Another Awesome Week- Banana River- Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Report

The Orlando Area Fishing Report from Spotted Tail 1.14.12

Upcoming Events Dept-

The Old Florida Outdoor Festival, February 10, 11, and 12th. I will be there at least part of the time in the Coastal Angler Magazine booth.
Merritt Island NWR Show and Tell Seminars- March 3 and 4
Details to follow…

Every year around the turn of the year I inventory my fly tying materials and order what I anticipate I will need for the following year. Natural materials vary a lot so you really need to inspect them. I buy these at fly fishing shows or fly shops. Synthetic materials have standard quality so I buy them where the price is best, usually from Cabela’s.

This year I shopped around. Hook and Hackle had better prices on some items than did Cabela’s. So I bought some of my stuff from Hook and Hackle. I will never make that error again.
The Estaz and flashabou packs from H&H were tiny, ridiculous. Cabela’s costs a few cents more but the portions are way better.

Cabela’s, sorry I wandered! Won’t happen again!

Where do you buy your fly tying materials? Why do you buy them there? Please use the comment box to let us know.

Fishing, ah yes-

Son Alex was supposed to accompany me to the no motor zone on Monday, but he wouldn’t get up. Tossed the Prowler on the chariot and went solo.

The day was gorgeous. We had a stretch of five days with no wind and hardly any clouds. I don’t ever remember that happening before.

Had to paddle a ways but I ran over a redfish at least three feet long. Immediately staked out the boat and went wading in those leaky boots (sent them back to Redington the other day). Was throwing to a pair of black drum went I looked over my shoulder. There were at least 50 big reds almost swimming into me.

One took the Merkin. I had it on five or ten minutes when the hook pulled. One reason I like a #2 hook for those big fish is because they don’t bend out the way the #4 hooks do (Mustad #3407). Perhaps I need a higher quality hook in those smaller sizes.

Anyway, after I bent the hook back the school had spooked off. I waded around looking for them and spotted a trio of black drum. They ignored me repeatedly. Finally, with the leader butt in the tip of the rod, they were all facing me, looking at the fly, just lying there. I watched them watch the fly, two rod lengths away. Everyone was motionless. Then I just ticked the fly and the center fish sucked it up. WHAM! Fish on!

That fish got way into my backing, a lovely sight. When I finally got him up close enough to leader I was tring to do just that and CRACK- there goes the rod (sent that back to Redington, too). Got the fish anyway.

It was a big fish and I wanted a photo, so holding on to the fish with one hand I got the camera out of the Simms bag , set it on self timer, put it on the front hatch of the kayak, and pressed the shutter button. Then I posed and got a single frame with the fish. I think it worked pretty well!

I took a picture of me holding a big, rod-breaking black drum.

I didn’t get any other photos but did get two redfish in the 20 pound range, and several 30 inch redfish, all on the Merkin. Quite the awesome day. Wish Alex had been there.

Tuesday young Trae Mays, a fly fisher from Dallas, joined me for some Mosquito Lagoon redfishing. It was my favorite kind of day- we only fished one spot. It was loaded up, and the fish were eating well. The fly of choice was a rootbeer colored redfish worm.

The best one of many redfish that Trae caught while fly fishing.

Trae told me it was the best day of fly fishing he’d ever had, something this reporter truly loves hearing. We released eight or ten fish, and had numerous missed strikes and blown shots. Lots of fun was had by all! The boat was back on the trailer at 2:30.

Wednesday afternoon I had a half day with Tom and Tommy Novak, father/son from Cleveland. Need I say I went back to The Spot? But we had weather- wind, clouds, spitting rain. A front was coming in. The fish were gone. 🙁

Went to spot #2. Tommy got a rat redfish on a gold spoon. Then we ran over a couple. SInce the wind was now cranking at about 20, I skegged out the boat and tossed a couple of mullet chunks out. Four slot fish later the bite stopped, so we changed venues.

Tom Novak got this redfish in the Mosquito Lagoon. They don't come like this in Lake Erie.

At the last spot we got one more rat red and two beautiful catfish. The boat was on the trailer at 5.

And that is this week’s Banana River and Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Report.

Life is great and I love my work.

I keep saying it- life is short. Go Fishing!

John Kumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2012. All rights are reserved.


Ten Favorite Redfish Flies

If you were dropped off anywhere in redfish range, carrying a selection of the 10 fly patterns listed below, you could catch redfish if you could locate them. These are my ten favorite redfish flies.

“Imitator” Flies
These roughly resemble stuff fish actually eat.

A Clouser Minnow selection.

1. The Clouser Deep Minnow. Since redfish often prefer to feed down on the bottom it’s an excellent fly for them. You’ll need a variety of different colors. If you think in terms of light, dark, neutral, and contrasting colors you’ll be fine.

You need a variety of sizes and weights. At the small end a size 4 (I’m thinking about going to #6 this winter) with bead chain or micro lead eyes is good. At the large end a size 1/0 with 1/36th ounce lead eyes will sink like an anvil for those rare occasions when you need a fairly large, fast sinking fly.

Some of your flies must have weedguards. My own preference these days is for a double mono prong.

A bendback made with bucktail on top, and with synthetics below. Both work.

2. Bendbacks. When the water is only a few inches deep, and the fish are behaving like a zebra around a pride of hungry lions, you need something that hits the water delicately. Enter the bendback.

A variety of sizes and colors is needed. I carry bendbacks as small as number 4 and as large as 3/0 (we get big reds where I fish). These are excellent patterns to wing with synthetics.

Do not to bend the hook shank too much, a common error when making these flies. The shank should only be bent five degrees or so.

From top to bottom, a Deceiver, Electric Sushi, and a Polar Fiber Minnow.

3. “Minnow” patterns from natural or synthetic fibers. The best known natural fiber minnow is Lefty’s Deceiver, although Joe Brooks’s Blonde series works as well. But synthetics are really the material of choice for these flies.

Examples of this type of fly include those shown above. Carry them in sizes from tiny to huge.

A gaggle of Merkins.

4. Crabs. Redfish love crabs, and they eat all kinds- swimming crabs, mud crabs, fiddler crabs, horseshoe crabs, and more. You need a few faux crabs in your fly box.

My own favorite redfish crab pattern is the Merkin in size four. As a rule redfish crabs don’t need to be terribly realistic, only suggestive, and most should sink like they mean it.

A Seaducer, above, and a Slider, below. They’re very similar flies.

5. Shrimp Flies. Shrimp flies are something like crab flies in that there are lots of patterns. I use two. One was developed by Homer Rhodes in the 1930’s and was called the Homer Rhodes Shrimp Fly. Most folks nowadays call it a Seaducer. The other is a Slider, my take on Tim Borski’s well-known pattern.

The bunny leech or bunny booger, a deadly fly.

6. The Bunny Leech. Although this simple tie looks like nothing in particular, it has dynamite action when in the water and suggests a wide variety of redfish foods. I usually tie these in only sizes 2, always with 1/50th ounce lead eyes. My favorite colors is black.

This mullet imitation is made with sheep’s wool.

7. Woolhead Mullet. These are time consuming to make and difficult to cast. Why carry them? When the fish are keying on mullet nothing else will do.

You can tie these in any size you like, as mullet do get large. When this fly gets large, though, casting it becomes nightmarish. I carry these in sizes 2 and 1, in gray and in white.

“Attractor” Flies
Sometimes the water is deep. Sometimes it’s dirty. Sometimes there are clouds, or wind. And sometimes you have a combination of these factors, factors that prevent you from sight fishing. So you need some flies that call the fish to them by one means or another. We call these attractor patterns.

Rattle Rousers, weighted and not.

8. Rattle Rouser. These are bucktail streamers tied hook point up on a long shank hook. They can be unweighted or tied with lead eyes, as you prefer. It’s a good idea to carry some both ways. Tied underneath the hook is an epoxy coated, braided Mylar tube, inside of which a plastic or glass worm rattle is inserted.

As you strip the fly the rattle makes an audible clicking sound, which attracts the attention of the fish. When you need it there is no substitute.

Jim Dupre’s Spoonfly.

9. Dupre Spoonfly. These look like miniature Johnson Minnows, and work much the same way. A curved Mylar sheet coated with epoxy, Dupre’s invention casts easily, hits the water lightly, tends to not twist your line, and is extremely effective. I’m not sure if the fish find it by vibration, flash, or both, but they certainly do find it.

My version of Gartside’s Gurgler.

10. Gurglers. Surface flies are usually not the best choice for redfish. However, as an attractor pattern when sight fishing conditions are poor they can be outstanding. The strikes are so exciting that a few less seems like a small price to pay.

These ten flies will produce redfish for you no matter where you may find yourself, no matter what the conditions may be. As an added incentive to carrying these flies, they will also work on a variety of other fish, including snook, tarpon, seatrout and weakfish, striped bass, bluefish, and more. Whether you tie your own or purchase them ready to use, these flies will put fish on your line anywhere, anytime. Try them and see.

Life is short- go fishing!

John Kumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2011. All rights are reserved.