few little ones but I got six or eight in the slot. Some more trout and a couple junior league redfish also fell for a DOA CAL Shad tail. In four hours at least 20 fish were released, certainly entertaining if not spectacular.

orlando fishing report

The little bitty reds were out on Friday.

 

orlando fishing report

The trout were smacking the shad tail, too.

And that is this week’s Fished Around Central Florida Orlando Fishing Report from Spotted Tail.

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com
http://www.spottedtail.com/blog
www.johnkumiski.com
www.rentafishingbuddy.com

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jkumiski 

 

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2015. All rights are reserved.



Brief History of the Johnson Minnow

Brief History of the Johnson Minnow

johnson minnow red

Reader Chuck at BellSouth sent me a question about my three favorite lures for blind casting in the lagoons. My response was:

-the Chug Bug
-the Johnson Minnow
-the DOA Deadly Combo

Chuck replied with the following:

“Thanks for tips!

“Would have never guessed the old Johnson Minnow spoon would make the list. But after doing some research on this lure, I now understand why it works well in Mosquito Lagoon.

“You might be interested in the history of the Johnson Silver Minnow and why it’s unique design makes it so successful.”

Silver Minnow is still shining after 73 years

The Johnson Silver Minnow, one of the most enduring and successful fishing lures of all time, was invented in 1920 by Louis Johnson, a retired Chicago foundry operator. The lake where Louis and his son fished was full of fish, but it was also weedy. So, with the practical style of many creative Midwesterners, he set out to develop a fishing lure that would not catch weeds but still catch fish.

The result was the first spoon lure with a weed guard, stiff enough to keep weeds away from the hook, but flexible enough for bass and pike to get hooked. In fact, his experimental spoon lures were made from silver table spoons with the handles cut off and a Scents hook and weed guard soldered to the concave underside. History does not record whether these first spoons were silver plate or genuine sterling, but the idea of having a fishing lure made of silver caught his imagination. Seventy-three years later, the Johnson Silver Minnow is still plated with real silver.

Like other spoon lures of the day, the Johnson Silver Minnow was designed to imitate the flashing movement of a minnow. Other manufacturers had long incorporated flashing spinners into the design of their lures, but Louis Johnson’s new lure was the first to integrate a guarded hook onto the spoon, and the first to use real silver for a whiter, brighter flash than chrome of polished steel.

Johnson didn’t work with his “table spoon” very long before the learned something else about designing the perfect weedless lure: hooks that faced up were less weedy than hooks that faced down or spun around from the lure’s action. Even a guarded hook would catch weeds occasionally if it was retrieved with the hook facing down. Johnson reasoned that if he could figure out a way to ensure that the hook would always face up, the lure would be almost completely weedless.

Putting his years of foundry experience to work, Johnson decided to forge a spoon of a special copper/zinc alloy that was thicker in the middle than on the edges. With its weight concentrated along its centerline, this created a spoon that would rock back and forth as it was retrieved, but always keep the convex face down and the hook facing up. Other spoons of the day were simply stamped out of brass or steel. They often just spun through the water as they were retrieved. In fact, much of the Silver Minnow’s weedlessness can be attributed to the way in which the downward-riding spoon itself acts as a weed guard — and simply rides over weeds much like a water skier rides of the waves.

By getting the lure to keep its convex spoon side down and it hook up, Johnson also unwittingly made the lure visually effective under water. When retrieved, Johnson’s Silver Minnow rocks back and forth through a 270 degree angle, flashing reflections downs and to both sides, but not up. Since fish almost always attacked a lure from below or the side, there was no need for it to be visible from above. That meant that the lure could produce more flashes in the right directions per retrieve than stamped metal spoon lures.

Yet another benefit of the rocking spoon-down motion was that anglers no longer had to worry about line twist or special swivels. Spinning spoon lures used without swivels twist fishing line, and contribute to backlashes and tangles. To this day, Johnson Silver Minnows are manufactured with a simple soldered wire eye. Line can be tied directly to the lure without fear of line twist. The one exception would be when using the versatile Silver Minnow for” pike or muskellunge. Since even medium-sized pike will often inhale the entire lure, it is wise to use the lure with a short steel leader.

The Silver Minnow’s rocking motion also helps control the sinking rate when cast. Whereas many spoons simply dive to the bottom tail first, the Silver Minnow gently drops horizontally, rocking in its characteristic motion. This gives an angler ample time to take up the slack after cast and begin the retrieve before the lure has had a chance to bury itself in weedy cover, or behind a log. This feature also makes the lure effective the second it touches the water. Many strikes on the Silver Minnow come as the just-cast lure is rocking gently toward the bottom.

Trailers and the Silver Minnow.

The Johnson Silver Minnow is a deadly lure when fished plain, but when it is combined with a trailer, it is especially effective in triggering strikes. In addition, the Silver Minnow’s unique rocking motion is not affective by a trailer like many other spoons are.

For traditionalists, a pork rind trailer of red/white or yellow/white is one of the best combinations. Adding a red 3-inch waving tail imitates the red gill rakers that would show on a wounded or distressed bait fish. This works like a visual “dinner bell” to a predatory fish, who would rather attack a slower, “wounded” fish than try to catch a fast, healthy one.

But red is not always the color of choice. Often some experimentation is needed to find out what color of trailer will be working on that day, in that lake, on that particular species of fish in that particular kind of cover. Newer plastic trailers are more convenient than the traditional pork rind, and can be carried in a great variety of colors with less weight and bulk. Soft plastic Silver Minnow Trailers in a variety of colors, are now marketed by Johnson Fishing for use with all Silver Minnows.

The Silver Minnow Today
The Johnson Silver Minnow is still manufactured in the same way it was in 1920 — by hand — and still plated with real silver for the brightest possible underwater “flash.” Originally manufactured in Chicago by the Louis Johnson Company, the lure was purchased by Johnson Fishing Inc. of Mankato, MN in 1974. In 1976, manufacturing facilities were moved to Johnson Fishing’s Bass Buster Lure division in Amsterdam, MO. The Silver Minnow continues to be one of the best selling lures of all time.

Source:
Gettysburg Times, August 11, 1993

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And that is a brief history of the Johnson Minnow. The Johnson Minnow has been in continuous production longer than any other fishing lure in history. There just might be a good reason for that.

Thanks for the great response, Chuck- I was able to turn it into a blog!

John Kumiski



When Are Tailing Redfish Best?

When Are Tailing Redfish Best?

tailing redfish mosquito lagoon, orlando area fishing report

This email came from a reader of my blog:

Hi John-

I’ve been a subscriber to your newsletter for about a year and it is great. Thank you for the effort.

I purchased a winter home at Lighthouse Cove two years ago and last year bought a flats boat. I am a lifelong fly fisherman from up north who has fallen in love with tailing redfish. Last winter I found a respectable number of tailers in the evenings and even managed to catch a few. We came back down two weeks ago and I have been out six times early in the mornings and have yet to see a tailer. My question is this- are evenings a better time to search for tailers?

I have caught several reds already by blind casting but I really want to cast to tailers. As you can probably tell, I am an addicted dry fly fisherman up north. Thanks again.

Mike

My answer-

First off, thank you for your question about tailing redfish and the kind words.

Concerning your question- Yes. No. Sometimes. All of the above.

It’s not winter yet. The water is still quite high (see the gauge here…). The fish may be in the same places you were finding them last winter doing the same thing, but you can’t see them because the water is too deep. Or they may not be in those places at all. Things change all the time. The fish’s location often varies by season.

In the winter (for our purposes after Thanksgiving) the days are short and the nights are long. The water temperatures are often below the 70 degrees favored by redfish. When is it warmest? Late in the afternoon. Where is it warmest? In shallow water, where tailing activity is obvious. So in the winter, evenings are often the best time to find tailers.

You didn’t ask about this, but the situation is reversed in the summer. The crack of dawn is usually best for tailers when it’s hot. The water temperature is in the 80s or even 90s and the coolest water is in the shallows before the sun comes up.

Please keep in mind the fish don’t read the books and they do what they want, not what I or you or anyone else thinks they should be doing. You will find exceptions to my generalizations. So the best time to go fishing is whenever you can, and the best time to catch fish is when they’re biting.

I hope this helps with your understanding of tailing redfish. Good luck, and let me know when the tailing activity improves, please!

 

JK